GettyImages-485015304.0Michael Hawthorne reviews an opening weekend in Italy that promises so much.

This weekend saw the return of the Serie A, this time with much anticipation. The opening games did not fail to disappoint and with an added extra surprise to really send a message to the rest of the league. The league has often been criticised for being too slow and the lack of quality but watch these games and as a viewer you will not be disappointed.

Ultimately the biggest shock came in the opening match on Sunday as Udinese managed to overcome the champions Juventus, add in that Juventus were at home and this is quite the result. Juventus had a proud record of 47 home matches unbeaten stretching back to 2013. Since then they have managed to recruit Juan Cuadrado on loan from Chelsea adding to the arrivals of Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Alex Sandro. Losing Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo could have a big impact on the team and it has necessitated a need to change their playing style as Andrea gave them another dimension; his pin point passing ability will be hard to follow but they need to find a way of going back to front quickly and also a runner to aim for which Carlos provided. The loss at home will hurt but leagues will obviously not be lost in the first game so still expect Juventus to be the team to beat. The result will be a massive confidence boost for Udinese who have no real expectations on their shoulders.

After positive summers both AC and Inter Milan will be expecting to be at the very least challenging for the ever important Champions League places. Well after the opening game AC have issues they need to address, getting beat away to Fiorentina is no shame and especially with Marcos Alonso scoring a great free kick, but the lack of discipline showed to get a red card after 39 minutes really underlines the troubles the players have. Inevitably it cost them again; their disciplinary record last season cost them so many points and this is an issue the team needs to sort out straight away to really progress this season. The club has spent wisely this summer on the likes of Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano to name a few, but the club needs another centre back and perhaps another centre midfielder. They are adding the controversial figure of Mario Balotelli and this will bolster the attacking third but they need other areas strengthened. On the other hand Inter managed to sneak a late one-nil win at home against Atalanta: the most important aim for them was the win, not playing well at this stage of the season will be fine with Mancini, especially integrating a whole lot of new faces into the group. The potential is there in the group to go far especially with the likes of Geoffrey Kondogbia and Stevan Jovetic joining the squad

The rest of the contenders had a mixed opening weekend, Roma kicked the campaign off with an away trip to Verona but after the score draw the weaknesses at the back will be their main concern. Edin Dzeko looked sharp and linked play well so could be a smart addition. Lazio opened their account of the season with a 2-1 win against newly promoted Bologna, a good game with plenty of chances, Champions League football could really stretch their squad too far for another challenge for the title. Fiorentina have finished 4th three seasons in a row and life under Paolo Sousa started well with a two-nil win over AC Milan who were down to 10 men, Sousa’s men looked in control throughout and could find themselves challenging around the top of the division.

The relegation battle could prove to be a tight affair again this season. With all three promoted sides getting beat, the early signs would say that they will down there again this season. Frisinone were defeated 2-1 at home to Torino, Bologna saw their return end with a fighting 2-1 defeat at Lazio, and Carpi suffered a heavy 5-2 defeat away to Sampdoria but they can take a lot from their second half display and push on from there. Empoli, Atalanta and Chievo could also be the teams fighting against the drop this season though with an early away win Chievo will take great heart. There is generally a club not expected to struggle that ultimately do, so will have to see who that will be.

Despite their one-nil defeat at the hands of Palermo, Genoa could really upset the rhythm of the league. Finishing 6th last season the group will still be confident. They have added well again this summer with the likes of Goran Pandev, Ezequiel Munoz and Diego Capel and they could really upset teams this season. The ‘bigger’ clubs will not be looking forward to playing them. Just as much as Palermo, they are a strong side at home and take the majority of points from their home games like Genoa could prove hard to beat for the rest.

The league is up and running in the Italy, the optimism around the Italian fans and the media is so much higher than has been seen in a long time. The Champions League final where Juventus came so close gave the fans a real indication that the re-emergence of the league is in full swing and it is great to see. Serie A could be the league to watch.