- Italy’s Serie A kicks off at the weekend
- Verona favorites for the drop
- The other promoted teams, Lecce and Brescia, also in the frame
It all kicks off in Italy this Saturday, when champions Juventus go to Parma for the Serie A season opener on August 24, 2019, at 12:00 pm EST. Juve are red-hot favorites to win the title yet again, but at the other end of the table, it is much harder to call.
Serie A 2019/20 – Odds to Be Relegated
*Odds taken 8/22/19
The three teams promoted, Verona, Lecce and Brescia, are all in odds-on territory to be sent back down, but is it really as simple as betting on all three to be relegated, or is there a better bet somewhere else? I’ll have a look at the runners and riders.
The bookies are basing their odds on the fact Verona finished last season in fifth place in Serie B – a whopping 15 points behind the winners, Brescia and 14 behind second-placed Lecce – but they have earned their place in Serie A by doing it the hard way.
A preliminary round win in a one-off tie with eighth-placed Perugia was followed up with a two-legged semifinal win over Pescara, and a thrilling playoff final win over Cittadella, with Verona overturning a 2-0 deficit from the first leg to win 3-2 on aggregate.
Hellas #Verona have been officially promoted after spending just one season in #SerieB , thanks to their comeback win over #Cittadella tonight, despite sacking their Coach in May https://t.co/O9lluczxC9 #SerieA #VERCIT #HellasVerona pic.twitter.com/CGPgxXHO6w
— footballitalia (@footballitalia) June 2, 2019
A very busy summer in Verona has seen with no fewer than 19 new faces arriving, nine for a fee, seven on loan and three free transfers. If these new players are quickly integrated and able to settle, relegation is by no means a certainty.
The Giallorossi have also seen changes aplenty over the summer; not on a Verona scale but still with 13 new faces. After finishing well ahead of Verona and only a point behind Serie B winners, Brescia, they have worked on the basis of adding to their squad rather than rebuilding their team.
— TNC Football ⚽️ (@TNC_Football) May 12, 2019
A tight defense will be key to their survival chances and two new full-backs and a centre-back are among their summer buys, so it will be important they settle quickly.
A tough season awaits, but to build on last season’s success and not lose that momentum will be important to their survival chances.
The Serie B winners will, like Lecce, be looking to build on last season’s success and use that promotion ‘bounce’, but they have also spent 13 million euros over the summer.
CB: Romagnoli(Brescia): Brescia's captain for most of the season, he only missed a single game and was consistently solid at the back for the champions. His leadership helped the younger, more creative players around him blossom into the finest attack in Serie B this season. pic.twitter.com/WRg7IMC1n9
— Peter Pankovski (@FRcalcioPeter) May 15, 2019
Their two big outlays have been on Jesse Joronen, a Danish goalkeeper, for five million euros and Jaromir Zmrhal, a Czech midfielder for nearly four million.
Another team that is in for a tough season but who have what it takes to survive if they can get off to a good start.
It’s been a summer of massive change at Parma with a large-scale overhaul of the squad. Last season they made their return to Serie A after fighting their way back through the fourth, third and second tiers of Italian football after a dramatic fall from grace.
Official: Hernani joins on loan Parma from Zenit St. Petersburg pic.twitter.com/ZfmsVEyaJw
— Christopher Riiv (@ChristopherRiiv) July 9, 2019
And the Gialloblu had a good season last after some good work in the transfer market with big signings such as Gervinho and Roberto Inglese. They surprised many with their style of play.
They are now looking to consolidate and more, with signings like Hernani from Zenit St. Petersburg and Yann Karamoh from Inter. Rather than fighting relegation, they will be looking for a top-eight finish.
Last season was one to forget in the Grifone, and they retained their Serie A status by the narrowest of margins. They only survived courtesy of a superior head-to-head record with Empoli, with both teams having finished level on points.
But a very eye-catching summer in the transfer market looks to have strengthened Genoa, with Cristian Zapata’s arrival on a free from AC Milan adding some much-needed experience and leadership at the heart of their defence.
More of the same and Genoans will be gone but if the new signings click, a mid-table finish is achievable.
As one of Serie A’s smaller clubs, SPAL has done well in recent seasons to become established as Serie A regulars, with manager Leonardo Semplici doing well to improve the team season-on-season. They will be hoping to take another step forward in 2019/20.
"They work hard, tend to be well organised and make life difficult for anyone who visits the Paolo Mazza."
— ForzaItalianFootball (@SerieAFFC) August 22, 2019
It hasn’t been an easy summer for the Ferraresi though and it’s been more about players departing than coming in. Established players like Mirco Antenucci, Manuel Lazzari and Pasquale Schiattarella have left and these are not easy players to replace. It could be a tough one.
Manager Rolando Maran has been backed in the summer transfer market and is under pressure from the Cagliari hierarchy to improve their fortunes this time around. Another 15th place will simply be deemed not good enough.
En su vuelta al Cagliari, el 'Ninja' debe asumir sí o sí el rol de futbolista clave. Llegará desde segunda línea, incorporarse mucho al ataque y le va a dar un plus a la sala de máquinas de Maran. Busca recuperar su mejor nivel y está en el sitio adecuado. pic.twitter.com/Ie21Gtx9KV
— Adrián Soria (@adrsoria) August 22, 2019
Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan has returned to the Sardegna Arena and will definitely bolster the midfield that is now without the talents of youngster Barella. Also in midfield, Nahitan Nandez from Boca Juniors and Fabrizio Cacciatore from Verona have been added to the squad.
On paper at least, this looks a stronger Cagliari squad.
My picks: Verona, Lecce and SPAL to be relegated