You would have to go back 14 seasons to find the last time AS Roma celebrated Scudetto success with a certain Mr Fabio Capello guiding the capital club to the top of the Serie A standings, beating Juventus to top honours in the process.
The intervening years may not have featured many highlights for the Romans, but after a record-breaking run at the start of last season, AS Roma could be ready to topple the Old Lady again.
But the Giallorossi aren’t the only ones looking to take home the title, with five realistic contenders for the crown as we head into the new season. Here’s a rundown of the teams and odds that matter.
The Bianconeri ended up winning the title at a canter last term with new signings Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez hitting top form in front of net but suffered something of setback this week after manager Antonio Conte quit the club following three title-winning seasons in charge.
Juventus don’t react well to change, as any fans living in the era that followed Marcelo Lippi’s two departures from the club will attest and with new boss Massimiliano Allegri an unpopular appointment following the disastrous end to his spell in charge of AC Milan, this is far from a banker bet.
Rudi Garcia had the Romans ticking along nicely last term, with the Giallorossi’s fine efforts in the league only outdone by those of Juve. But in a refreshing change to the norm Roma have held on to their best players while adding to a squad already boasting plenty in the way of talent.
Ashley Cole’s arrival on a free transfer may have generated the most headlines but the biggest coup could be the capture of Juan Manuel Iturbe from last season’s surprise package Verona. Dubbed the latest ‘new Messi’ this is one Argentine who could help deliver a title.
Before Diego Simeone’s success with Atletico Madrid last season, Rafa Benitez was the last manager in charge of a club outside of the big two in Spain to win La Liga and after a solid first campaign the Spaniard could be ready to push the likes of Juventus and Roma all the way in the title race.
Already boasting an impressive squad that includes Gonzalo Higuain, Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon alongside established club stars like Marek Hamsik and Gokhan Inler the club has the personnel to mount a Scudetto challenge, they just need the right guidance.
While the previous season was an unmitigated disaster for all concerned with the Rossoneri, the reality is that the lack of European football could prove to be a blessing in disguise for Milan in much the same way it was for Liverpool last season.
New boss Filippo Inzaghi remains something of a gamble, but if he can transfer the passion and drive he showed as a player onto the Milan squad, then stars like Mario Balotelli and Keisuke Honda could impress. To their credit, the club have pulled off a great bit of business in signing Jeremy Menez – a player who once thrived in Italy with Roma.
The Nerazzurri did the right thing in sticking by new boss Walter Mazzarri despite an up-and-down campaign last season and the ex-Napoli man could yet deliver the goods with a team boasting three of Europe’s mostpromising young talents in Mateo Kovacic, Ricky Alvarez and Mauro Icardi.
Mazzarri has also made some shrewd defensive additions to go alongside these talented youngsters with Nemanja Vidic arriving on a free transfer from Manchester United and Yann M’Vila, who will be determined to take his big chance following several false starts. Dark horses indeed.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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