Two months after Italy’s disappointing 2014 World Cup, Serie A is ready to get underway again as champions Juventus travel to Verona on Saturday for their season’s opener against Chievo.
The Turin giants won a third consecutive Scudetto last term as they proved to be too strong for Roma and Napoli, and they will be hoping to make it four in a row in 2014-15.
Juventus face a tough task to hold on to their status as the team to beat in Serie A, however, as both Roma and Napoli are full of ambition ahead of the new season, while traditional contenders like AC Milan and Inter will be hoping to get in the mix, too.
The Italian top flight might have lost Diego Milito and Javier Zanetti, among others, but there are still numerous stars to be found in Serie A, with Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo, Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi, Gonzalo Higuain, Hernanes and Mauro Icardi among the most high-profile names.
Meanwhile, the incoming transfers of players like Alvaro Morata, Alex, Nemanja Vidic, Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra have further boosted the reputation of Serie A ahead of the new season, while domestic deals involving Juan Manuel Iturbe, Dodo, Romulo, Urby Emanuelson and Davide Astori have also added to the excitement.
If one of the aforementioned title contenders are to dethrone Juventus in 2014-15, they would do well to try and replicate the Turin side’s defensive strength.
Juve conceded just 23 goals in 38 games last term, an average of 0.61 per match, with only Roma’s average of 0.66 anywhere near the titleholders.
To put things in perspective, the teams with the joint third-strongest defence – Napoli and Inter – conceded at least once per game.
Want to keep track of all the key statistics in Europe’s top five leagues? Keep an eye out for the Huawei Team Ranking, due to be launched in the first week of September.