Thu 16 Aug 2018, 15:03
The 2018/19 Serie A season kicks off this weekend, with 10 first round matches spread from Saturday, 18 August to Monday, 20 August.
Reigning champions Juventus begin the defence of their title with a potentially tricky game away to Chievo at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi in Verona on Saturday evening. The match will see the Serie A debut of Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Juventus for €100million in the off season from Real Madrid.
The 33-year-old’s arrival is more a statement of intent in regard to winning the UEFA Champions League, but it will still be fascinating to see how he performs in Italy’s top flight after nine prolific seasons in Spain’s La Liga.
Chievo, who recently completed the signing of Nigerian international Joel Obi, will look to stymie Juve’s hopes of a fast start. Perhaps taking advantage of the absence of goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who has left for Paris Saint-Germain, will be their best avenue to an upset result.
Juventus’ main title challengers are likely to be Napoli, who pushed the ‘Old Lady’ hard for the Scudetto last term. The Naples side, who boast African superstars Faouzi Ghoulam and Kalidou Koulibaly in their defence, open their Serie A campaign with a tough match in Rome against Lazio, who finished just outside of the Champions League places last term.
Sunday’s games start with the early kick-off between Mbaye Niang’s Torino and Roma, who may hand a debut to teenage Dutch striker Justin Kluivert. The 19-year-old, who is the son of former Netherlands attacker Patrick Kluivert, was a big-money acquisition from Ajax over the European summer.
Northern giants, AC Milan and Internazionale, who have both been very active in the transfer market in a bid to boost their chances of competing for the title, open with Sunday night matches at home to Genoa and away to Sassuolo (who will look to Ghanaian maverick Kevin-Prince Boateng for inspiration) respectively.
Sunday night also features Empoli at home to Cagliari, Parma (back in the top flight after going bankrupt just three years ago) welcoming Udinese to Stadio Ennio Tardini, and Fiorentina travelling to Sampdoria.
The round wraps up with one match on Monday night, as Serie B playoff winners Frosinone head to Bergamo to take on hosts Atalanta.
Key matches – Stats
Chievo v Juventus – Head-to-head, all competitions
Matches played 30
Chievo wins 1
Juventus wins 22
Lazio v Napoli – Head-to-head, all competitions
Matches played 39
Lazio wins 14
Napoli wins 16
Torino v Roma – Head-to-head, all competitions
Matches played 33
Torino wins 4
Roma wins 20
Serie A fixtures, Saturday, 18 August to Monday, 20 August
Saturday, 18 August
18:00 - Chievo v Juventus – SuperSport 8, Maximo 2, Select 4
20:30 - Lazio v Napoli – SuperSport 8, SuperSport 10, Maximo 360, Select 2
Sunday, 19 August
18:00 - Torino v Roma – SuperSport 8, Maximo 2, Select 4
20:30 - Milan v Genoa – SuperSport 8, Maximo 1
20:30 - Parma v Udinese – SuperSport 10, Maximo 360, Select 2
20:30 - Sampdoria v Fiorentina – SuperSport 5
20:30 - Sassuolo v Internazionale – SuperSport 3
Monday, 20 August
20:30 - Atalanta v Frosinone – SuperSport 8