Antonio Conte’s side remain the team to beat in Italy.
Our “Serie A Six to Watch” series begins with reigning champions Juventus, who will hope to secure their third consecutive league title this season.
The Bianconeri very much remain the team to beat in Italy, although after having gone undefeated two years ago they were tested a little more rigorously last season despite finishing nine points clear of second-placed Napoli.
After becoming the first club in Italy to have private ownership of their own stadium, coupled with their return to the top of Serie A and performances in Europe, they have been able to significantly improve an already impressive squad this summer.
Despite already boasting three Italian international defenders in their starting line-up, they added another last month after signing 25-year-old Angelo Ogbonna from city rivals Torino.
Ogbonna is widely recognised as one of the most promising defenders in Italy, and given the fact that he is set to enter the peak years of his career he will undoubtedly prove to be a valuable asset for Antonio Conte moving forward.
In addition, the Old Lady already possesses one of the most impressive midfield trios in European football, with the “MVP” combination of Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo. However, having secured the Under-20 World Cup this summer after a strong debut season in Italy last year, much more is expected of Paul Pogba in both the short and long term.
While both Ogbonna and Pogba arguably deserve a spot in the starting line-up, their inclusion provides Conte with flexibility as well as a selection headache.
One of Juve’s strengths this season will be their ability to switch tactics, with Chiellini adept at being switched to left back to accommodate Ogbonna, thus reverting to a back-four, while allowing an extra man in midfield, Pogba.
Meanwhile, after being eliminated from the Champions League by eventual winners Bayern Munich last year, much was made of Juventus taking the “next step” this summer in order to become competitive in Europe.
The club hierarchy responded with the double signing of Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez, although the Spaniard had an agreement to move to Turin back in January after deciding to leave Bilbao.
Nevertheless, the arrival of Tevez signals the intention of the Bianconeri, as they look to translate their domestic dominance to the European stage. While the Champions League will certainly be one of their main objectives this season, Conte has both the quality and depth in his squad to challenge on all three fronts.
Their main summer transfer activity appears to have sensibly already been concluded, although director Beppe Marotta hinted last week that they can’t afford to keep six quality strikers in the squad.
With impending sales ahead they could yet re-enter the market to strengthen further, but whether or not that is the case they are rightly regarded as the favourites for the Scudetto next season.
Probable line-up in Serie A this season (3-5-2):