Serie A 2013-14 season previews: Juventus the title favorites

Paolo Bruno

Juve reinforced an already strong side with smart transfer moves, while the rest of Serie A still lags a few paces behind. Is there any wonder they're being tipped to win their third straight scudetto?

Juventus have already been crowned the presumptive scudetto winners. Rather than losing their best players, which happens to most Italian sides, the Old Lady have retained last season's starters and the majority of their bench. On top of that, they've added two strikers with success in other leagues, and supplemented their already strong defense with a new center back. They'll have Antonio Conte on the bench for the entire season (presumably) and while his style remains essentially the same from week to week, he's moved away from the conservatism seen in his first season in Turin.

Then you have the competition from the rest of the league. Napoli, second place last season, has a new man on the bench and has lost their top scorer. AC Milan have yet to make any significant moves to shore up a wobbly defense. Walter Mazzarri joining Inter Milan will likely lift them up the table, but the squad he's assembled seems unlikely to mount a title challenge. Fiorentina, really, might be best positioned, retaining Vincenzo Montella and the core of their squad while making smart additions, but a scudetto still looks out of reach.

So with no true competition from inside the league, and a talented squad reinforced rather than dismantled over the summer, is it any wonder they've been already been crowned by most?

Last Season

Juventus didn't make the final of the Coppa Italia and failed to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League. What failures.

Who's Gone?

Emanuele Giaccherini: Finally learned to spell his name and the midfielder takes off to Sunderland. He'll join Paolo Di Canio's revolution at the Stadium of Light after two seasons with the Old Lady.

Felipe Melo: Rejoice, Juve fans! After two seasons spent on loan at Turkish side Galatasaray, the midfielder's move has finally been made permanent. It must be due to that penalty he saved after Fernando Muslera had been sent off.

Who's In?

Fernando Llorente: Juve snagged their man back in January, but Athletic Bilbao were unwilling to let him go until the end of the season. But thanks to the return of Aritz Aduriz, and a falling out with manager Marcelo Biesla, the forward was primarily used off the bench. The bianconeri seem confident he can return to his 2011-12 form, when he scored 17 goals in 32 league appearances.

Carlos Tévez: After his antics at Manchester City -- seeking a transfer, refusing to come on as a substitute, an extended stay in Argentina -- it was clear that the striker was on his way out of the club. Juventus came as a bit of a surprise, but if the club can calm his wild instincts, they'll benefit from his production on the pitch. And if they can't, well, that's what the Juve midfield is for.

Angelo Ogbonna: The center back's performances with Torino in Serie B were so impressive that he received a senior callup from Cesare Prandelli. But his first season in Serie A was hampered by two lengthy injury layoffs, resulting in just 22 league appearances. Based on limited preseason appearances, Ogbonna looks healthy and set to slot into Serie A's most stingy defense.

Keep An Eye On

Paul Pogba. A question that might never be answered: why did Manchester United ever let Pogba go? The midfielder is just twenty years old, but it's clear that he has the potential to be one of the best in the world. It seemed this season he'd challenge for a starting role at the Old Lady, but thanks to an injury that will keep Claudio Marchisio out for the first few weeks, Pogba will get a chance to prove himself early on -- if he hasn't already. Less than two minutes after replacing Marchisio during the Supercoppa, Pogba's strength and agility allowed him to turn, receive a pass, turn, and score. He's quite the player to watch, provided he's not playing your club.

Predicted Finish

Lifting the scudetto. Getting to the Champions League quarterfinals. Reaching the Coppa Italia final, just to prove they can compete on three fronts. Being: Juventus.

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