The masterful dominance of Juventus Football Club in Italian football was pretty much unbreakable in the last decade. Serie A is yet to have a winner other than the Old Lady since the 2010-11 campaign. Many football experts and fans had suggested that Italian football had declined in the last decade because of non-existent competitiveness. Teams like AC Milan, Inter Milan and Napoli had to do the continuous job of rebuilding after losing key players throughout the 2010s era.
In the 2000s, the Serie A had 4 teams which won the league. Inter Milan won it 5 times, Juventus won it twice, and AC Milan and Roma won it once. On the contrary, the number of winners decreased to just 2 in the following decade. Juventus clinched the title 9 times and AC Milan triumphed once. It is valid to say that Serie A had become much more one-sided and had lost its charm and popularity because of the same.
However, in the last few years, teams such as Inter Milan, Napoli and Lazio have done a great job by climbing up the table and giving Juventus a good competition. For instance, there was a difference of just one point between Juventus and the runners-up Inter Milan last season. Even in 2016-17 and 2017-18, Juventus had a difference of only 4 points between the runners-up (Roma in 2016-17 and Napoli in 2017-18). This shows that the gap is being narrowed and the other sides are ready to fight for the title to take over the throne from Juventus.
We have picked Napoli and Inter Milan as the main title challengers since we believe that they have the best squads to put Juventus’ dominance to a halt.
A closer look at Napoli
After two great campaigns in 2017-18 and 2018-19, Napoli had a disappointing time in the league last season. Carlo Ancelotti was sacked after a poor run and Gennaro Gattusso was appointed as his successor. Gattuso managed to salvage a 7th place finish and also won the Italian Cup by beating Juventus in the final.
This season, though, Napoli have had a great start in the league. They have won 4 of their first 5 league games, with an impressive 6-0 win against Genoa being one of them.
Napoli also have a good squad depth to fight against fatigue and injuries. This will prove to be very important since they are in the Europa League this season. There is quality in almost every position. They have got a great young goalkeeper in Alex Meret. Kalidou Koulibaly is one of the best centre-backs in the league. Fabian Ruiz’s creativity and Piotr Zielinski’s energy provide an excellent balance in midfield. The attacking prowess of Lorenzo Insigne, Hirving Lozano and Victor Osimhen can prove to be very lethal.
Can Inter Milan make more progress this season?
After winning the treble back in 2010, Inter had a tough few seasons, recovering from the departure of all the match-winning players. The Nerazzurri have re-established themselves into Champions League regulars in the last couple of seasons.
Antonio Conte made some great progress last season. He was very close to win the Serie A and the Europa League. His side finished 2nd, just a point behind Juventus. Inter have started this season decently, currently lying 5th in the table with 11 points from the first 6 league games.
Besides signing a young Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, Conte added some more experience to the squad by signing Arturo Vidal, Aleksander Kolarov, Matteo Darmian and Alexis Sanchez.
Inter’s squad consists of players from all age groups. From young players and players at their peak level to the experienced veterans, Inter have a perfectly balanced squad when it comes to age. There should not be any issue regarding the squad depth either. Just like Napoli, all the positions in Inter’s squad are filled with quality. Stefan de Vrij and Milan Skriniar make a great defence together. Marcelo Brozovic, Nico Barella and Christian Eriksen form a well-balanced midfield. Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez showed glimpses of great chemistry up front last season. They are expected to keep up the good work this season too.
The only downside of the squad is that Conte failed to sign a replacement for the centre-back Diego Godin. The Uruguayan signed for Cagliari in the transfer window. But other than that, Inter should still be able to challenge for the league title this season.