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2011-12 Italian Serie A Season Preview: AC Milan Football To Repeat

The 2011-12 Italy Serie A season is set to get started, and we are going to break down the teams that have a legitimate chance of claiming the Scudetto this year, as well as which teams are really going to struggle that could be looking at the drop to Serie B.

Where else could we possibly start than in Milan, where both AC Milan and Inter Milan are going to hope to continue their domination of this league. These two have won a whopping 36 Scudetto titles between them, as each has 18 titles. AC finally broke a string of five straight Inter Milan championships last year by picking up 82 points. Inter did finish as the runner up, and now that it has kept Wesley Sneijder and avoided his move to the English Premier League, the Milan side is definitely going to be a team to beat in 2011-12. Inter was rocked at the end of the transfer season though, when Samuel Eto’o was signed by Anzhi Makhchkala, which is why we tend to give the edge to AC Milan football club as the league’s champ for 2011-12.

Napoli was a shocking third place finisher last season, qualifying for the Champions League this year. This is the first time that this team has finished in the Top 3 in Italian soccer since claiming the title in 1991-92.

One of the more dangerous sides this year might be Udinese. It has had the top scorer in Italian Serie A in back to back seasons in the form of Antonio Di Natale, and he could be the driving force to get this team back in the Top 5 once again this season. Udinese had a head start on this season with its home and home affair with Arsenal to get into the Champions League, but it failed and will end up in the Europa League this year instead. Still, this is a squad that clearly has some dangerous pieces, and it could be a Top 3 candidate this year if it can pick up nine wins on the road again this season like it did last year.

The question is whether Juventes is really going to post a comeback this season. Signing Gianluigi Buffon for essentially the rest of his career was key for Juve in the offseason, but now it must rebuild around him to try to make yet another run at the Scudetto. This was a team that was crippled after it had to relinquish the 2004-05 and 2005-06 titles that it won, what would have been its league best 28th and 29th championships. After spending a year in Serie B, Juve came back to the top flight to finish in the Top 3 in back to back seasons, but since then, it has dropped to 7th both in 2009-10 and in 2010-11.

Meanwhile at the other end of the table, those teams that just barely avoided the drop last season are going to likely be sweating bullets once again this year.

Sure, Bologna, Lecce, and Cesena all survived by plenty of points, but this year, there might not be all that much to kick around at the bottom of the table as there was last year with Bari and Brescia, especially. Bologna probably did the best job of staying in Serie A for this season, but it has lost Manager Alberto Malesani to Genoa, another team that could be fighting the drop even though it finished in a comfortable 10th place last year.

Cagliari could have some troubles this year as well after sacking Manager Roberto Donadoni. It was the end of a tumultuous offseason for this side, which sold off arguably its best player, Alessandro Matri to Juventes.

The teams coming up from Serie B should all have their issues just staying alive this season, though Serie B champs, Atalanta might be better off having taken the drop and having gotten a winning spirit once again. Novara hasn’t been in Italian Serie A since 1956, but it finally has made it back to the top flight after winning the promotion playoff last year in Serie B. This won’t be an easy season to stay alive in though, as the team is really strapped financially and didn’t make a ton of notable moves. We tend to think that this will be the last place finisher this year, thus getting relegated right back to Serie B.

Posted in Featured, Serie A (Italy)

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