The FourFourTwo Season Preview 2015/16: Serie A
Tussle for the title
Last summer Roma believed it was going to be their year only to finish runners-up again and disappoint. Dzeko, however, could well be the missing piece to the puzzle just as Gabriel Batistuta was before their last title in 2000/01. After satisfying his many demands, Roberto Mancini no longer has any excuses at Inter. At the very least he has to deliver Champions League football, as does Sinisa Mihajlovic at Milan. Both are playing high stakes poker. Napoli, meanwhile, have flown under the radar but merit consideration as legitimate outsiders after filling holes in their team, hanging on to Gonzalo Higuain and replacing Rafa Benitez with Maurizio Sarri.
Juventus have more than one pretender to their throne. They have bought well after losing Andrea Pirlo, Tevez and Arturo Vidal. The Old Lady is rejuvenated but all transitions are delicate. Even so, a foundation of Gigi Buffon, the BBC and Claudio Marchisio is the strongest in Serie A. They remain favourites to win a record equalling fifth straight Scudetto but, make no mistake, this will be closest title race in years.
Battle at the bottom
Expect the unexpected. Surprise high fliers one season tend to fall hard and fast the next. Think Samp in 2012, Palermo in 2013, Catania in 2014 and Parma last term. Will it be Samp again or maybe even Genoa this time? Recall how Atalanta also flirted with relegation last season. Empoli should struggle as well after losing Sarri, Rugani and Mirko Valdifiori, the Pirlo of the provinces. Cinderella stories Carpi and Frosinone, both of whom are top flight debutants, are hoping to emulate Chievo and Sassuolo in establishing themselves in Serie A. It’s likely one will stay up along with play-off winners Bologna, who in millionaire Joey Saputo have the backing to survive and the goals of Mattia Destro, too.