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Serie A Title Race: Max Allegri, Jose Mourinho and Maurizio Sarri return but can Gian Piero Gasperini claim the spoils?

He's Back: Jose Mourinho's Roma are 18/1 for the title
He's Back: Jose Mourinho's Roma are 18/1 for the title

It’s been a seismic summer of change over in the Serie A Sack Race.

Manager musical chairs has been the name of the game in Italy with a gargantuan 12 clubs opting for a new face in the dugout, including eight of last season’s top-10 teams. For comparison, the Premier League witnessed just four changes since the conclusion of last term, although three of those searches were exhaustive.

Max Allegri is back at Juventus seeking his seventh Scudetto, Antonio Conte left Inter Milan who then lured over Simone Inzaghi from Lazio; I Biancocelesti then plucked Maurizio Sarri out of the Job Centre.

Jose Mourinho returned to Italy with Roma, Alessio Dionisi will be looking to carry on the work of Roberto De Zerbi at Sassuolo, and Luciano Spalletti replaced Gennaro Gattuso at Napoli. Speaking of Gattuso, he was then appointed manager of Fiorentina, only to leave after 23 days, with Vincenzo Italiano coming over in his place.

We've seen three different managers lift the Serie A title in the last three seasons - Allegri, Sarri, and Conte - although no other manager has won the league in the last 11 years. Will we see a new king crowned this season?

Below, we take a look at seven of the main title contenders in the betting ahead of the big kick-off this weekend…

Max Allegri has returned to Juventus
Max Allegri has returned to Juventus

Juventus: Max Allegri

Title Odds: 5/6, Betway

The Andrea Pirlo experiment failed as Juventus failed to win the title for the first time in 10 years, meaning they’ve returned to a familiar face, Max Allegri, following a two-year absence.

Allegri led the Old Lady to five consecutive league and cup doubles, a couple of Supercoppa Italianas, and two Champions League finals. 

His winning mentality, effective pragmatism, and coaching pedigree means it’s very likely that the Scudetto will be returning to Turin. Oh, and Cristiano Ronaldo is staying.

Inter Milan: Simone Inzaghi

Title Odds: 9/2, Betway

We’ll be honest, it’s been a disastrous summer for Inter Milan. They’ve lost an elite manager in Antonio Conte, star striker Romelu Lukaku has returned to Chelsea, Achraf Hakimi has joined PSG’s disgusting array of talent, and Christian Eriksen’s future has yet to be determined.

On the plus side, Inter have recruited the very talented Simone Inzaghi, who in his first post in management led Lazio to three domestic trophies in five seasons. Still, he faces a huge challenge at the San Siro and with all the changes taking place they look far too short at 9/2. Even a top-four finish could be an ask.

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Atalanta: Gian Piero Gasperini

Odds: 6/1, Betway

After three brilliant 3rd place finishes on the spin, could this be the season that Gian Piero Gasperini mounts a serious title challenge with entertainers Atalanta?

Inter Milan will struggle to live up to last year’s heights, Juventus could only finish 4th last term, while there have been a plethora of managerial switches elsewhere which may take time to see results. 

Atalanta have a delightful concoction of stability and panache in the simply brilliant Gasperini. No club scored more goals than their 90 last term as they topped the goalscoring charts for the third successive season (98 in 2019/20 and 77 in 2018/19). 

The league’s defender of the season Cristian Romero is a big loss, but Gasperini has stocked up at the back with the arrival of keeper Juan Musso and Matteo Lovato.

Napoli: Luciano Spalletti

Title Odds: 14/1, Bet Victor

After 18 months of Gennaro Gattuso, Napoli now have Luciano Spalletti at the helm. 

The 62-year-old has the experience (482 Serie A games), domestic cup successes (three triumphs), and a track record of leading clubs into the Champions League places. 

The former Inter and Roma boss is a two-time Serie A Coach of the Year who plays a stylish and attacking brand of football, which should make him an instant hit with the Napoli faithful. At 14/1 a title charge is probably out of reach, but they can be backed at 11/10 to return to the top-four.

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AC Milan: Stefano Pioli

Title Odds: 14/1, Paddy Power

After keeping faith with Stefano Pioli last summer, AC Milan enjoyed a superb start to the 2020/21 season. Runners-up represented the club’s best finish in nearly a decade, but there was inevitable disappointment given the position they were in. Losing out to your rivals has got to hurt. 

Keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has since gone and Hakan Calhanoglu too, but the experience of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and new recruit Olivier Giroud will be invaluable, while they are expected to be very active prior to the close of the window.

​​Roma: Jose Mourinho

Title Odds: 18/1, Bet365

He’s back baby. 11 years after leading Inter Milan to a historic treble, Jose Mourinho has returned to Italy. This time it’s Roma he’s bidding to resurrect. His last three jobs at Spurs, Man Utd, and Chelsea have all ended pretty badly, but a different yet familiar league will hopefully reignite the fire inside The Special One. 

Under Paolo Fonseca, Roma were entertaining but failed to finish in the top-four in both of his seasons, something Mourinho will be tasked with changing. He’s placed his faith in £36m striker Tammy Abraham who will be hungry for goals after losing his place at Chelsea, while Rui Patrício has been added in between the sticks.

Lazio: Maurizio Sarri

Title Odds: 33/1, Bet365

It’s fantastic to see our favourite cigarette-smoking former banker back on the touchline; a year after he was sacked by Juventus despite winning the title. Maurizio Sarri’s last two seasons in management have been his most successful in terms of trophies - he also won the Europa League at Chelsea - and he’ll now be bidding to continue the great work of Inzaghi at Lazio. 

He should be given time to implement his philosophy, and it will be fascinating to see him work his magic with the likes of Sergej Milinković-Savić and Ciro Immobile. He’ll look to rejuvenate the career of Felipe Anderson, but more new faces are definitely needed.

Serie A title odds

Inter Milan
WIN PROB: 30%
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Napoli
WIN PROB: 25%
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5/2
Juventus
WIN PROB: 17%
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AC Milan
WIN PROB: 13%
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5/1
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5/1
Atalanta
WIN PROB: 13%
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5/1
Roma
WIN PROB: 7%
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Lazio
WIN PROB: 2%
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Fiorentina
WIN PROB: 0%
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Sassuolo
WIN PROB: 0%
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Udinese
WIN PROB: 0%
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Sampdoria
WIN PROB: 0%
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Bologna
WIN PROB: 0%
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Empoli
WIN PROB: 0%
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Hellas Verona
WIN PROB: 0%
1
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Torino
WIN PROB: 0%
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Cagliari
WIN PROB: 0%
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Genoa
WIN PROB: 0%
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Spezia
WIN PROB: 0%
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Salernitana
WIN PROB: 0%
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Venezia
WIN PROB: 0%
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Odds correct as of 2021-09-29 02:19 Odds subject to change.
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