Serie A 2022-23 preview: A European Renaissance?

Roma celebrating the Europa Conference League in May brought back memories of when Serie A clubs dominated Europe. Giancarlo Rinaldi looks at what lies ahead of the seven Italian sides in continental competition in 2022-23…

It might have been dismissed by some as a trophy worthy only of Disney’s flagship anthropomorphic rodent but tell that to the fans who filled the streets of Rome. A Europa Conference League triumph may only be a small step back in Serie A’s road to European redemption but every journey has to start somewhere. After more than a decade without any continental silverware, could it be a new beginning or just another false dawn?

Seven brave Italian sides will take their chances this year. The Champions League is surely the toughest task of all as it has become the preserve of a handful of teams – with just five different winners in the past 12 years. Even the Bel Paese’s strongest side of the past decade, Juventus, have struggled to make much impact. However, on paper at least, they look one of the best equipped to mount a challenge on both domestic and continental fronts.

Injury to Paul Pogba has been a blow but the addition of Dusan Vlahovic last season and the experienced Angel Di Maria and impressive Bremer in the summer have surely given Max Allegri an obligation to deliver more. He has tended to have the team play with the handbrake on but he has to cut the shackles sooner rather than later and start unleashing the potential in his team. If he does that, emergence from the group stages at the very least should be an option.

Inter, too, have over-promised but under-delivered in the competition in recent years based on the players at their disposal. If the return of Romelu Lukaku is anything like as impressive as his previous edition then they should be significantly strengthened. They may well want to – in their eyes – set the record straight in Serie A this year but they surely have enough depth to make a step to the later stages in Europe a serious prospect.

Across the city, Milan now have a mission to add to their illustrious continental reputation having regained stature on the domestic front. They surprised a lot of pundits with the Scudetto last season but can build on that with interesting arrivals like Divock Origi and Charles De Ketelaere. The Rossoneri have been trying to do things a little differently – realising they can’t go out and buy the biggest names – and it has worked spectacularly for Stefano Pioli so far. To progress in Europe would be truly impressive.

Last but not least in the top competition are Napoli, who have earned huge plaudits for their football in recent years without getting perhaps as far as their talents deserved. Losing Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Kalidou Koulibaly has the feeling of an end of an era at the Stadio Maradona. Anything beyond the group stages would surely be a bonus – although Luciano Spalletti is a master of invention.

In the Europa League, there must be confidence in the Giallorosso side of the city that Roma can build on last season’s success. Jose Mourinho knows what trophies mean to supporters and he has largely kept his squad together while adding a dash of exciting brilliance with Paulo Dybala. If that move works out, surely he has a team for the later stages.

The vibes at Lazio feel a little less positive with boardroom friction and the transfer window moves giving more of a feeling of a club in transition. They still look like a team which could more than hold its own in Europe’s second-tier competition but there have to be worries about how much of a priority that will be. If Maurizio Sarri’s football starts to click, though, they could still be much greater than the sum of their parts.

Finally, and intriguingly, come Fiorentina who go into the play-off stages of the trophy Italy won last time out. It is six years since they last qualified for Europe and represent a bit of an unknown but there were signs of improvement under Vincenzo Italiano last term. Additions such as Dodo, Luka Jovic and Pierluigi Gollini have filled out a squad which was a bit thin for two competitions but now looks a little more resilient. If they make the groups, they should at least be fun to watch.

Get the full 2022-23 Serie A season preview here.

2 Comments on “Serie A 2022-23 preview: A European Renaissance?”

  1. Pot 3 for Inter and Napoli makes it difficult for them. I can’t see Napoli overcoming the group stage because of all the key players leaving this year. They’ll be fighting hard all season for top 4 rather than CL progress. Can see Inter progressing as long as they don’t get two monster teams e.g. Real Madrid and Liverpool.

    Great opportunity for AC Milan, but will depend on whether last year was enough of a learning curve for their young squad.
    Juve should also make it out of the group, but like all Serie A teams, can’t see them challenging beyond quarter finals

    Good luck to Roma and Lazio in Europa League. I think the former is more likely to challenge for the trophy than the latter, however they will both be fighting for top 4 which will make Thursday night football tough

    No idea about Fiorentina. Get through the play offs, and good luck!

  2. If a couple of italian teams progresses to 1/4 of the UCL would be a huge success. Something better than that would be a miracle.

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