As sports slowly begin to return to television, the ones earliest to resume play will receive unprecedented attention, but that doesn’t mean people necessarily will know anything about what they’re watching. And for those tuning in for the first time, NESN is here to inform and educate you about the leagues’ biggest storylines, athletes and how to tune in to their return or postponed start.
Don’t be surprised if Serie A provides the missing ingredient in your soccer diet.
The Italian league’s first division will resume Saturday after a three-month pause due to the coronavirus. Those who weren’t watching before should tune in to watch what could be one of the most exciting races for the Scudetto, as the Serie A title is known, that we’ve seen in decades.
State of play
Juventus has won eight consecutive Serie A crowns, but its bid for a ninth in no cakewalk. Lazio trails Juventus by only point, and Inter Milan lurks just nine points behind the reigning champion with a game in hand. Since calculating the number of potential plot twists over the final 12 games of the season is impossible, we’ll put it simply: With apologies to La Liga, Serie A probably will have the most entertaining and compelling title race in the four major European leagues that have resumed their 2019-20 seasons.
Players to watch
Lazio striker Ciro Immobile leads Serie A with 27 goals and is just three strikes short of matching his career high. If he recaptures his form from earlier this season, the title race might go down to the wire, or at least until the July 20 Lazio-Juventus matchup.
Cristiano Ronaldo is Serie A’s biggest name, and he remains perhaps the most influential player on the team all others are trying to beat. Ronaldo has 21 goals and he’s bound to add to that total.
Napoli center back Kalidou Koulibaly anchors the defense of his team, which won its first major trophy since 2014 this week when it outlasted Juventus in the Coppa Italia final (Italian Cup). Koulibaly has attracted plenty of transfer interest in recent years, and he might be on the move this summer.
AC Milan has fallen from the ranks of soccer’s elite, but goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, 21, potentially will become the best in the world at his position and might one day lead the Rossoneri’s revival.
This week’s games (all times ET)
1:30 p.m. — Torino vs. Parma
3:45 p.m. — Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari
1:30 p.m. — Atalanta vs. Sassuolo
3:45 p.m. — Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria
1:30 p.m. — Fiorentina vs. Brescia
1:30 p.m. — Lecce vs. AC Milan
3:45 p.m. — Bologna vs. Juventus