Conte departure from Juventus could alter Serie A

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 28, 2014 at 5:21 am •  Published: August 28, 2014
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ROME (AP) — The Italian league opens this weekend with a full slate of matches, a couple key coaching changes and some notable absences.

Three-time defending champion Juventus kicks things off at Chievo Verona on Saturday, followed by an enticing matchup of runner-up Roma hosting Fiorentina, which is coming off a fourth-place finish.

The eight other matches are scheduled for Sunday, with AC Milan playing Lazio at the San Siro and Inter Milan visiting Torino. Also, Napoli faces Genoa four days after getting eliminated from the Champions League playoffs.

Here are some things to know about Serie A:

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SCORERS EXODUS

For the third straight season, Serie A is opening without its leading scorer from the previous campaign.

Ciro Immobile, who led the league with 22 goals last season at Torino, transferred to Borussia Dortmund.

Edinson Cavani, who led Serie A with 29 goals in 2012-13, then left Napoli for Paris Saint-Germain.

In Paris, Cavani joined Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who topped the chart with 28 goals for AC Milan in 2011-12 before he went to PSG.

With Mario Balotelli having left Milan for Liverpool, there's a small group of contenders to lead the chart this season. They include Carlos Tevez at Juventus, who should be motivated after being left off Argentina's World Cup squad; fellow Argentine Gonzalo Higuain at Napoli; 36-year-old Antonio Di Natale with Udinese; and 37-year-old Luca Toni at Hellas Verona.

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COACHING CHANGES

When Antonio Conte resigned from Juventus suddenly in mid-July, it may have altered the balance of Serie A.

Conte was widely considered the driving force behind the Turin club's run to three straight titles and his replacement, former AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, has a much more laid-back personality.

Meanwhile, former Milan great Filippo Inzaghi has taken over the Rossoneri from Clarence Seedorf, who was fired shortly after last season.

Other notable new coaches include veteran Zdenek Zeman at Cagliari, where he'll no doubt instill his well-known 4-3-3 all-attacking formation, and former Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni at Udinese.

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