Is An Italian Team Destined For European Glory?
With five teams challenging for European football supremacy, Forza Italian Football analyses their chances in the Europa and Champions League
Italian teams have historically been among the most successful in European competitions.
AC Milan have seven European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles, two Cup Winners’ Cup trophies and five UEFA Super Cup victories.
This season there are five Italian football teams competing for European honours: Roma, Fiorentina and Inter find themselves in the UEFA Europa League, while Juventus and Napoli feature in the UEFA Champions League.
Although none of these five teams are favoured to win their respective competition, all of them have a chance of European glory. Here’s how we think Italian sides will fare in European competitions this season.
Roma: +1200 to win the Europa League
Roma are second favourites behind Manchester United (+600) to win the Europa League, and hot favourites to top Group E.
Group E contains Austria Vienna, Viktoria Plzen, and Astra Giurgiu, none of which should cause Roma trouble, precisely the reason Bovada has priced Roma as -250 favourites to win the group, with Vienna next in line at +275.
If Roma are to go all the way in the Europa League, they need to sort out their away form. In Serie A to date, Roma have won all three of their home games (4-0, 3-2, 4-0), but have lost twice and drawn once in hostile territory.
Roma have the attacking power to trouble every team in the competition, but question marks remain about consistency and their defence. We recommend jumping all over the -250 odds for Roma to win their group.
Prediction: Roma to win Group E, but fall in the semi-finals
Inter: +2000 to win the Europa League
Inter are joint seventh favourites for the Europa League title showing the the black and blue half of Milan are not the force that they once were. More evidence of this was Inter slipping up 0-2 at home to minnows Hapoel Beer Sheva in their opening fixture.
Coach Frank de Boer will be expected to progress from Group K, and the team should manage it and progress quite deep in the competition, probably falling in the quarter-finals stages.
Fiorentina: +2000 to win the Europa League
Fiorentina have been quite inconsistent of late but, at times, can perform extremely well. Their +2000 odds on winning the Europa League put them level with Inter Milan. We think Inter have more quality in their team and are a better bet to win it all.
Losing Marcos Alonso and Mario Gomez was a big blow for the Viola, and the recent lack of investment has also hurt the club dearly. Fiorentina should get out of Group J, but we don’t see them progressing deep into the competition.
Prediction: Exit in the Round of 16
Juventus: +1000 to win the Champions League
Juventus have won European club football’s top prize twice, but not since the 1995-96 season. Last season Juventus failed to get out of their group, but being pitted against Lyon, Sevilla, and Dinamo Zagreb in Group H this time around should see “the Old Lady” make it through to the next round; Juve are -160 to win the group.
Massimiliano Allegri may have lost the services of Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata, but he’s been allowed to invest the money from those transfers and he’s invested it well.
In have come the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Marko Pjaca, and Miralem Pjanic, a trio who can change the complexion of a game at a moment’s notice. These three players, particularly Higuain, measure up to some of the very best in Europe.
We think Juventus, as long as they can avoid Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich, in the first knockout stage can make it to the semifinals. And with a little luck Juventus can cause upsets of the highest accord. Look for this team to do some serious damage but fall short at one of the final hurdles.
Prediction: Exit in the quarter or semi-finals
Napoli: +5000 to win the Champions League
The 2016 UEFA rankings may place Napoli as the second best team in Italy and the eighth-best in European football, but the bookmakers do not fancy their chances of Champions League glory, pricing them as +5000, which is good for joint 11th favourites.
Napoli lost Gonzalo Higuain, replacing him with Polish forward Arkadiusz Milik, a relatively unproven talent at this level. Unfortunately, the loss of Higuain significantly hampers their European chances.
Napoli are -275 favourites to progress from Group B, which they share with Benfica, Besiktas an Dynamo Kiev, but they lack the strength in depth of some of their Champions League rivals, and that could come back to haunt them. Napoli will get out of their group but will find life too difficult to cope with in the round of 16.
Prediction: Exit in the Round of 16