There is a potentially very wide net of Serie A Femminile title challengers who will be seeking to knock Juventus off the perch that they’ve now been sat on for the past four campaigns.
The dominance that Rita Guarino showed with Juve last season was staggering, as they won every single league game they played. Le Bianconere’s two closest challengers were AC Milan and Sassuolo, whose battle for the second and final Champions League place went down to the wire. Both of those teams have strengthened over the summer and clearly feel they can catch Juve.
The slightly more left-field shouts for a title challenge are Roma and Inter. The former have lost two good players in Lindsey Thomas to Milan and Agnese Bonfantini to Juve. That being said, there is still a talented group there capable of beating anyone.
Inter were disappointing last season and only managed a mid-table finish. The investment appears to have been significant over the summer and they will be hoping to rocket up the table.
How did they all fare on Serie A Femminile’s opening weekend?
As should be the case in any good title race that you’d hope to go down to the wire, all of the contenders recorded commanding wins on the opening weekend of the season.
Despite being under the new management of ex-Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro, Juve picked up where they left off by dispatching of newly-promoted Pomigliano 3-0. Le Bianconere looked as comfortable as ever against weak opposition.
???????? ??????: 16 league goals in ??? ? pic.twitter.com/q0jUa3kFg9
— Juventus Women (@JuventusFCWomen) August 30, 2021
They weren’t the only fans smiling though as Inter got off to the perfect start with a 3-0 win away at Napoli, who narrowly avoided the drop to Serie B last season. Le Nerazzurre looked extremely swift in attack, with Gloria Marinelli particularly dangerous.
She picked up Inter’s second and the celebrations from the bench for each goal suggest they think they have a great chance of pushing up the table this year.
Back in Milan, Le Rossonere’s quest to go one better than last year started with a 4-0 win over Hellas Verona, who were a tricky customer for many last season. Milan were able to get behind Verona with complete ease. Valentina Giacinti was the focal point in attack and she picked up two goals to get her campaign to be the league’s top scorer underway.
— OptaPaolo ? (@OptaPaolo) August 29, 2021
Mainly down to the quality of opposition, Sassuolo’s win may be the most impressive of all. Fiorentina were another credible shout to push for a Champions League spot this season but they were beaten 2-1 by Sassuolo. Lana Clelland, having left La Viola this summer for Sassuolo, scored the winning goal for the Neroverde shortly into the second half.
The most entertaining win of the round goes to Roma who beat Empoli 3-0 away from home, without scoring any of the goals. Not only did Empoli manage to score three own goals, but they also scored three of the most ridiculous ones you are likely to see.
Twice, the goalkeeper was left scrambling backwards after the ball looped up over her courtesy of a defender’s leg, and the first goal was the result of a heavy touch from Annamaria Serturini that led to the ball being bundled in by a combination of the goalkeeper and two defenders.
When will the top teams face each other?
Title contenders and title pretenders usually get identified when they start to face off against each other, but that isn’t going to happen next weekend. The big teams will need to keep their calm and efficient performances going to maintain that 100% record for when the major clashes start to happen.
The only game next weekend between two teams that won this weekend is Sampdoria at home to Milan. If Samp can win that game, perhaps they have to be taken more seriously as a top team in the division.
Another eye-catching fixture is Fiorentina at home to Juventus, which will be played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi during the men’s international break. La Viola would love nothing more than bouncing back from their defeat to Sassuolo by halting the charge of their old rivals.
This weekend’s results do suggest that there is a major gulf of class in the division between the top six or seven teams, and those further towards the bottom. There has of course only been one game played so far, but no draws from six fixtures and all the expectedly higher quality teams winning comfortably suggests a clear divide in the table.