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2017-18 Serie A Season Review

With another excitement-filled Serie A in the books, it’s time to reflect on each club’s season. A brief recap for each team follows below:

  1. Juventus | Facing their toughest fight in their recent reign, the Bianconeri prevailed yet again. It’s hard to call a domestic double a disappointing season but the Champions League exit to Real Madrid undoubtedly left a bitter taste. The Old Lady made history by winning four straight domestic doubles. Juventus’ hierarchy will surely be busy this summer looking to strengthen the squad. Allegri will look to finally win the one trophy that has eluded Juve since their return from Serie B.

  2. Napoli | The club came into this season hungry, with a “scudetto pact” in hand, and after easily dispatching Nice in their UCL qualifying fixture, things seemed rosy for the Neapolitans. Napoli set a club record with 91 points, winning 10 straight league matches, and their brand of football was unmatched. They also broke a 10-year duck, beating Juventus in Turin. The Partenopei seemed to show a new level of fight and perseverance. Yet, after all the plaudits, Napoli fell short. The club didn’t take European football seriously. A team that was lauded after last year’s Champions League campaign didn’t make it out of the group this year. Then were quickly seen off in the Europa League. All of this was conceded for one goal, the Scudetto. Napoli fought valiantly, but in the end fell short of that ultimate goal as well. Sarri is not free of criticism, as his squad rotation, or lack thereof, led to tired legs and flat performances down the stretch. All in all, Napoli fans are caught on both sides of the expectations. A record-breaking season, that was wonderful, with great football, while Napoli pressured Juventus until the very end. On the other side, it’s hard to call this season a full-on success because we didn’t reach our largest objective. The hiring of Carlo Ancelotti dawns a new era for the club, looking to break Juve’s dominance and compete in multiple competitions. K.C.

  3. Roma | While it was a season that will be remembered for the Champions League campaign, a third-place finish is nothing to shrug off. A strong first year from Eusebio Di Francesco at the helm of the Giallorossi. Edin Dzeko continued his goal scoring ways, while Cengiz Ünder exploded in the second half of the season. Last summer’s big signing Patrik Schick didn’t quite hit the ground running but showed signs of promise. Expect Monchi to work some of his magic this summer on the transfer market. Perhaps a title challenge could be mounted next season.

  4. Inter | A rollercoaster of a season ultimately came down to the last match. A wild comeback against Lazio, earned vital qualification to the Champions League. Massively important for their FFP status and their ability to work on the summer transfer market. After failing to make the Argentina World Cup squad, rumors have been swirling regarding star striker Mauro Icardi. Whatever the club captain’s future may be, Inter will look to make a strong return to the Champions League after six years.

  5. Lazio | Multiple club records were broken turned to bitter disappointment on the final day of the season. Despite losing out on a Champions League spot in heartbreaking fashion, it was a very impressive season. Co-capocannoniere Ciro Immobile led the league’s best attack as Simone Inzaghi continued his impressive tactics. Expect a transfer saga this summer regarding Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who could fetch a massive transfer fee.

  6. Milan | AC Milan ended their season on a high note, beating Fiorentina 5-1 at the San Siro and clinching qualification to the Europa League Group Stage. After spending more than 200 million euros during the summer transfer window last year, the expectations for the Rossoneri were nothing short of Champions League qualification. However, following the disastrous start under Vincenzo Montella, Milan fans should be happy with the work put in by Gattuso and the squad in order to secure next season’s European play. Many questions were answered throughout the season, though many still remain. The Rossoneri found their coach, at least for the near future, in Rino Gattuso and under him, found a new mentality and defensive cohesion. On the other hand, the club faces financial uncertainty heading into the summer transfer window, and for better or for worse, Milan fans may have seen Gigio Donnarumma play his last game for the Rossoneri. One remaining question was potentially answered during match week 38: where will the goals come from? Milan only scored 56 goals on the season, which saw split play and a lack of scoring up front. After his brace against the Viola, could the 20-year-old Patrick Cutrone be the man who will lead Milan’s front line next season? M.R.

  7. Atalanta | Gian Piero Gasperini continues to work wonders in Bergamo. Despite winning their Europa League group, they were unfortunately drawn against  Borussia Dortmund in the first knockout round. Nonetheless, La Dea will be returning to continental competition next season. Breakout 19-year-old youngster Musa Barrow shows the talent their youth academy can produce.

  8. Fiorentina | A season undoubtedly overshadowed by the tragic death of club captain Davide Astori in early March. La Viola proceeded to go on a six-match winning streak and almost earned a Europa League spot but slipped up on the final two match days. There were both bright and dull moments in Stefano Pioli’s first season at the helm. Holding onto star players Chiesa and Simeone will be vital in the club’s hopes to return to continental competition next season.

  9. Torino | Walter Mazzarri took over for Sinsa Mihaljovic in January. Despite Andrea Belotti’s brief injury and drop in production, Il Toro managed to finish in the same exact position as last season. Adem Ljajic and Iago Falque were each impressive, combining for 18 league goals and 18 assists.

  10. Sampdoria | Losing their last four out of five matches, saw the Blucerchiati drop out of contention for a Europa League spot. Marco Giampaolo did move up one spot on the table compared to his first season in Genoa. 35-year-old striker Fabio Quagliarella had the best season of his career, scoring 19 league goals and adding six assists. Midfielders Lucas Torreira and Denis Praet have both been linked to bigger clubs this summer.

  11. Sassuolo | The Neroverdi scored the fewest goals in the league, with only 29. Considering Matteo Politano contributed 10 of those goals, it was an extremely poor offensive season. It was always going to be hard after the departure of Eusebio Di Francesco, but all things considered, an 11th place finish is not a terrible showing.

  12. Genoa | Quite an average season for the Grifrone. Their top goalscorer, Gianluca Lapadula, only found the back of the net six times. Goalkeeper captain Mattia Perin seems to be on the move this summer after a decade at the club. Don’t be surprised if the Gialloblu struggle next season.

  13. Chievo Verona | A stellar season for the Flying Donkeys. Former club legend Lorenzo D’Anna took over on the sidelines in late April. Roberto Inglese led the attack with 12 goals. 39-year-old goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino is still going strong, compiling 132 saves and seven clean sheets.

  14. Udinese | Despite having three different head coaches in charge this season, the Zebrette managed to avoid relegation. Massimo Oddo’s reign got off to a hot start but ended after going winless in ten straight matches. Igor Tudor was able to confirm the club’s status in Serie A over the last month. Kevin Lasagna and Antonin Barack led the line well, combining for 19 league goals.

  15. Bologna | After having finished the 2016-17 season in 15th with 41 points, and having strengthened the team considerably during the summer the expectations were high when the new season began in August. After a slow start to the season, Bologna picked up steam towards the end of September, with a thumping 3-0 over Sampdoria in November being the highlight. In 9th after fifteen games, optimism was growing among the Bologna faithful.  However, the season took a considerable u-turn after the turn of the year, and with only four wins in the last nineteen games, and no wins in the last six, Bologna ended up in 15th with 39 points, two fewer than the previous season, and only four above the relegation zone. Despite the disappointing end to the season, there were some positives to take from this season for the Rossoblù. Simone Verdi was brilliant, scoring ten goals and assisting ten as well. For a team of Bologna’s stature, those are quite impressive numbers. Overall though, the Bologna fans will not be satisfied with how the season panned out, and the ambitious owner Joey Saputo will not be either. With head coach Roberto Donadoni not returning, the club will be looking to the future in another directionF.B. 

  16. Cagliari | Winning their last two matches earned salvation for the Sardinian club. Leonardo Pavoletti led the line well, scoring 11 league goals, nine on headers. Youth product Nicolò Barella has been linked to Italy’s big clubs and may depart this summer. Another relegation battle could potentially be on the cards next season.

  17. Spal | The only club in the relegation battle on the last day who didn’t make a managerial change. Leonardo Semplici guided his men to safety winning three out of their last four matches. With the revenue earned from staying in Serie A, hopefully, they can invest over the summer, as another relegation battle next season is likely.

  18. Crotone | The Calabrese club failed to pull off another survival miracle on the last of the season this time around. A valiant effort in the second-half of the season under Walter Zenga was not enough for salvation. Expect them to challenge for a quick return to Serie A.

  19. Hellas Verona | A lackluster season on every level for the Gialloblu. Not much at all to hold their heads on. They managed to score only 30 goals and sold both Giampaolo Pazzini and Martin Caceres in January. Reinvestment into the squad will be needed in hopes of returning to the top flight anytime soon.

  20. Benevento | Setting the record for the worst start to a Serie A season was always a mountain too tall to climb. At least the appointment of Roberto De Zerbi, gave the Witches from Campania some life. The last-minute diving header by goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli against Milan to earn their first point of the season will go down in Italian football history. It’s always tough to make the transition to the top division, even more so after not putting in any substantial money to upgrade the squad.

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