Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Best in the World

Is the Serie A the best league in the world? The answer right now is no, but as we saw from the Euro's Italy are still no slouches despite the reputation of the league and National side taking a hit in recent years. I for one have always enjoyed the Serie A more than any other league, sure I have a rooting interest for Juventus but as a casual soccer fan I would still rather watch any Serie A game more than another league.

But I also think that the Serie A is back on the rise again. It is unfortunate that the Serie A lost our coveted fourth Champions League spot, but if things fall the right way this season that spot could belong to an Italian team once again, and if you think about it that spot could be filled with a very competitive team.

I have shared my views on Roma and Napoli's transfer seasons thus far, and I think we can all agree, both teams have made some impressive strides in the right direction. Inter has also made some important moves this summer, Coutinho seems like a different player since spending a year on loan  while head coach Andrea Strammaccioni has stressed a hard work ethic since taking over late last season. Milan have had their struggles, and those have been very well documented this summer, but I still maintain that cashing in on Ibrahimovic and Silva was the right thing to do for the Rossoneri. That was a move for the long-term that will benefit them in a big way. Udinese have sold away virtually everyone that made them so great last season besides Antonio Di Natale and Pablo Armero, however Armero may be on his way to Juventus in the coming days. Juventus have strengthened the squad big time, and are still looking for more, even beyond Armero, Van Persie or Edin Dzeko remain possibilites, while a defender is also desired by the Bianconeri brass. That leaves Lazio to round out the top seven, and they were great last season until a run of injuries killed a squad that already lacked depth.

Thats seven teams that could all compete for the Serie A this season. We can all agree that Lazio and Udinese are probably the weakest of the two, but I am here to make the argument that it is no longer a three team race in this league. Juventus will NOT be undefeated again this year. That isn't a very bold statement, as there aren't too many teams that have enjoyed consecutive 'invincable' seasons.

I have spoken to it before how upsetting it is that Udinese will probably go a second consecutive year where they stand very little chance of advance from their Champions League qualifier as they just sell away too many players, and do not re-enforce in time for the qualifier. But there is always a chance, Guidolin has that team working hard and they are never easy to beat, especially at the Stadio Friuli. But this hurts Italy's chances of getting that fourth Champions League spot back.

But we won't be held out for long, Napoli and Roma are building squads that will compete for a very long time, and squads that will have enough depth to compete in all competitions. Napoli got a rude awakening last season when they struggled with the added games of the Champions League. So they sold Ezequiel Lavezzi and have revamped with a much deeper, balanced squad. One that will challenge for a Serie A title, and one the will compete hard for continental glory as well.

Roma are in the same boat. They brought in the perfect coach for their young squad that is developing into one of the most exciting teams to watch in all of football. Seriously, if you watched some their games last season, and how talented some of these guys are, then you know what they can can do in the final third of the pitch. If not, I suggest you find a Roma game to watch this upcoming season, they will be a lot of fun.

Inter and Milan will always be around, and they will always field great teams. They may go through transition seasons every now and again, but most teams do, we've even seen it happen with Chelsea in recent seasons. But Inter are looking to get back on the map and Milan will be gunning to prove that they will still be a great team despite the sale of their two superstars, and many of their older players riding off into the sunset.

Juventus is a team on a mission at the moment. The mission is to get the credit and reputation they once had restored. An undefeated season did help but now more trouble and betting scandals are looming. However, the team had nothing to do with it, and the plan still goes on as it was drawn out. They are aiming for a lengthy run in the Champions League while retaining the Serie A title. However, it will not be as easy as they made it seem last season.

The Serie A is a league that is growing, and trying to restore its name and reputation around the world. I believe in it, and I am happy to see that the owners of Napoli and Roma are making a real effort to compete with the 'big three' and beyond. The league will not be a two horse race this season. There will be plenty of scoreboard watching and it will not be long until we see Italian squads dominating throughout Europe once again.

Your thoughts and opinions are always encouraged.

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