Seria A: Teams to watch out for

Sep 09, 2011, 08:31 IST | Agencies

With the Serie A set to kick off today, MiD DAY takes a look at the most promising contenders to wear the Italian crown this season

With the Serie A set to kick off today, MiD DAY takes a look at the most promising contenders to wear the Italian crown this season

AC Milan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The defending champions will be keen to hold on to the Serie A summit having finally broken Inter Milan's five year reign as champions. Boasting of players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Alexandre Pato in their ranks Milan are assured to treat their fans with plenty of goals. But at the same time signings of Phillipe Mexes and Taye Taiwo ensures ample cover at the back. Milan look the strongest contenders for the Italian crown this season. The  depth and variety in Massimiliano Allegri's squad also gives the Italians a chance to stake a serious stake for the European Champions League title. 

Last year's standing: No 1
Manager: Massimiliano Allegri
Key signings: Alberto Aquilani (Liverpool), Taye Taiwo (Marseille), Phillipe Mexes (Roma).
Key exits: Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)

Inter Milan
Inter Milan won five Serie A titles under Roberto Mancini and Jose Mourinho. The latter took them to the pinnacle of success with a treble in the 2009-10 season that saw them win the Champions League. But since the Portuguese tactician's departure for Real Madrid, the blue half of Milan have struggled to find stability having changed two managers in more than just a year. Also, the sale of Samuel Eto'o looked to leave a hole in the Inter squad but Gian Piero Gasperini found a more than able replacement in Uruguayan talisman Diego Forlan. Also Inter succeeded in keeping Wesley Sneijder  who was linked with a move to Manchester United. Inter look the strongest contenders to ruffle favourites AC Milan.       

Last year's standings: No 2
Manager: Gian Piero Gasperini
Key signings: Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid), Mauro Zarate (Lazio).
Key exits: Samuel Eto'o (Anzhi Makhachkala).

The Old Lady fans will be disappointed with the business the Turin outfit did in the transfer market.
Juventus failed to fulfill the promise of signing a marquee centre forward now that Alessandro Del Piero is nearing the end of a glorious career. They did buy Mirko Vucinic though, and also an ageing midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo. Juventus, who have won 27 league titles, will provide tough competition to AC Milan but their squad does not seem competitive enough.    

Last year's standings: No 7
Manager: Antonio Conte
Key signings: Mirko Vucinic (Roma), Andrea Pirlo (AC Milan), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Lazio), Arturo Vidal (Bayer Leverkusen).
Key exits: Sebastian Giovinco (Parma).

AS Roma
Roma have undergone a total revamp after appointing Barcelona B team coach Luis Enrique as manager. The Roman outfit have made plenty signings under their new manager and will look to challenge AC Milan for the title forgetting all about last season's dismal sixth placed finish.

Last year's standings: No 1
Manager: Luis Enrique
Key signings: Bojan Krkic (Barcelona), Fernando Gago (Real Madrid), Eric Lamela (River Plate), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Miralem Pjanic (Lyon), Simon Kjaer (Wolfsburg).
Key exits: Phillipe Mexes (AC Milan), Mirko Vucinic (Juventus).

Lazio were the surprise package last season pipping Roma to the fifth spot earning a place in the Europa League. This season Lazio look strong even after selling key players. The signing of German goalpoacher Miroslav Klose gives them a n all new dimension.

Last year's standings: No 5
Manager: Eduardo Reja
Key signings: Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos)
Key exits: Mauro Zarate (Inter)

Napoli took Serie A by storm with a third placed finish last season. Walter Mazzari's side made good use of the transfer window, signing Gokhan Inler and Inter's Goran Pandev to strengthen their squad. But their true victory is keeping last year's heroes Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamsik tied with the club.

Last year's standings: No 3
Manager: Walter Mazzari
Key signings: Goran Pandev (Inter Milan), Gokhan Inler (Udinese).
Key exits: Manuele Blasi (Parma), Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus), 

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