Ah yes, on to Serie A, which gets going this weekend! Here are some questions to ponder for the upcoming season, along with possibly true answers:
So, who's going to win it?
Um, you need to say a little bit more, I think.
Oh. Well, as the offseason transfer market got going, I not only had Inter down as champions, but thought they would probably have the title in the bag by about Christmas. Unlike, well, every other team in Serie A, they had actually succeeded in bringing in some major talent, in the person of Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o. Now... I still think they'll win it, but they may find themselves pushed by Juventus, who've very quietly made some good acquisitions this summer.
Ok, what about the other Champions' League spots?
This is where it gets exciting! Much though I don't want to, I've got to put AC Milan down for third place. Yes, they've lost their best player, as Kaka betook himself off to Real Madrid. Yes, Philippe Senderos went back to Arsenal. Yes, their owner is a lunatic who's prone to public criticism of his coaches. However, they've got too much talent, and too much money for reinforcements.
After that, though, things get really interesting, as a large handful of clubs will have their eyes on the last Champions' spot. Fiorentina, Roma, and Napoli probably have the best shot at it, but if those three stumble then Udinese, Sampdoria, Lazio, and maybe even Genoa and Palermo will all be looking to take advantage. I think, in the end, that it could be Roma's turn this season. They're still relying too much on Francesco Totti, but Fiorentina didn't do much in the transfer market, and Napoli, who did make some useful pickups, are involved in acrimonious wrangling with their top striker.
Passing lightly over the middle of the table then, who's going down?
Bari, for starters. The newly-promoted Puglians did nothing to strengthen their side, and just plain look over-matched. As for the other two... well, it saddens me, but I'm once again looking at Siena as relegation fodder (Note that I was wrong about them last time, though). And I've got a bad feeling about Bologna, who are experiencing some chaos behind the scenes, and who's centenary season may turn out to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.
And here's the prospective final table: