It’s obvious, isn’t it? The 2017-18 Scudetto will end up residing in Turin again this term again, right? Perhaps it will, however, it is not as obvious as it has been in recent years. There has been a renaissance in the red and black half of Milan, new Coaches at Roma and Inter and changes yet to be measured within the Old Lady. On assessing the protagonists, one should not forget about Napoli, the cavalier band of brothers who seemed to have eventually found their backbone under Maurizio Sarri. Could there be a Neapolitan party on the horizon?
Juventus are not going to be immeasurably hampered in their Scudetto ambitions simply because they lost Leonardo Bonucci. Yes, it is a blow and Milan will certainly benefit, but the Turin giants have added to their squad and always needed to start making new defensive choices simply because Father Time demands it.
Milan have a plethora of new faces that have made them every young boy’s favourite for their new career on FIFA 18, but the immense turnover in talent will have to gel. Luciano Spalletti has arrived to get a tune out of the Nerazzurri and though they have talent in abundance, they will have to play a very different game, whilst Roma under Eusebio Di Francesco also need additions if they are to take one step up from where they were last term.
Unless you back another of one of Serie A’s extremely talented squads to win the Scudetto, that leaves Napoli. This is a team that under Sarri first learnt to defend, then realised they didn’t need to, as their attack was so potent, but decided that to be on the safe side they would make sure they would. Joking aside, the Stadio San Paolo side has been electric and last season they looked almost unstoppable. After Gonzalo Higuain left a gigantic 34-goal hole in the squad, they readdressed their attacking options and, despite losing Arkadiusz Milik to injury early on (who was performing well), they attacked as a collective.
Marek Hamsik was delightful and industrious, Lorenzo Insigne played like he was against children on the streets of Naples, with a beautiful innocence that allowed him to conjure up magic when he had no right to. Jose Callejon was as deadly as an assassin in the shadows, whilst Dries Mertens was the new hero of the San Paolo. Defensively they were good, but Sarri arguably lost his focus on the balance at times before weighing out the ingredients perfectly for the right mixture late on. Too little too late perhaps, but he knows the recipe for this season.
Pepe Reina produced some incredible saves and influenced many of Napoli’s moves from the back with his quick distribution, but arguably he was the weak link as he wasn’t always on form. The argument of a new goalkeeper also looks like being addressed.
To dethrone Juventus is a romantic fancy, that is true, but Napoli are the romantic’s team. Beautiful, deadly, unpredictable and gritty, watching them almost feels like a gluttonous act. They are more than this however, they are becoming more organised and kept the group together. Will they win the Scudetto? Who knows, but they certainly seem in the best place to start.