Welcome to the 2nd of our 3-part preview to the upcoming season of the Italian Serie A and our focus is on the teams who will most likely be in the battle for the 4 champions league spots and the 3 Europa league slots.
As far as the Champions league is concerned, Juventus and Napoli are the two most certain qualifiers simply based on recent history and squad strength, it would be a massive shock if either of these teams are not in the top 4 by matchday 38.
With two of the four slots already taken, that leaves Inter, Roma, Atalanta, AC Milan, Torino and Sampdoria as the realistic contenders for the remaining two slots.
Best of the rest
Inter Milan are my personal favorites to qualify alongside Napoli and Juvetus due to the kind of pre-season they have had with the appointment of serial winner, Antonio Conte and some impressive summer signings headlined by the prolific Romelu Lukaku.
The Nerrazurri finished fourth under Luciano Spalletti last season but Antonio Conte has been very ruthless in reshaping the squad by letting go of last season’s marquee signing, Radja Naingollan and freezing out Mauro Icardi from the squad.
The last champions league spot in no particular order will most likely be taken by Milan who have been massively underrated by a lot of experts which could work in their favor.
The Rossonerri have been chasing a champions league spot for years now and they keep falling short but I think this is the year they finally clinch it.
They have managed to keep the core of the squad that narrowly failed to qualify for the Champions league last season, while also recruiting smartly.
Milan also have an European ban for this season which rules them out from participating in the Europa league meaning there are no distractions and with Krystof Piatek set to start his first full season at the San Siro, he should fire them to at least a fourth place finish.
Europa League spots
Atalanta surprised everybody by finishing 3rd on the league last season, but Gian Piero Gasperini’s men are unlikely to match the lofty heights of last season and will most likely settle for an Europa league spot by May.
Roma are one of those teams you never really know what to expect from and coupled with the fact that they have a new man at the helm in Paolo Fonseca, the Giallorossi might just defy this prediction and qualify for the Champions league.
Although strictly based on the performance of last season and the recruitment they have been able to pull off, it’s hard to see them doing better than an Europa league spot.
That leaves Torino and Sampdoria in a straight battle for the final European slot which I think Torino will get simply because they are a better team with a better manager in Walter Mazzarri.
Sampdoria might miss out on an European spot which automatically places them in Mid-table alongside teams like Sassuolo, Genoa and Fiorentina who we expect to be much better this time around after nearly getting relegated last season.
However our football views May differ, one thing we can all agree on is the fact that it’s hard to predict, so all of the above could be completely wrong, but it’s all in good fun, and a precursor to the excitement to expect from the best league in the world.
Written by Tunde Young Akinloye