The Lega Serie A have confirmed the dates for the new league season, which begins on September 19, 2020, and end May 21, 2021. An announcement from Serie A’s governing body read: “The League Council met today at 19.00. It unanimously resolved that the Serie A TIM 2020/2021 will begin on the weekend of 19-20 September. The decision confirms the preference already expressed in the afternoon by the majority of the clubs in a meeting dedicated to this theme.”
Juventus may have clinched their ninth consecutive Scudetto last season but signs that perhaps their nearest challengers are closing in on them were evident as the Old Lady failed to exert the full dominance we have become accustomed to. They recorded their lowest points tally since the first of their nine-year streak as well as their smallest title-winning margin (one point) in that run. Add the fact that they conceded the most goals of any Serie A champions in 61 years and it becomes clear that they barely limped over the line last season.
Going into next season, the teams behind them would have been encouraged by what they saw last season and will use that as a springboard to compete with Juventus. Andrea Pirlo will be managing in his first season as a senior manager next season and will hope to not only restore Juve’s complete dominance domestically but also take them a step further in Europe. He will, however, face more competition than most of his predecessors.
Inter finished second last season and only one point behind Juventus. However, Antonio Conte’s statement towards the end of the season showed that he and his side are hungry for more. He described finishing second as the “first for losers” after a 0-0 draw with Fiorentina last month. “Second place is meaningless in my eyes, it’s just first for losers,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia post-game. “Some settle for that, but not me. I don’t want my players to settle for that either.” The Nerazzurri have probably their best team in a decade and will be expected to push Juventus as hard as they did in the just-concluded season. A victory in today’s Europa League final against Sevilla would certainly do them a world of good in that regard.
For most of last season, Lazio was Juventus’ closest challenger but a dismal run of five wins in the last twelve games post lockdown meant they had to settle for the fourth position. However, they finished just five points behind the eventual winners and will go into next season with full confidence that they can usurp the Old Lady and break the monotony that has existed for almost a decade now. Ciro Immobile had a season to remember as he won both the Serie Golden Boot and the European Golden Shoe. If he performs anywhere close to this level next season, then Simone Inzaghi’s men will be no pushovers in the race for the Scudetto.
The Bergamo outfit served up a reminder of how much improvement can be made in a small span of time. They played in the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history this season. After picking up a point in the first four, early elimination looked like a formality but they rallied in the last two games and were only minutes away from the semifinal. Their European adventure was however not the only thing that caught the eye last season. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men were also excellent in the league, scoring 98 goals and losing just six games (one fewer than Juventus’ seven). They are certainly one to look out for next season.