This year is exciting for the Italian Serie A. Not only is there going to be a far more riveting title race this time round (as opposed to the Juventus dominance we’ve witnessed for the past 10 years), they have been signed up by BT Sport AND, most spectacularly, I shall be covering it a lot more this year!
Let’s kick off this season with my score predictions for the first set of matches. A segment I intend to keep up all year round. So, buckle yourselves in for some abhorrent shouts, some flukey punts, and, maybe, just maybe, some intelligent input.
Inter vs Genoa | 1-0
Serie A kicks off with a bang as the current Scudetto holders Internazionale Milan host Genoa, who finished in a respectable 11th place last season.
It’s Simone Inzhagi’s first game in charge at the San Siro, and I’m excited to see what he can bring!
Sadly I don’t see any sort of upset happening just yet, with the Nerazzurri likely starting the season off with 3 points. Lautaro Martínez is out through injury, so they will struggle for goals but I still see them ending victorious with a goal and a perfect debut from Hakan Çalhanoğlu.
Inter loanee Zinho Vanheudsen- someone I rate very highly- to also have a very solid game for Genoa despite the loss.
Hellas Verona vs Sassuolo | 1-0
Two teams that finished just outside the top 7 last season (10th and 8th respectively), this will be an interesting battle. Sassuolo will be without Manuel Locatelli for the first time in 3 years after his loan move to giants Juventus. On the other hand, Hellas Verona
Hopefully Matheus Henrique will be available to start after his trip to the Olympics with Brazil, an exciting midfielder who I’m certain will be brilliant for the the Neroverdi.
1-0 to Hellas Verona for me; with the scorer being Ivan Ilić- who will be vital to the Gialloblu and their success this season after joining permanently from Manchester City.
Torino vs Atalanta | 0-2
Torino scraped their way to survival last season, whereas Atalanta were a point short of second place. Not to say this is a decider of the result, but, for me, that’s enough evidence to show that Gian Piero Gasperini and his men will prevail in Northern Italy.
Torino haven’t done much to improve their squad, and yet Atalanta have brought in some sensational defenders (specifically Matteo Lovato and Merit Demiral), so a clean sheet on the cards looks very probable.
Goals from Ruslan Malinovskyi and the ever-reliable Luis Muriel.
Empoli vs Lazio | 1-0
This is my first shock of the predictions. Newly promoted Empoli take on the mammoths of Rome and I predict it going in favour of the Tuscan minnows.
Going to be one of those games where Lazio absolutely hammer them but just can’t find that equaliser after Empoli bag on a counter attack. Remnants of typical game between Liverpool and Burnley (not today’s edition mind you).
Leo Štulac is Empoli’s player to watch this season, and I think he’s going to have a brilliant game tomorrow. Goalscorer? You can put your money on Leonardo Mancuso.
Bologna vs Salernitana | 1-1
I guarantee if you asked any English football fan to name every team in the Serie A, a large chunk would be able to get 19/20, with the majority (mostly everyone I would say) missing out Salernitana. Unless you’re a Villa fan (who played them in a preseason friendly a couple weeks ago), most foreign fans have never heard of them.
But, points aren’t won on club’s prominence- or notoriety for that matter- but the quality of their team. Well, Salernitana haven’t really got that going for them either.
Regardless, promoted teams are always a struggle to play at first, filled to the brim with confidence and playing a style your team may not be used to. So I see this ending in a 1-1 draw.
Goals from Nicolás Domínguez- another player I’m a big fan of- and Crotone loanee Simy- who impressively managed to bag 20 Serie A goals in a relegated side last year.
Udinese vs Juventus | 0-2
I’ve always been interested in Italian football, but it hasn’t been since the second half of last season that I properly immersed myself in the beauty of the Serie A game. As with an interest in any league, I feel it’s imperative that you should have a club you favour or support. For me, that’s Udinese.
Being a Watford fan, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Udine-based outfit, down to being owned by the same family as us (The Pozzos) and the sister relations we’ve shared with them over the past 8 years.
This is only further heightened by the fact that I have distant family from Northern Italy. So, it seems only right that they end up playing (probably) the strongest team in the league in their first game.
As optimistic and blatantly biased as I’d like to be, I really can’t see anything but a Juve win here. 2-0 with both goals coming from no other than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Napoli vs Venezia | 3-1
Here they are! Every hipster’s favourite Italian team. Without sounding like everyone else, Venezia really are such a cool team. With beautiful kits, a deeply interesting history, and now American wonderkid Gianluca Busio- I too have a liking for them.
However, coolness doesn’t win you titles (if it did then Venezia, Inter, and A.C. Monza would race in a trifecta for the Scudetto) and despite the signing of Busio, their team is still lacking in quality.
It’s somewhat a baptism of fire for the Venice-based club’s first season in Serie A in 20 years, and they’ll have to be on top form to get anything from the match.
I have a sneaky suspicion Venezia will go ahead, have people going mental, before Napoli show their class and fight back to be triumphant. Goals from new signing David Okereke for lagunari and Victor Osimhen, Piotr Zieliński, and Adam Ounas- a player I believe is going to have a brilliant season for Gli Azzurri.
Roma vs Fiorentina | 0-0
One of the hardest games to predict in my opinion. Roma went through a really poor stint of form at the end of last season (losing to Torino, Cagliari, and Sampdoria over the course of April/start of May) and have made the bold choice of hiring José Mourinho as gaffer.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Mourinho. No doubt one of the best managers of the 21st century, the question on everyone’s lips is whether he’s past his tactical best. Being known as a “trophy manager”, he hasn’t won a piece of silverware since Manchester United’s Europa League win vs Ajax 4 years ago.
Both have signed new strikers and it will be exciting to see where this game ends. But, in typical Mourinho fashion- I think this will end in a boring 0-0 draw, with some organised defending from Roma, but a lack of spark in attack (likely too soon for Tammy Abraham to play).
Cagliari vs Spezia | 2-1
Spezia are an interesting team this season. Undergoing a transfer embargo for smuggling in Nigerian kids (yes, you read correctly)- although an appeal sees them able to do business this summer- and managed by iconic midfielder Thiago Motta.
Cagliari haven’t done much in this transfer window, and Spezia have brought in quite a few young players with bags of potential.
I predict a tight win for Cagliari with Kevin Strootman rolling back the years and joining both Giovanni Simeone and M’bala Nzola on the scoresheet.
Sampdoria vs AC Milan | 0-3
The final game of the weekend sees Sampdoria take on the revitalised AC Milan. I have high hopes for AC Milan this season (as you’ll see in my upcoming Serie A league prediction article coming out soon) and expect them to deliver as such on Monday.
A routine win and a perfect start for Stefano Pioli in my eyes with Rafael Leão scoring twice, and a late consolation from permanent signing Brahim Díaz.
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