In the last post that featured something about the Italian Serie A on this blog, we made mention of how the announcement of the 2017/2018 Serie A schedule came a little later than fans were expecting – actually, it came a week later than was scheduled.
With the league set to kick off in just a few days from now, all that is water under the bridge now for fans of Italian football. The anticipation is at its peak and fans can wait to see the regulars take to the pitch while they anticipate the performances of the various new signings.
Speaking of new signings, AC Milan’s summer shopping spree is no longer a secret. Juventus let one of their best defenders – Leonardo Bonucci – go as they renamed their stadium and handed Paulo Dybala the No. 10 jersey. Then they kicked off their campaign by losing the Supercoppa Italiana to SS Lazio, a side they had previously beaten 10 consecutive times.
Maybe that’s a sign of things to come this Serie A season. And while we’ll get to how it can shape the way events will play out this season, let’s quickly touch on the Spanish La Liga.
The biggest news out of Spanish football this summer has to be the “disintegration” of the MSN Gang. That’s not to relegate Real Madrid’s UEFA Super Cup win to the bottom of the list. But hey, it’ll be hard to find any football story in the world that beats the sale of Neymar to French giants, PSG, for a fee more than double the price Manchester United paid for the now-second most-expensive football player, Paul Pogba.
While Costa is still holding out for a reunion with Diego Simeone and Atletico Madrid, the penalty king moved from Valencia and there was the signing of a certain Brazilian from the Chinese Super League. May sound quiet compared to all the buzz in the Premier League, but it’s about to get noisy in Spanish cities this coming weekend.
So, what can you expect from these two leagues as a football fan?
- The Race For the Top 2
Unlike in the Premier League where as many as 6 clubs are being touted as title contenders, the same cannot be said about both the Serie A and the La Liga. You probably know this too, right?
In Italy, It’s been Juventus, and then every other Italian football club. Clubs like AS Roma and Napoli came close last season but none so close as to rattling the Old Lady. As mentioned earlier, clubs can look at Juve’s loss to Lazio in the Supercoppa and see something to be positive about.
But then again, it’ll basically be Juventus and any other interested clubs vying for the top spot in the Serie A this new season.
Moving over to the Spanish La Liga, for the umpteenth time, it’ll be a two-way race between Real Madrid and Barcelona – although we’re secretly hoping that a break from the norm will occur this year. This leaves clubs like Atletico Madrid, Villarreal and Sevilla scrambling for either the remaining Champions League spots or a place in the Europa League.
- Names to Look Out For
In both leagues, we can expect to see magic from both football gods – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – and a living legend like Gigi Buffon. But what other names should you look out for this new season?
In Italy, you can as well watch out for the entire AC Milan team and the side coached by Simeone Inzaghi, SS Lazio. With the way the former has performed in the UEFA Europa qualifiers so far and the Supercoppa Italiana win by the latter, these are two teams full of talent you should watch out for.
In Spain, while you keep an eye on Antonio Griezzman and 36-year old Aritz Aduriz, keep the other on Zidane’s crop of youngsters, namely Lucas Vasquez and Marco Asensio – who has so far scored five goals in five debuts.
You can as well expect to see amazing goals week in, week out as these two leagues progress over time. For those not sure what the opening day schedule looks like, here’s it:
- Juventus Turin VS Cagliari Calcio
- Hellas Verona VS SSC Napoli
- US Sassuolo VS Genoa FC
- Udinese Calcio VS AC Chievo Verona
- Lazio Roma VS Spal 2013
- Inter Milan VS ACF Fiorentina
- Sampdoria Genoa VS Benevento Calcio
- Bologna FC VS Turin FC
- Atalanta Bergamasca VS AS Roma
- FC Crotone VS AC Milan
- Athletic Bilbao Getafe
- Barcelona vs. Real Betis
- Celta Vigo vs. Real Sociedad
- Deportivo vs. Real Madrid
- Girona vs. Atletico Madrid
- Leganes vs. Alaves
- Levante vs. Villarreal
- Malaga vs. Eibar
- Sevilla vs. Espanyol
- Valencia vs. Las Palmas
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