It was an eventful Serie A season, the first in ten years where the winner wasn’t Juventus.
AC Milan started the year in great shape, staying on top for 21 games, until Inter took the lead and increased their gap to win by 12 points. Milan, Atalanta and Juventus got Champions League football by finishing in the top four, with some intense final games.
Napoli and Lazio had to settle for Europa League qualification, while Roma snatched a place in the new Conference League to the expenses of Sassuolo.
Crotone, Parma and Benevento left the Serie A, as for the fifth time in six seasons, two newly-promoted sides were relegated.
Looking back on the premises made in the preview, which you can find here, the teams’ performances will be analysed.
Inter – “They must give a shot to the title”
They did, and how they did it. Inter actually endured a slow start, they only won three of their first seven games. However, Antonio Conte’s team found great solidity to finish with the best defence after a beginning with great defensive woes.
Between Matchday eight and 36, they won 24 games, drew four and lost one. They gained 76 points, to Atalanta’s 62 and Juventus’s 59. Greatness came thanks to everyone. Antonio Conte created a group in which everyone was important and substitutes proved decisive.
The partnership between Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku worked marvellously. Lukaku was the player with most goal contributions in the Serie A and ended up registering the record of assists for an Inter player in a single season (11).Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Lukaku (24), Martinez (17), Hakimi (7), Sanchez (7)
Assisters: Lukaku (11), Hakimi (8), Barella (7), Brozovic (6), Martinez (6)
Milan – “Do not rule them out”
Unsurprisingly to some, shockingly to many, Milan were leaders all the way until February. They continued their fabulous run from the end of the previous season to appear like a very unite team.
Even though they had to cope with many injuries, they kept their lead, in a long fight against Inter. However, Inter went on to score 50 points in the second round of games and Milan were left behind.
Big away wins at Juventus and Atalanta in May ensured Milan could get back to listen to Champions League tunes and even finish in second place. Their away performance was incredible, with 16 wins and 49 points. However, there were only 30 points gained within the walls of the San Siro.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Ibrahimovic (15), Kessie (13), Rebic (11), Hernandez (7)
Assisters: Calhanoglu (9), Leao (6), Hernandez (5), Kessie (4), Rebic (4), Saelemaekers (4)
Atalanta – “They seem even stronger coming into 2021”
They once again came short of second place on the final game, but Atalanta looked ever more as a superpower. They lost too many points at the start, when they struggled in the games played after the Champions League efforts.
However, once form started to kick in, they were almost unstoppable. Luis Muriel was the real star, netting a goal every 65 minutes.
Even if they lost captain Alejandro Gomez, who was believed to be carrying the team, they found no issue with that. Ruslan Malinovskyi excellently took his place, as Robin Gosens’s contribution on the left was also immense.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Muriel (22), Zapata (15), Gosens (11), Malinovskyi (8)
Assisters: Malinovskyi (12), Ilicic (9), Muriel (9), Zapata (9)
Juventus – “Their crown seems in danger. Will their hunger remain intact?”
There were many hints that this could be Juventus’s farewell season to the long Scudetto streak. Andrea Pirlo’s first season was troublesome, suffering huge disappointments and the scare of not even making the top four.
Juventus appeared to struggle to find goals without Cristiano Ronaldo’s contribution and at times appeared demotivated. There were many issues, with only two points claimed in four games against Benevento and Fiorentina and other disappointing results.
With 90 minutes to go, they were out of the top four and, although they won the Coppa Italia, there is little to be happy about.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Ronaldo (29), Morata (11), Chiesa (9), McKennie (5)
Assisters: Cuadrado (10), Chiesa (9), Morata (9), Danilo (4), Bentancur (4), Ramsey (4)
Napoli – “The team suffered multiple troubles”
Napoli were yet to find stability within the team and polemics broke out yet again. Gennaro Gattuso was given the chance to stay, but knew by December that his time was running out.
They refused to release any comments to the press for multiple months, up until the end, where their run for the top four came short on the final day. Long-term injuries to most of their strikers had a big impact, but with a second-half run, they appeared to make a great come-back.
Only Inter scored more points than them since Matchday 20, but a draw against Verona on the last game of the season allowed Juventus to pass by.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Insigne (19), Lozano (11), Osimhen (10), Mertens (9), Politano (9)
Assisters: Zielinski (10), Mertens (8), Insigne (7), Di Lorenzo (6)
Lazio – “Can they have the strength to go again?”
Not quite. Lazio were in contention for the top four until very late in the season, but never appeared like they could pull it off.
Ciro Immobile scored more than 20 goals and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic proved everyone that he is one of the most precious talents this league can enjoy.
However, when the rivals are very strong, there can be no slips, and Lazio had many. It was still a positive seasons on many notes, but finishing sixth wasn’t what they hoped for.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Immobile (20), Luis Alberto (9), Milinkovic-Savic (8), Correa (8), Caicedo (8)
Assisters: Milinkovic-Savic (9), Immobile (6), Lazzari (5), Correa (3), Radu (3), Marusic (3)
Roma – “Odds go against the team from the capital”
It was the third consecutive season out of the top four. Roma failed to impress, only winning a game against a side in the top eight as late as the Matchday 37 derby.
Their full score against smaller sides kept them in the top four for the first-half of the season, but they massively dropped at distance. Henrikh Mkhitaryan was the top player, but then got injured between March and April, as Roma completed an awful ending. They only snatched 25 points in the second-half.
They just didn’t appear to have enough quality to compete at the top and suffered the double commitment of playing in the Europa League. 58 goals conceded was an enormous figure, only securing a place in the top seven on the final day.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Mkhitaryan (13), Veretout (10), Borja Mayoral (10), Pellegrini (7), Dzeko (7)
Assisters: Mkhitaryan (10), Pellegrini (6), Karsdorp (6), Spinazzola (4)
Sassuolo – “63 goals conceded are something the team need to fix”
Sassuolo proved that in 2019/20 they built the basis to have a solid team that could once again challenge for the top 10. In truth, they were much better than the rest of the sides below them and comfortably finished eighth, behind Roma on goal difference.
They conceded seven less goals than the previous season, keeping a +8 goal difference and made sure that their philosophy of attacking football was efficient. Sassuolo were spectacular and real fan favourites.
They helped consolidate the talent of Domenico Berardi and Manuel Locatelli, with the rising star of Giacomo Raspadori beginning to shine in place of injured-troubled striker Francesco Caputo.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Berardi (17), Caputo (11), Raspadori (6), Traore (5), Djuricic (5)
Assisters: Berardi (7), Caputo (5), Ferrari (4), Djuricic (4)
Sampdoria – “Small improvements have come”
In reality, Sampdoria were the most improved Serie A team. They finished in the top 10 quite comfortably with a very consistent season, never suffering major form drops.
Claudio Ranieri was excellent in rotating his forwards and ensured he got the maximum out of Keita Balde, Fabio Quagliarella and the returning Manolo Gabbiadini.
There were concerns over the investments made solely in the attacking areas, but the team found great solidity at the back. It was difficult to predict they would finish so high up after great struggles the previous year.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Quagliarella (13), Keita (7), Jankto (6), Candreva (5)
Assisters: Candreva (8), Ramirez (4), Damsgaard (4), Verre (3), Augello (3), Jankto (3)
Hellas Verona – “After selling their protagonists, can they even survive?”
Ivan Juric performed another miracle after doing wonders in the previous season. It was actually quite disappointing to see Verona only in 10th after an amazing start, being five points shy of seventh place in March. Verona only scored 15 points in the second-half, however, winning just a game in the last 13.
They were challenging for Europe, but possibly relaxed too much after securing a safe survival. They proved themselves to have a very strong defence, finishing the year as sixth best.
The drop in form of Mattia Zaccagni and the lack of goals from Nikola Kalinic and Kevin Lasagna was one of the reasons why they couldn’t finish any higher. They had the 15th attack, but still finished with a -2 goal difference.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Barak (7), Zaccagni (5), Dimarco (5), Lasagna (4)
Assisters: Faraoni (7), Lazovic (6), Zaccagni (5), Dimarco (3), Barak (3)
Genoa – “They will likely struggle again”
Genoa had only got seven points in the first 13 games and it looked like their lack of investments was reflecting with poor performances.
However, then came along Davide Ballardini, leading the team to a surprise 11th place and a safe permanence in the Serie A with 42 points.
In the time with Ballardini as a coach, they had the sixth best defence and scored the ninth most amount of points. Overall, considering the lack of investments, Genoa did a superb job to finish so high up.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Destro (11), Scamacca (8), Shomurodov (8), Pandev (7)
Assisters: Badelj (4), Strootman (4), Ghiglione (4), Pandev (3), Zajc (3)
Bologna – “Bologna could yet challenge for the top 10”
Sinisa Mihajlovic’s team was one of those who appeared to easily survive from the getaway, but that struggled to challenge the opponents in front of them.
Performances were too inconsistent and they limited to a modest 12th place.
Mihajlovic was critical of the management, for not investing in the right areas and lacking a real striker. Rodrigo Palacio’s experience was useful, but the Argentinian and Musa Barrow couldn’t score enough.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Soriano (9), Barrow (8), Orsolini (7), Palacio (5), Svanberg (5)
Assisters: Barrow (8), Soriano (6), Palacio (5), Vignato (4)
Fiorentina – “They might return in the top eight”
Fiorentina, instead, had another disappointing season. Although they achieved survival with a couple of games left, this wasn’t clearly what president Rocco Commisso had hoped for.
They played some spectacular games, with a remarkable 3-0 win on Juventus, and striker Dusan Vlahovic surprised with his prolific form. However, they deeply appeared like a one-man team and disappointed a lot, winning just 9 matches.
The fact this was Fiorentina’s worst-ever points tally in a 38 games season suggests they are actually a lot further from challenging for Europe, which is where they competed regularly, than it was expected.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Vlahovic (21), Castrovilli (5), Milenkovic (3), Bonaventura (3)
Assisters: Ribery (6), Biraghi (5), Vlahovic (3), Pulgar (3), Castrovilli (3)
Udinese – “Captain Rodrigo de Paul is ready to avoid relegation”
Udinese were perhaps a lot more comfortable than expected. They are a team that is never considered much and, although the gap behind is minimal, they were never in danger.
De Paul was phenomenal, arguably being the top performer of the league, delivering excellent performances week in and week out.
Then, coach Luca Gotti and the rest of the team were looking like tough to break apart and could even have achieved more if it wasn’t for certain negative periods. Udinese’s lack of competitiveness when attacking was a reason why they couldn’t finish higher up.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: De Paul (9), Pereyra (5), Okaka (4), Arslan (3), Pussetto (3)
Assisters: De Paul (9), Pereyra (7), Molina (5), Ouwejan (2)
Spezia – “The lack of big names may condemn them to a written fate”
Spezia made the opposite reasoning. They realised that focusing on defending had little chance of allowing them to stay up.
Coach Vincenzo Italiano became hugely respected, with Spezia being one of the most spectacular teams, aiming to keep the ball and implement their own philosophy of play.
Most people wrote them off immediately, but they had none of it and completed an excellent season. It’s an example that with hard work and exuberance, even a side on its first Serie A appearance can stay up.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Nzola (11), Pobega (6), Verde (5), Piccoli (5)
Assisters: Gyasi (6), Bastoni (6), Estevez (3), Nzola (3)
Cagliari – “They hope for a top 10 finish”
Cagliari were another team that suffered a huge crisis and occupied the relegation places for large parts of the season.
When Leonardo Semplici took over, Cagliari were five points off 17th place, but the coach managed to set up a spark and they scored 21 points in 14 games.
It was evident Cagliari were out of place and the come-back proves it. With players like Diego Godin, Radja Nainggolan and Alessio Cragno, they had to stay up.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Joao Pedro (16), Simeone (6), Lykogiannis (4), Pavoletti (4)
Assisters: Marin (6), Zappa (4), Joao Pedro (3), Pavoletti (3)
Torino – “The team has not strengthened much”
It was difficult to predict that Torino would do worse than the previous year and rescue a place in next year’s Serie A only with a game left.
The Granata struggled from the getaway, with an unsatisfying attitude and many lows. They were penultimate after as much as 18 games, with just 13 points.
The change from coach Marco Giampaolo to Davide Nicola did bring some more results, but for a team of Torino’s calibre it’s a hugely disappointing season.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Belotti (13), Zaza (6), Sanabria (5), Bremer (5),
Assisters: Belotti (6), Ansaldi (6), Verdi (4), Bonazzoli (3)
Benevento – “Benevento came with the intention to remain”
For one point, they were one of the most surprising teams.
They were in the top 10 coming into the new year, but then came a period in which they scored 11 points in 21 games, only winning one. It is a remarkable win, that came against Juventus, but Benevento’s second-half has been incredibly disappointing.
It’s very hard to say what went wrong with Benevento. The injury of right-back Gaetano Letizia and the lack of winter-signings could be a cause, plus the lack of sustaining the 90 minutes across the games.
At the start of the season there was enthusiasm, but then the side appeared to have no reaction once things didn’t kick in.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Lapadula (8), Viola (5), Caprari (5), Sau (4)
Assisters: Caprari (6), Insigne (4), Viola (3)
Crotone – “They will face serious struggles”
The Pitagorics appeared condemned straight away. They occupied the bottom two places for the complete duration of the season and even set the negative record for goals conceded in a single Italian top flight season, with 92.
The positive responses came from unexpected players, with Simy setting many records for an African player, scoring a whopping 20 goals. Winter-signing Adam Ounas and Junior Messias were among the best performers, but they carried the team on their own, with Simy finalising the play.
Not even the change on the bench from Giovanni Stroppa to Serse Cosmi gave Crotone the consistency they needed.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Simy (20), Messias (9), Ounas (4), Golemic (2), Reca (2)
Assisters: Messias (4), Molina (4), Pereira (4), Ounas (3), Reca (3)
Parma – “Parma’s journey seems a little more complicated”
Parma were definitely not amongst the candidates for relegation, let alone to finish dead last. It was true that Dejan Kulusevski’s and coach Roberto D’Aversa’s departure appeared to penalise the team, but Parma were coming off a season in which they really threatened Milan and Napoli for the top seven.
They completely changed the way they played, that being counter-attacks. It’s not guaranteed to be that, but Gervinho and Andreas Cornelius were virtually non-existent, after an awesome showing in 2019/20. They featured 42 different players across the year and although D’Aversa returned, they entered the relegation zone not to leave it anymore.Embed from Getty Images
Goalscorers: Kucka (7), Hernani (7), Gervinho (5), Kurtic (4)
Assisters: Cornelius (4), Pezzella (4), Hernani (3)
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