A new Serie A season kicks off Saturday, Aug. 21, and after having to watch a rival claim the title it owned for nine straight seasons, Juventus will look to reclaim its position as the best team in Italy entering the campaign as the clear-cut favorite.
The winningest team in Italy is bringing back practically its entire squad from last season, but this time the players will be led by head coach Massimiliano Allegri, who’s back at the helm after a two-year hiatus. He will take over a team that is coming off a disappointing fourth-place finish, 13 points behind eventual champion Inter Milan.
Many are predicting a tough season for cash-challenged champion Inter, which lost its coach (Antonio Conte) and was compelled to transfer its top scorer (Romelu Lukaku) and last season’s revelation (Achraf Hakimi) to balance the budget during the summer. Meanwhile, second-place finisher AC Milan has kept its squad and added a handful of reinforcements. Atalanta looks poised to compete for a top-four spot again, while AS Roma, Lazio and Napoli will hope that a change in manager can transform them into serious contenders.
How to watch Serie A in USA
CBS is the exclusive broadcaster for Italian club soccer in the USA, including Serie A, the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) and the Supercoppa Italiana (Italian Super Cup). All matches will be streamed on Paramount+ with select matches on CBS linear channels such as CBS Sports Network (CBSSN).
Serie A TV & streaming schedule for Matchday 1
The season starts with three days of matches. Champion Inter Milan kicks off its title defense at home against a hard-nosed Genoa team that will be fighting to avoid relegation. The 10-match slate wraps with AC Milan meeting the other team based in Genoa, Sampdoria, on Monday.
Saturday, Aug. 21
Sunday, Aug. 22
Monday, Aug. 23
Who will win Serie A? Champion futures
The bookmakers say seven teams have a realistic case for calling themselves contenders this season, with Juventus standing above the rest:
Juventus reset: Despite the revenue shortfalls imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Juventus successfully added budding Italian national team star Manuel Locatelli on a creative deal, and the Bianconeri also locked up Brazilian forward Kaio Jorge on a lower-cost transfer fee. With superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (below) sticking around and Paulo Dybala eager to relaunch his career, this will be the usual ambitious Juventus on all fronts. Outside Serie A, the club’s big dream will once again be winning the UEFA Champions League after Allegri took it to two finals in three seasons (2015 and 2017), coming up short on both occasions.
Milan clubs chasing the Old Lady: Inter Milan and AC Milan are expected to be the main challengers to Juventus in the title race. Their squads are stacked. Despite its prominent personnel departures, Inter added three solid starting-caliber players to the roster (Denzel Dumfries, Edin Dzeko and Hakan Calhanoglu), as did AC Milan, which will have a new man at goalkeeper to succeed Italian national team keeper Gigi Donnarumma: Frenchman Mike Maignan. If not the title, Champions League qualification is the minimum expectation for both Milan sides.
Can Atalanta’s model keep producing results? The Bergamo club has continued to surprise with three straight third-place finishes in Serie A. The formula is straightforward: Sell off prized assets and then reinvest the cash into scouting and player development for the next wave of elite players. It happened again over the summer with Tottenham claiming its starting goalkeeper (Pierluigi Gollini) and defender (Cristian Romero). If the replacements prove to be up to par, expect Atalanta to once again hover in those top three spots.
Rome all fired up: Both Rome clubs, AS Roma and Lazio, have new managers who are now the face of their respective organizations. Jose Mourinho (Roma, below) and Maurizio Sarri (Lazio) land in Rome with impressive resumes, fiery personalities and very different brands of soccer. Whether or not either can elevate his club to compete with Juventus from the start, the measuring stick is sure to be the intracity rival in Year 1.
Watch out for Napoli: No one’s talking about the Neapolitan club, which has quietly gone about preparing this summer with little transfer activity of note. The most prominent move was the hiring of manager Luciano Spalletti, who returns to the coaching ranks after two years away. If the veteran can push the right buttons and infuse fresh ideas and energy into the group, Napoli has a strong roster that can make a title run after failing to qualify for the Champions League the last two seasons.
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