Serie A League Preview 2020/21

Serie A 2020/21 Season Preview: Who are the Scudetto favourites? Who could face the drop? Any shocking surprises?


The Serie A returns for a brand new season in Italy. We provide a rundown of the state of play, schedule, players, teams and more.

When is Serie A season kicking off?

Serie A returns with all opening matches kicking off at 2pm on 20th September. Andrea Pirlo will make his managerial debut as Juventus boss against Sampdoria at home, whilst arguably the tie of the round is Lazio vs Atalanta. Serie A is the last of the big five leagues to kick off their new season.

How are games being scheduled in the league?

Everything is coming back to normal. Match weeks are scheduled one week apart from each other, mostly on the weekends and Mondays like we were accustomed to before the pandemic. There is no information yet about the mid-week and Friday fixtures.

What time do games usually kick off in Serie A?

Weekend games usually kick off at 2pm, 5pm or 7:45pm, however this can change once they announce the tv listings and kick off times.

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Who won promotion to the Serie A for the 2020/21 season?

Benevento

Benevento are back in the Serie A after a solo campaign back in 2017/18. They finished top of Serie B comfortably, with 86 points from 38 games played. The Sorcerers only lost four league games and their defence played a huge role, conceding just 27 goals. With automatic promotion back into Serie A, Benevento will hope that they do not have a repeat of their 2017/18 campaign. They set the record for the longest consecutive number of defeats (13) at the start of the season across the ‘big five’ European leagues.

Crotone

Crotone are another side returning to the Serie A after suffering relegation in 2018. Unlike Benevento, they were able to stay up for their first campaign in the top flight in 2016/17. The Pythagoreans finished just above the drop after a final day victory was enough to stay in the division and send Empoli down instead. This will be just their third top flight campaign in their history, and they will need to hope that striker “Simy” can help them score enough goals to stay up this season.

Spezia

Established in 1906, it will be the first time in the club’s history that they compete in Serie A. The historic campaign will start off with a trip to Udinese for Vincenzo Italiano’s men. After finishing 3rd and missing out on automatic promotion from Serie B last season, Spezia had to settle for the playoffs. They overturned Chievo Verona in the play off semi finals before facing Frosinone, who were unfortunate to miss out on promotion over two-legs despite the aggregate score being 1-1.

Which teams were relegated from Serie A last season?

SPAL

After back-to-back successive survival campaigns, including an impressive 13th place finish in 2018/19, SPAL finished bottom of the Serie A. The side relied on a lot of loan players joining the squad this season, and have now made another managerial change after Leonardo Semplici and Luigi Di Biagio were removed from the role. Unsurprisingly, they had the least amount of wins during the season with just five.

Brescia

The club Mario Balotteli represented last season and the club he started his career out did not stay in the division. Just six wins throughout the season was not enough to stay in the division. In their last two promotions to the top flight, they have gone back down, finishing 19th in both campaigns. They could however receive a fair amount of money for the sought-after Sandro Tonali and offload Balotteli and push to bounce back to the top flight in their first attempt.

Lecce

The Salentians, despite a valiant effort, fell just short of staying in Serie A after they suffered a last day defeat to the hands of Parma in a crazy 4-3 game. Had they won that game, however, they would have still needed Genoa to drop points, but their survival rivals won 3-0 against Hellas Verona to keep their points gap intact. After potent form at the start of February, Lecce’s survival chances were significantly damaged in a seven-game losing run which they conceded a whopping 25 goals.

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Who won the Serie A title last season?

Juventus, despite having a below-par and somewhat underwhelming season, came out on top once again as the Turin giants overcame any title challenges from the likes of Inter Milan, Atalanta and Lazio. It was the club’s ninth successive Scudetto, however they did only just win by a single point and record their lowest points total since 2010/11.

Juventus continue to add to their dominant and decorative history, having now become champion 36 times in their history. However, Maurizio Sarri could not keep his job for this season, with the former Chelsea manager axed by the club. In steps Andrea Pirlo, a rather shock appointment just days after they announced him coach of the Juve U23 side. The trend of hiring ex-players with little experience seems to be the new long-term thinking of clubs across Europe and not just in England.

What were the talking points from the 2019/20 Serie A season?

For talking points from the 2019/2020 Serie A season, click here

Who were the top players last season?

For top players from the 2019/20 Premier League season, click here

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Team Previews

Atalanta (19/20 – 3rd in Serie A)

The team on everyone’s lips last season across Europe as one of the most exciting, entertaining and ruthless sides in Serie A and the Champions League. Managed by Gian Piero Gasperini, Atalanta finished 3rd last season, ahead of the likes of Napoli, Lazio and Roma, and scored a staggering 98 league goals.

The question is how many key first team players can they hold on to, with wide men Timothy Castagne and Robert Gosens heavily linked with moves away.

Benevento (19/20 – 1st in Serie B)

Benevento’s 2017/18 Serie A season was memorable for two reasons. They broke the record across Europe’s top five leagues for the longest streak of defeats at the start of the season with 13. However, more people might remember goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli scored in injury time to give Sorcerers their first Serie A point against AC Milan.

Managed by Italian legend Filippo Inzaghi, Benevento have impressively signed former AS Monaco defender Kamil Glik, who provides both quality and experience in a key area if they are to stay up.

Bologna (19/20 – 12th in Serie A)

With a mid-table finish last season, it will frustrate Bologna and manager Siniša Mihajlović that they could not shore up their defence and finish much higher. Musa Barrow, Nicolas Domínguez, and Takehiro Tomiyasu are just some young stars coming through the Bologna side.

However, the team has to improve defensively if they want to aspire to challenge the top half. Clean sheets are a must, having only kept clean sheets in 5% of their league games last season, a league low.

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Cagliari (19/20 – 13th in Serie A)

Similarly to Bologna, Cagliari finished mid-table in 13th, however were better defensively and just could never quite see out enough games. They now have former Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco at the helm to help guide them further up the table this year.

The side has a strong South American spine, particularly in the central areas with Joao Pedro, Nahitan Nandez and Gaston Pereiro. Ahead of the new season, they have also strengthened with the loan signing of Ajax midfielder, Razvan Marin, and secure Marko Rog and Diego Simeone on permanent deals.

Crotone (19/20 – 2nd in Serie B)

This is just Crotone’s second top flight campaign after a two-year stay from 2016 to 2018. The Calabria-based club finished as runners up behind Benevento in the Serie B last season to secure automatic promotion.

Interestingly, Libya international and Manchester-born Ahmad Benali is one of their key players. Another key man will be crucial is 6 foot 6 inch tall Simeon Nwankwo, known as “Simy” who scored 20 Serie B goals last season.

Fiorentina (19/20 – 9th in Serie A)

Unfortunately Fiorentina seem to sit in between tiers of the top end teams and the mid-table teams. Their campaign last season was once again underwhelming despite bringing in the likes of Franck Ribery to the side which already has quality players such as Federico Chiesa.

What was particularly frustrating, and a common trait for a mid-table side, is a large amount of drawn matches. In fact, ACF drew 13 times, more than any other side in the division last season. They will need to turn draws into wins if they aspire to play in Europe.

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Genoa (19/20 – 17th in Serie A)

Four wins from the restart was enough to keep Genoa in Serie A for the upcoming season, after Lecce took them to a final day survival showdown. The nine-time Serie A champions and historic Italian club got the better of Lecce in a huge home match near the end of the season.

They are going to need to start their campaign much better if they want to avoid another relegation battle this season. Before the turn of the year, Genoa won just two games from their opening 17 Serie A games. They also have a squad predominantly of players over 30 and will need to look to the future.

Hellas Verona (19/20 – 9th in Serie A)

Hellas Verona had a very solid campaign, finishing in the top half on head-to-head record and never really went on a bad run of games. They picked a lot of their points up in draws and turning just a few of those draws into wins could have projected them to a much higher and more impressive league finish.

The Veneto-based side were a team that are always competitive in games last season and only suffered one heavy defeat last season at the hands of Lazio. This was their first season back in the Italian top flight after a playoff promotion win in Serie B in 2018/19, making their league finish even more impressive. It will be interesting if they can replicate their solid form once again.

Inter (19/20 – 2nd in Serie A)

It has been quite a season for Antonio Conte in charge of the blue side of Milan. The former Chelsea boss guided his side to a second place finish and proved to many how good of a coach he is. With a frontline of Romelu Lukaku and Latauro Martinez, Inter made the Europa League Final but eventually fell short.

The Nerazzurri could have stopped the dominance of a disappointing Juventus this season if they had not dropped so many points against struggling sides last season. 10 draws in Serie A was the most of any team in the top eight, meaning they would have only needed to turn one of their draws into a win to secure their first Scudetto since 2009/10, a decade ago.

Juventus (19/20 – 1st in Serie A)

The Champions League exit at the hands of Lyon was arguably the final straw for Maurizio Sarri in a strange yet successful campaign for Juventus. They won the league once again, albeit by a single point, and held off any title challenges from Lazio, Atalanta and Inter Milan throughout the season.

However, the Sarri style of play and underwhelming results and performances so Juve head into a new and exciting direction. Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates will now report to Andrea Pirlo, and in line with the vision of some Premier League clubs hiring new managers who are ex-players, will most likely get the time to implement his ideas and be successful.

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Lazio (19/20 – 4th in Serie A)

One team were in and out of the title race, Lazio and  the goal-scoring exploits of Ciro Immobile helped The Eagles to push Juve throughout but particularly in the second half of the season. A late season fall off during the restart meant Lazio settled for 4th, however it is still their highest finish since the 2014/15 season.

Immobile smashed the goal-scoring charts this season, with 36 goals in 37 appearances, and he would have been an outside choice in the Balon d’Or had it gone ahead this year. Whether they can replicate their strong season and also do well in the Champions League remains to be seen, especially when they failed to get out of their Europa League group last season.

Milan (19/20 – 6th in Serie A)

A late revival in their season meant that AC Milan will compete in the Europa League next season. The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was a welcomed one, and despite his age the Swede has contributed massively and will play for the Rossoneri in this upcoming season.

At the start of the season, Milan lost seven of their opening 11 games and another underwhelming and frustrating season was on the cards for the sleeping giant of the club. However, since the turn of the year, they only lost two games, winning 13 games and drawing six in 21 Serie A games.

Napoli (19/20 – 7th in Serie A)

It was quite a chaotic season in Naples as troubles off the pitch meant Carlo Ancelotti said goodbye and headed for the Premier League during the season. In came former AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso, and results improved during the start of 2020, including a run of nine wins in 11 games.

They settled for the final Europa League spot in 7th, a competition they did not play in last season after progressing to the Champions League Round of 16 against Barcelona. Napoli have kept Dries Mertens, however they could lose out to interested parties after Kalidou Koulibaly, whilst Ancelotti has poached Brazilian midfielder Allan from the Azzuri.

Parma (19/20 – 11th in Serie A)

Despite two promotions and an 11th place finish last season, Roberto D’Aversa will not be in charge of Parma next season. The decision to move on from their hugely successful coach raises some eyebrows. It was only a few years ago that the club was on its financial knees and forced to play in the fourth tier in Italy.

Former Premier League players Andreas Cornelius and Gervinho starred for I Gialloblu last season, with 19 league goals between them. It will be interesting if they can have another solid mid-table season with new management in charge.

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Roma (19/20 – 5th in Serie A)

Paulo Fonseca is part of an exciting rebuild project with Roma that is headlined by the highly talented Nicolo Zaniolo. The attacking fluid football is reaping some rewards and, whilst they missed out on Champions League football, Roma will be optimistic about where this team is going.

Sandwiched in between solid starts and a very solid end to last season was a run of eight defeats in 13 games which damaged their chances at clinching top four. If they can bring in Chris Smalling on a permanent, that would be a firm statement of intent. They are however set to lose Aleksandar Kolarov to Inter Milan. Roma should finish in and around the top five or six again.

Sampdoria (19/20 – 15th in Serie A)

The front line of Manolo Gabbiadini, formerly of Southampton, and the veteran Fabio Quagliarella, who finished as one of the top scorers in 2018/19, provided a threat for Sampdoria last season. They have another former Saints man in Gaston Ramirez as the creative spark, but will be glad that their second half of the season form dragged them to safety after a very poor start to the season.

They lost out on a lot of points by failing to draw games, only drawing six times last season. Only Juventus and SPAL drew fewer games in Serie A. They need to improve defensively or find the net more than they did last season if they want to avoid a relegation battle.

Sassuolo (19/20 – 8th in Serie A)

This team was an exciting one to watch last season, and one that performing very well and caused trouble to the very best teams in the league. Sassuolo have their midfield to thank for some of the best counter-attacking play in the Serie A, thanks to the excellent seasons from the likes of Jeremie Boga and Manuel Locatelli.

The latter is proving why AC Milan should not have sold him and is being linked with another move again. The Neroverdi could lose Rogerio to Newcastle, but if they can keep hold of top scorers Francesco Caputo and Domenico Berardi, they should be set for another solid season.

Spezia (19/20 – 3rd in Serie B)

It will be the first time in the club’s history that they compete in Serie A. The historic campaign will start off with a trip to Udinese for Vincenzo Italiano’s men. After finishing 3rd and missing out on automatic promotion from Serie B last season, Spezia had to settle for the playoffs.

They overturned Chievo Verona in the play off semi finals before facing Frosinone, who were unfortunate to miss out on promotion over two-legs despite the aggregate score being 1-1. Survival will be on the cards, and it will be a monumental effort to avoid the drop this season for the minnows from Liguria.

Torino (19/20 – 16th in Serie A)

This side were very underwhelming last season, and star man Andrea Belotti still scored 16 league goals. Outside of him, the goals were not coming consistently from anyone else, and Torino scored just 46 league goals last season. Defensively, this side struggled, especially in January when a six-game losing streak saw them concede 19 goals including one of Atalanta’s ruthless seven-nil handouts.

They have gained a solid defender in the transfer window in former AC Milan full back Ricardo Rodriguez. Bringing back Simone Verdi again could help with the lack of goals, however they are rumoured to lose Ola Aina to Fulham. It would be surprising if they were to struggle as much as they did last season.

Udinese (19/20 – 13th in Serie A)

Luca Gotti is still trying to establish himself and help build this team who ended up safely in 13th after strong form at the end of the season. Udinese had their defence to thank for and the high number of clean sheets kept through the Serie A season. In fact, the Bianconeri kept the joint-most amount of clean sheets alongside the defensive-sound Inter Milan.

If they can improve their goal-scoring record whilst maintaining a similar defensive record, Udinese could easily push for a top/mid table finish. However, they scored just 37 goals last season, and could lose the highly sought after Rodrigo De Paul who scored seven of those goals. The lack of transfer activity coming in could affect them if they cannot bring in reinforcements.

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Who are the favourites to win the 2020/21 Serie A?

  • Juventus 3/4*
  • Inter Milan 15/8*
  • Atalanta 11/1*
  • Napoli 11/1*
  • Lazio 16/1*
  • AC Milan 18/1*
  • Roma 40/1*

*Odds as of time of writing (Thursday 3rd September 2020) and subject to change

Serie A Betting Markets

At Mark Jarvis, we have plenty of different markets for each match in the Italian top flight. For Italian Serie A markets, click here

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Sam is an experienced content writer with a history of working in the sports industry. Sam is a media and communication professional with a bachelor's degree focused in Sports Studies.


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