The 4 Teams Looking to Blow This Season’s Serie A Scudetto Chase Wide Open

With Juventus winning the Serie A title for the last six campaigns, this season could be completely different with Napoli, AC Milan, and Inter Milan all seeking to put an end to Juve’s reign.

While Juve has slightly weakened in defence, their Serie A rivals have become stronger by making key signings in the summer transfer window – so they can match the high standards of  the Turin giants.

Here are the four squads that could make the Serie A title race one of the most entertaining yet…

4. Inter Milan

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Inter Milan made an appalling start to the campaign last season – resulting in Frank de Boer being dismissed as manager. 

The arrival of Stefano Pioli revitalised the Nerazzurri in the midst of the season, but losing six games towards the end of the season ended in Pioli being sacked from the club. A seventh-placed finish was not acceptable in the eyes of the owners and fans – as the expectations are high for such a club that boasts 18 Serie A trophies. However, there have been encouraging signs for the Beneamata at the beginning of this season. 

The emergence of the new manager – Luciano Spalletti – has re-energized this side and given them a new mentality – one of picking up crucial wins. With Mauro Icardi already scoring two braces, the Argentine star looks more threatening in front of goal under the presence of Spalletti. 

Beating Fiorentina and AS Roma these past two weeks will be a confidence booster for Internazionale to challenge for the scudetto.

3. AC Milan

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Performing consistently is something that the Rossoneri have been lacking in for the past six seasons. Though, this season the Milanesi are almost fielding a totally different starting 11, after signing 10 new players to the tune of £160m. 

Milan’s biggest signing – Leonardo Bonucci – has already bolstered their defensive line. 21-year-old Andre Silva has shown his clinical ability in front of goal during the off season, while youth product Patrick Cutrone was pivotal in the team’s 3-0 win against Crotone in the opening round of the Serie A. The 19-year-old also helped his side claim three points against a resolute Cagliari outfit in the second round. Meanwhile. the arrival of Franck Kessie from Atalanta has reinforced the midfield and added that dynamic creativity. 

Vincenzo Montella rekindled the Rossoneri last season by making a return to the European stage by qualifying for this season’s Europa League competition. It was expected that it would take a couple of seasons for Montella’s men to materialise, but it looks like they are ahead of schedule and set for a season of surprises.

2. Napoli

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Napoli has come inches away from taking the spotlight off rivals Juventus over these last couple of Serie A seasons, but the southern Italians will be looking to go one better this campaign.

With the loss of Gonzalo Higuain at the beginning of last season, the Neapolitans have only thrived since, giving Dries Mertens the responsibility of playing the striker’s role. The 30-year-old Belgian impressed the Partenopei fans by scoring a staggering 28 goals in last season’s competition. The Ciucciarelli arguably play the most attractive brand of football in the nation and possibly the globe. 

Maurizio Sarri has retained the 4-3-3 formation – allowing the midfielders to play the short passing game with an attacking mindset. With the two-time scudetto winners maintaining the same squad from last season, they should only improve and become the team to beat in this season’s Serie A. 

Two 3-1 victories against a promoted Hellas Verona and a resilient Atalanta side have things already looking optimistic in the city of Naples. 

1. Juventus

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Pressure has never have been this high for the Bianconeri – as this time they will have giant rivals chasing them for the scudetto. 

It was a phenomenal campaign for the 33-time Serie A champions last season; unfortunately, things took a turn for the worst when the Turin club was written off by Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Cardiff, while losing their top defender – Leonardo Bonucci – weakened them in the build up to the new Serie A season. 

Juve will continue to push for a seventh consecutive league title, but they will face some better competition on this occasion. Nonetheless, the two opening rounds have seen Massimiliano Allegri’s men take six points from Cagliari and a persistent Genoa team. Recent additions to the squad such as Blaise Matuidi, Douglas Costa, and Federico Bernardeschi will all enhance the depth of this experienced side.

The Old Lady may be conceding more goals, but the flair of Higuain and the No.10 role of Paulo Dybala will continue to make this team a formidable opponent for the rest of the competition.

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Inter Milan Manager Luciano Spalletti Urges Patience After 3-1 Win Over Former Side Roma

?Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti has urged patience after his side’s 3-1 victory over Roma.

Two goals from Mauro Icardi and another from Matias Vecino helped Inter overcome Roma, who had opened the evening’s scoring through Edin Dzeko, and Spalletti believes it will take time for him to implement his ideas with the Serie A giants. 

“In the first half, we were not quick enough moving the ball, so Roma got back into their shape and kept winning back possession,” Spalletti told Mediaset Premium, as quoted by ?ESPN. 

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“Everyone knows that if you play in this type of arena and don’t have a clear idea, you’re going to get beaten.

“In the first half, Roma were better than us. Of course, you need a little bit of luck — which we had. But we have started to change the mentality of this Inter side and it takes a while to get used to this approach.

“The game against Fiorentina last week was also dangerous, so beating them and Roma consecutively should build confidence.”

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Icardi was also cautious over his side’s prospects for the future, despite beating last season’s Serie A runners-up by two goals.

The Argentina international added: “We had a wonderful second half — we came out fighting and you could see the difference on the pitch. 

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“It is just the start of a new season under a new coach, so we are getting accustomed to the dynamics and mistakes can happen.

“We did well playing in the opposition half. This victory is a really good sign.”

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Inter Hopeful That Striker Stevan Jovetic Opts to Join Newcastle Over Return to Sevilla

?Inter are hoping that Stevan Jovetic chooses to move to Newcastle instead of returning to Sevilla, the Mirror have reported.

The former Manchester City forward is reportedly in favour of a move back to the Spanish club, where he played on loan last season.

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But Inter would prefer Jovetic to join Newcastle who are believed to be offering a bigger fee than Sevilla.

The Magpies are said to be willing to pay £12m for the 27-year-old, while Sevilla are offering £10m.

Jovetic’s wage demands could be a stumbling block for Newcastle, however, with the Montenegro international set to demand £90k-a-week.

The Premier League newcomers may need to sell players to free up funds as they look to strengthen their squad before the close of the transfer window next week.

Monaco, Roma and Brighton have also been linked with a move for Jovetic, who scored seven goals for Sevilla last season.

The Ligue 1 champions are searching for a replacement for Kylian Mbappe, who is close to joining Paris Saint-Germain.

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Jovetic has been made available by Inter, and has reportedly already turned down an approach from Brighton.

The former Fiorentina striker is out of contract with the Serie A club in June 2019 having joined from City in 2015.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti said last month: “As far as I am concerned, everyone can stay, we just have to see what their intentions are, because along with quality we need them to be ready to form part of a team.”

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Roma 1-3 Inter: Icardi Stars as Inter Come From Behind to Win

Inter Milan scored three second-half goals and came from behind to beat Serie A rivals Roma with a performances that will see Luciano Spalletti’s side linked with a title challenge this season. Inter club captain Mauro Icardi put in a man-of-the-match performances as he led his side to victory and scored a brace for the second game in-a-row.

?The first half at the Stadio Olimpico was action packed, Inter looked certain to open the scoring when the ball dropped to Antonio Candreva in the 11th minute. However, the Italian snatched at the chance but as a result the ball fell to  Mauro Icardi who managed to miss an open goal from less than 6 yards out.

Moments later new Roma signing Aleksandar Kolarov hit the post from an audacious strike from outside the box. The deadlock was eventually broken by Edin Dzeko following a pin-point cross from Radja Nainggolan, the Bosnian striker demonstrated beautiful chest control before lashing in a volley to put Roma 1-0. The home-side hit the post again in the 1st half as Radja Nainggolan saw his effort crash off the woodwork with 5 minutes left of the first-half.

In the second half Roma hit the post for a third time, this time through Perotti, the Argentine’s shot from 25 yards out was inches away from doubling Roma’s lead. Having gone so close to scoring a second goal Roma could only watch as Icardi pulled Inter level following his calm finish from an Antonio Candreva cross.

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Roma continued to push forward in search of a second goal but once again it would be Icardi and Inter who ended up scoring. The Inter captain received the ball from Manchester United transfer target Ivan Perisic, Icardi then took one touch before slotting the ball into the bottom corner of Alisson’s net.  

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Inter completed their sensational second-half transformation by scoring a third-goal and ending all hope of a Roma comeback. Ivan Perisic again got the assist as he floated the ball into the box from the right-wing, Matias Vecino beat his marker and finished the chance to bag his first goal of the season and secure all 3 points for Inter. 

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Arsenal Set to Offload Defensive Pair Shkodran Mustafi & Kieran Gibbs as Deadline Day Approaches

?Arsenal could be set to offload two further players before the transfer deadline, in the shape of Kieran Gibbs and German international centre back Shkodran Mustafi.

Mustafi has been linked with a move to Inter or Juventus in recent days, though a report from ?Mail Online now suggests that the club are ready to let him go if they can recoup the £35m fee they paid for him last summer. Mustafi’s fortunes last season were mixed, and to the surprise of many the Gunners are said to be ready to do business.

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?Gianluca Di Marzio has however taken the story a step further by reporting the player has already agreed terms with Inter, and it is now up to the Nerazzurri and Arsenal to come to an agreement of their own. Inter want to take the player on loan with option to buy and consider him higher priority than Man City’s Eliaquim Mangala as it stands.

Utility man Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could also be on his way out of the club for a £35m fee with Liverpool and Chelsea interested, while speculation remains over the long-term future of Manchester City target Alexis Sanchez. But Kieran Gibbs could now be the next man out of the door at the Emirates, as Watford have agreed a £5m fee to sign him with the Gunners.

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?ESPN report that the sum was agreed on Friday night, and that Arsenal are willing to sell as the England international has fallen down the pecking order after Sead Kolasinac’s arrival. Gibbs – like Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain and several others – is in the final year of his contract and instead of offering a renewal, Arsenal have opted to cash in.

Marco Silva’s side may hit a stumbling block when it comes to negotiations over personal terms, though the deal could get over the line before the transfer deadline at 11pm on Thursday.

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