The Serie A fixture list was released last week, and the first match day of the campaign offers up the chance for an early look at how the races for the scudetto and European places could take shape.
Jose Mourinho may say he doesn’t care about the fixture list, but it certainly has handed him a tough debut, as Inter Milan will open their title defense with a trip to Sampdoria. Inter only managed a 1-1 draw in their league tie at Sampdoria last season, and if they can only get a point right out of the gate, it could put them in an early hole behind some of their fellow title challengers.
While a lot of eyes will be on Genoa for Mourinho’s debut, the fixture of the weekend looks to be Juventus’ trip to Fiorentina. Fiorentina have spent big this summer, splashing â‚¬15m on AC Milan striker Alberto Gilardino, â‚¬13m on Almeria midfielder Felipe Melo, â‚¬11m for Catania defender Juan Manuel Vargas, and â‚¬8m for Montenegrin forward Stefan Jovetic, and they’ve also further bolstered their defense with the signings of Lazio’s Luciano Zauri and Torino’s Gianluca Comotto.
While AC Milan and Juventus have definitely strengthened their squads and should, as usual, make a serious run at the Serie A crown, and Inter have made some quality additions in Mancini, Sulley Muntari and ‘The Special One,’ Fiorentina are poised to be a major player in the hunt. Starting their campaign with three points against Juve will be an excellent indicator of their potential to be a force.
None of the title challengers have it easy on the first weekend, to be honest. Roma and AC Milan get to start the season in the friendly confines of home, but Napoli (at Roma) is expected to challenge for at least a UEFA Cup berth, and newly-promoted Bologna are going to come out high on confidence and intent on making a splash in their return to Serie A.
Here’s the full fixture list for the season if you’d like to look it over. Not only do Inter have the tough opening trip to Sampdoria, they also have to face Roma and Fiorentina away from home within the first ten matches of the campaign, along with the first of two league derbies against AC Milan.
Their road to a fourth consecutive Serie A title won’t be easy, but then again, it doesn’t appear that way for any of the other title challengers. So, if you see the table looking a little funny after the first weekend, don’t be alarmed!