Unpredictable; that’s how Serie A is shaping up this season on the basis of the first six matches. Over the summer many sides overhauled their squads with the ambition of pushing on and an eye on catching Juventus, who are going through a transitional stage themselves.
Inter were busy, signing Geoffrey Kondogbia, Felipe Melo, Ivan Perisic and Stevan Jovetic amongst others, while the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Hernanes and Xherdan Shaqiri departed the Nerazzurri. They hit the ground running too, with five consecutive victories, including a Derby della Madonnina win over Milan, to take an early lead at the top of the table.
Despite points on the board their play has been somewhat pragmatic and dogged at times, with four of their victories being 1-0. Their resolve was well and truly broken though by another team quick out of the blocks, Fiorentina.
La Viola stunned the San Siro crowd with a fabulous opening half hour of football on Sunday night; they went 3-0 up with new signing Nikola Kalinic scoring and proving to be a real handful. Inter’s nightmare start was compounded by the sending off of their new Brazilian defender, Joao Miranda, for a foul on Kalinic when through on goal. The away side went on to claim a 4-1 victory with Kalinic hitting a hat-trick.
Despite a change of coach and personnel changes, the Tuscan outfit have been the stand out team in the opening part of the season, gelling quicker than their rivals. New coach Paulo Sousa seems to have built on the great foundations laid by Vincenzo Montella whilst also implementing his own style on the side. They have been brilliant to watch and sit top of Serie A for the first time since February 1999.
Perhaps the biggest surprise has been Juventus’ poor start. The Old Lady has been slow to respond following the departures of Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez, recording only one win so far. A draw with newly promoted Frosinone at home and a 2-1 defeat to Napoli at Stadio San Paolo is hardly the start Massimiliano Allegri expected.
As for Napoli, they continue to be consistently inconsistent. Despite superb performances in the 5-0 victory against Lazio and that Juventus win, they have once again failed to beat lesser quality opposition in Carpi and Empoli. There seems to be a lot of promise in Naples though, with Gonzalo Higuain and Lorenzo Insigne impressing, but it may just take some time for Sarri’s tactics to click.
The same inconsistency goes for Roma who claimed three points at home to Juventus, but drew with Sassuolo and lost to Sampdoria. On a positive note, Francesco Totti scored the 300th goal of his Roma career.
Elsewhere Milan have won three and lost three with their new-look squad under the guidance of new man Sinisa Mihajlovic. A season of settling the squad seems ahead, which could feature Mario Balotelli as a prominent figure after a bright start following his return to Italy.
Serie A is wide-open and set for a classic title race.
Follow Tom Rowland @TWRowland