Italian football doesn’t always get the credit it deserves particularly from English football fans, with people enchanted by the ‘best league in the world’ in the Premier League and the glitz and glamour of Spain's La Liga stealing the limelight somewhat.
The 2014/15 Serie A season however is one of the most interesting in recent years as Juventus and AS Roma scrap it out over the title. Here is a bit of a rundown of the main talking points of the campaign so far.
Last season’s Scudetto winners Juventus lost their inspirational coach over the summer. Antonio Conte walked away from the helm at the Turin club which he will always be synonymous with to take over the Italian national team, the next logical step. Conte felt that he had hit a glass ceiling that he could not break through, without significant investment which was not forthcoming from the upper echelons of the Bianconeri. He felt that he had accomplished all he could domestically, (which is unquestionable) three back to back Scudetto’s and new records for league points and consecutive home wins. However, in Europe his side always seemed to struggle and so that leaves a black mark against his time at the club, something which would obviously frustrate Conte himself.
This season the Italian giants are managed by Massimiliano Allegri, the former AC Milan coach who massively divides opinion. He won the title in his first season as Milan manager however there is a debate as to what manager would not manage to win that league with Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva in their team and Juventus still in transition. His later years at the Rossoneri were unsuccessful and disappointing with fan frustration boiling over and constant rumours that he was one loss away from the axe which eventually came.
This appointment was somewhat controversial as there seemed to be more convincing candidates however Allegri got the job and that was the end of that. His side have begun their season in fine form with five wins from five games including a tough game away at Allegri’s old club Milan.
Lots of people have pointed out that Allegri has been handed a poisoned chalice by taking the hot seat at The Old Lady as it would be nigh on impossible to improve on what Antonio Conte produced in his spell at the club without serious progress in Europe.
His first transfer window seems to have been fairly positive as he cut off some of the deadwood from the squad in the form of Quagliarella, De Cegile and others. He also brought in experienced veteran left-back Patrice Evra from United who seems to have slotted in well at wing-back and Alvaro Morata who has bags of potential to replace Carlos Tevez who isn’t getting any younger.
It has been a solid start from Juventus this season and they look like strong front-runners, however, they now face a fierce new rival in Roma who I will be surveying next week.