Grading Serie A’s top teams of 2023

There was class and controversy, magic and madness and delight and despair for Italian clubs...

Grading Serie A’s top teams of 2023

There was class and controversy, magic and madness and delight and despair for Italian clubs in 2023. Giancarlo Rinaldi gives his ratings to the best performing sides in the country’s top division over the past 12 months.

A calendar year league table is a curious creature as it offers no titles or recognition. However, it does give a starting point for assessing how good or bad a time it has been for the teams involved. Here is what it tells us about Serie A.

It will probably surprise nobody to see Inter sit on top of the 2023 points table as they have been the division’s most consistent side. There was no Scudetto, but they are very much in the hunt to lift it in 2024 and they did get their hands on the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa as well as reaching a Champions League final. Elimination from the domestic cup this year was a disappointment but their league and European progress made it an impressive year for Simone Inzaghi. 8/10.

The celebrations of a third league title are still ongoing for Napoli and there has been something of a hangover in their performances. In truth, they tailed off a little on the title run-in but nothing should tarnish the gigantic joy that team delivered. A good Champions League run before being knocked out by Milan was followed by more stuttering progress in the competition this season. Still, the scintillating football they produced and the momentous nature of the Serie A triumph mean it can only be judged an unforgettable 2023. 9/10.

When winning is the only thing that matters, a year without getting near a trophy is always considered a failure at Juventus. Add to that their exclusion from European competition and bans for Paul Pogba after a positive doping test and Nicolò Fagioli over gambling and it was something of an annus horribilis for La Vecchia Signora. A decent run in the Europa League after tumbling out of the Champions League was small consolation but more winning ways this season – if rarely entertaining – have given signs of hope. 6/10.

It might sound daft but maybe winning the Scudetto in 2022 was the worst thing that could have happened for Stefano Pioli’s Milan. The expectation bar was raised so high that more fluctuating fortunes have led to repeated calls for his head. Humbled in the Supercoppa by their cousins, they also suffered at their hands in the Champions League. A slump into the Europa League this year was also unwelcome, although it may present a greater opportunity for success. 6.5/10.

If this table had been drawn up in the summer then things would have looked a whole lot better for Lazio. A distant runners-up spot in Serie A appeared to justify Maurizio Sarri’s snubbing of European competition and represent a major building block. The loss of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was a huge blow but it can’t fully explain their league collapse this season. Their progress in the Champions League offered some comfort but there was still a feeling, overall, of a good year that could have been much better. 6.5/10.

Nobody remembers the runners-up, so it was a time of what might have been for Fiorentina. Under Vincenzo Italiano, they have a clear imprint of how they want to play – even if they don’t always manage to deliver it. They were undone by Inter in the Coppa Italia but the more bitter heartache came in the Conference League with late, late defeat by West Ham. Still, they dusted themselves off and have progressed in both competitions again and are sitting fairly pretty in the league too. 7.5/10.

The undoubted revelations of this season have been Thiago Motta’s Bologna as they have built on a mid-table finish last term to become genuine contenders for a European place. Playing some classy football, they have also unearthed some under-the-radar talent like Lewis Ferguson, Joshua Zirkzee and Sam Beukema. Knocking Inter out of the Coppa Italia was proof of their progress and only raised their coach’s stock still further. Keep a hold of him and there could be great times ahead. 7/10.

They have revived a bit in Serie A but it has still been a curious 12 months for Jose Mourinho’s Roma. Two European finals in a row – one won and one lost – helped to mask some truly disappointing league form which they have only recently started to address. Their coach appears to be working on a “nobody’s likes us, we don’t care” mentality which makes watching the Giallorossi a bit of a hard ask for the neutral but if it produces a trophy then they surely won’t care in the capital. 6.5/10.

We have got so used to the quality of their performances that even a slight dip in form feels like a flop for Atalanta. Europa League qualification was impressive last season, but the follow-up campaign has been a bit inconsistent although it has brought progress on the continental stage. If they can start to get the best out of their new faces, then don’t rule out another second-half surge up the table in 2024. 6.5/10.

When they came up it looked like they were destined to go straight back down but what an outstanding impact Monza have had. They enjoyed comfortable survival and some memorable wins in 2022/23 and have pretty much continued where they left off this term. Andrea Colpani’s Italy call-up was simply another stamp of approval on the great work they have been doing to keep themselves above many of Italian football’s bigger names. 8/10.

Giancarlo Rinaldi is the author of a number of books on Italian football. You can follow him on X @ginkers and listen to him on the podcast Rigore!.