Chievo Vs Juventus
Chievo survived the drop with just a few matches to spare last season and there is little doubt that this team from the tiny hamlet just outside Verona will be determined to do better this season. However, they couldn’t have asked for a harder start as reigning champions Juventus pay a visit.
I predict that the Old Lady are in for a tougher season then last following the sudden resignation of their inspirational coach Conte, who really knew how to drive his side to victory. So far La Juve have managed to hold onto their legion of stars, including Arturo Vidal, however new boss Allegri will need to muster all his experience if he is going to fight off Roma and Napoli to the title.
Roma Vs Fiorentina
Saturday night sees the clash between two of Serie A’s most attacking minded sides as the team from Rome welcome La Viola to the Olimpico. Garcia’s side did well to beat Juventus to sign wonderkid Iturbe to bolster their front line and if they can hold onto Benatia then they will fancy their chances to challenging for the title this season. Fiorentina have also done well to hold onto their stars including Vargas, Caudrado and Rossi, and will be confident that they can build on last year’s excellent season and aim for a top three finish. This will be a closely fought match but I predict the home side can edge this.
Milan Vs Lazio
The Serie A must really be in a financial crisis when the once mighty Milan now have gotten by so far on a shoe-string bugdet, with just a handful of loanees and free transfers making their way to the San Siro during the summer break. With £16m coming in from Balotelli’s move to Liverpool new coach, and former front man, Inzaghi might finally have some money to spend to make crucial reinforcements so his side can better their 8th place finish from last year. Lazio finished just a point behind the Rossoneri but will hope that new coach Pioli can guide them into a Europa League spot this time around. I predict that both sides will struggle this season and will drop points to teams they would normally thrash. Score draw expected.
Atalanta Vs Verona
Just four points separated these two sides at the end of last season as they finished in a respectable mid-table position. While Verona got off to a flying start following a number of seasons in Serie B, Atalanta cruised along, picking up some important scalps along the way. With Jorginho and Iturbe arguably two of their most promising and influential players leaving in the last two transfer windows I reckon Verona will be in for a tough season while Atalanta have been slowly morphed into a very tough side who I predict will once again finish in mid-table. Home win expected.
Cesena Vs Parma
Cesena make their return to the Serie A after being relegated two seasons ago. The Seahorses, as they are affectionately known, have weathered serious financial problems in recent seasons leaving them with a minuscule transfer budget and hence very little chance of surviving more then one season in the top flight. After an impressive and hard fought season, which included a 17 game unbeaten run, Parma were stripped of their chance of playing in the Europa League due to tax debts. Despite this you can be sure that Donadoni’s side will have another positive season and I am backing them to start off with a win as they make the short journey South.
Genoa Vs Napoli
Finishing 12 points clear of the bottom three Genoa have a lot of positives from last season, especially considering how they escaped the drop on the last day in their two previous campaigns. Despite a lot of hype following the arrival of Benitez as coach and Higuain to replace Cavani upfront, Napoli finished a staggering 24 points behind champions Juventus. The southerners’ season has already started on a poor note following their score draw in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier and now face an uphill challenge if they are to take part in this season’s Champions League. I expect a tough match for the visitors and expect a score draw.
Palermo Vs Sampdoria
Palermo made a quick return to the Serie A after being relegated in 2012. The Sicilians were renowned for putting up a fight, especially on their home ground, and will be aiming to regain that reputation now that they are back in the top flight. Mihajlovic was behind a masterclass turnaround for La Samp last season. The Serb’s excellent stewardship led Sampdoria to a mid-table finish and you can be sure that his side will be rearing to go this weekend, aiming to better last season’s finish. I am sticking my neck out and backing an away win.
Sassuolo Vs Cagliari
Both these sides finished just a handful of points above the relegation zone last season, with Sassuolo surviving the drop in the last couple of weeks following almost an entire season among the bottom three. You can be sure that both sides will want to improve, however with no arrivals of any particular quality arriving you can expect another tough year for both these sides, particularly the home side. The Sardinians will be aiming for a winning start however I predict a bore draw.
Torino Vs Inter
Just three points separated Il Toro and the Nerazzurri last season, which goes to show how much Torino have improved in recent years but also how far Inter have fallen, considering they were one of Europe’s top sides just 4 years ago. Neither side has been overly impressive in their respective Europa League qualifiers and are looking sluggish. Tough match to call, however if Mazzarri’s men can keep the back door shut, especially considering the gap left following the departure of Ciro Immobile from the Turin outfit, I think they should have enough to win this.
Udinese Vs Empoli
Udinese paid the price last season after a summer of wholesale changes leaving Guidolin with a weak side that not even his usual magic could transform into a top half of the table team. Le Zebrette will at least have an relatively easy start to their 2014/15 campaign as they welcome newly promoted Empoli to the Stadio Friuli. I predict Empoli will be in for a tough season, following just a handful of loanees brought in from other top sides. Home win expected.