Serie A: Who will challenge for the Scudetto this season?

Napoli clinched their first Serie A in 33 years in delectable fashion. Milan and Inter engaged in a throwback derby in the UCL semi-final

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Avignyan Mukhopadhyay
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Napoli clinched their first Serie A in 33 years in delectable fashion. Milan and Inter engaged in a throwback derby in the Champions League semi-final while Inter made it to the final and battled bravely.

Fiorentina and Roma reached their own respective European finals and Italy reminded Europe that even without the money, they can still provide excitement.

And so, a new season begins. Can Napoli repeat their brilliance under the guidance of a new coach? Will Milan's revolution result in success? Can Juventus start to dominate once again?

Bets have been firmly placed on Inter, again. The Champions League finalists have boasted the best squad in Serie A for the past three seasons. How many Italian sides last season had players of the calibre of Romelu Lukaku and Marcelo Brozovic warming the bench? Inter should have been dominating the league for a few years now but have instead struggled to grit their teeth and push through when it mattered.

While Napoli deserved all their glory last season, the Nerazzurri should have mounted a more serious challenge. They had the quality but too often dropped points in winnable games.

Milan derby | Sportz Point

AC Milan and Inter met in the Champions League semi-finals last season (Image- Getty)

Once again, Inter are favourites to win the league but their approach to the transfer market has raised doubts. Is this a weaker squad than last year? One wonders if the club have a clear project aimed at continuously fortifying the squad or simply plugging gaps to balance the books.

The welcoming of 34-year-old Marko Arnautovic appears indicative of Inter's poor planning. The club wanted Lukaku; set their eyes on Florian Balogun; accepted Gianluca Scamacca as a great alternative and finally settled on the Austrian striker. Arnautovic can surely score goals but his transfer is not one that inspires; not considering his age.

However, the arrivals of Carlos Augusto, Marcus Thuram and especially Davide Frattesi will have some putting a tenner on Inter to secure another Scudetto, especially under Simone Inzaghi, who has shown how to ensure tactical balance and intriguing styles of play.

If not Inter, then it surely has to be Napoli. Where to start with a side that boasted excellence all over the pitch? How much can one wax lyrical about the technique of Victor Osimhen, the unpredictability of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, the solidity of Kim Min-jae, the incredible midfield? Napoli were one of Europe's most attractive sides last season, capturing the hearts of neutrals. Not so many are backing them to retain the title, though.

Victor Osimhen | Serie A | Sportz Point

Victor Osimhen finished as the top scorer in Serie A last season with 26 goals as Napoli won a first title in 33 years (Image- Sky Sports)

Napoli managed to keep their major talents - Kim apart - but it's the departure of coach Luciano Spalletti that has raised doubts about their chances this season.

Spalletti is a tactical genius, and what he built in Naples will be remembered forever. Is Rudi Garcia really the ideal choice to replace him?

The Frenchman is perhaps a little underrated. Taking charge at Roma in 2013, Garcia inspired them to challenge a fiercely dominant Juventus for the title. And although they fell sort, they finished with a club record points total - 10 more than when they had won the league in 2001. That record was only beaten by… Luciano Spalletti.

Now it's Garcia's chance to surpass his predecessor. He is excellent at developing talent and offers his attacking players all the freedom they desire while ensuring a tight defence. He was also the man who dumped both Juventus and Manchester City out of the Champions League to reach the semi-final with Lyon in 2020.

With a Napoli squad so well built, Garcia needs to ensure continuity to bring more success. Naples will be a demanding city; owner Aurelio de Laurentiis is difficult to deal with. The onus will be on the Frenchman to keep calm and block out the noise.

If there's one team Garcia despised, it was Juventus. They were too strong for his Roma side back then. Can they challenge Napoli this year?

Dusan Vlahovic  | Serie A | Sportz Point

Juventus need striker Dusan Vlahovic to find scoring form this season (Image- Getty)

Juventus are a team you can never discount. They do not possess Napoli's attacking brilliance or Inter's midfield magic - but they know how to grind out a win, even if they leave you questioning your love of the sport.

Deducted 10 points last season after an investigation into past transfer dealings, the Bianconeri have also been banned from Europe for breaching Financial Fair Play rules. It could be a blessing in disguise.

The last time Juventus had a whole week to prepare for a Serie A game, they not only won the title but became the first Italian team to go undefeated through a 38-game season. They might not repeat that feat but they have enough to battle for another Scudetto, if injuries don't destroy them again.

Juve have always been tough to beat. Last season, that was supplemented by the young players brought through by coach Max Allegri. With more experience under their belt, they are the future. However, more will be expected from Paul Pogba, who is eager to re-establish himself, while Dusan Vlahovic, should he stay, must start scoring regularly.

Abhorrently dull 1-0 wins will also not be tolerated for much longer. Italy expect Juventus to win but to become Serie A's undisputable force, they must do so with style.

Yunus Musah | Sportz Point

Yunus Musah is one of a number of new signings at Milan this season (Image- Getty)

Milan will have something to say about that. Eight new players signed and counting, the Rossoneri have a clear strategy and want everyone to know it.

When die-hard Milan fan Sandro Tonali was sold to Newcastle and club legend Paolo Maldini was let go, there were doubts about the new ownership.

However, investing that money quickly and positively has won plaudits. The exciting new signings include Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Samuel Chukwueze and Yunus Musah.

Stefano Pioli, one of Serie A's finest coaches, will not only have the squad depth he's always dreamed of but also an attack no longer entirely dependent on what Rafael Leao can conjure up on the left.

Balance has been achieved and the early signs look promising even if the defence can look a little vulnerable. But is it too much change? Milan's ownership will expect results quickly, both domestically and in Europe. It may be difficult, though, for so many new arrivals to acclimatise to a new league so quickly.

Who are the other teams to watch for? Atalanta, who have spent the money received from Manchester United for Rasmus Hojlund to purchase a whole new attack, can cause excitement, and Jose Mourinho's Roma will have their say - but neither have enough to truly challenge for the Scudetto.

Buckle in and enjoy the ride. This is Europe's most competitive league.

Ssc Napoli Ac Milan Serie A Inter Milan Juventus Fc