Juventus still in a class of their own
© AFP

Having claimed the title without losing a single game last season, Juventus were once again the dominant force in Serie A. Antonio Conte's side retained their crown in supreme style, leading the way from start to finish and ending the season nine points out in front.

Only Napoli were able to keep up any sort of pressure, although they never looked like denying Conte his seventh Scudetto with Juve – his second as a coach after amassing five in his playing days. La Vecchia Signora finished the campaign with the best defence in the top flight but only the third most potent attack, but they also suffered five defeats in contrast to their unbeaten run last year.

Indeed, the lack of a world-class forward was their sole real weakness this term, Juve creating a whole host of chances in midfield but struggling to finish them with clinical regularity.

Star performers
Paul Pogba (Juventus), 20. On the bench at the start of the season, the French box-to-box midfielder quickly tied down a starting place, scoring five goals and even forcing Conte to change the team's system to accommodate him. Having left Manchester United to come to Italy, Pogba gelled perfectly with fellow midfielders Andrea Pirlo – scorer of five free-kicks and still going strong – and Chilean international Arturo Vidal, who registered ten goals and delivered seven assists.

Edinson Cavani (Napoli), 26. The Uruguayan forward topped the scoring charts with 29 strikes from 34 appearances, an average of 0.85 goals per game that had the Partenopei faithful recalling the glory days of Diego Maradona.

Mauro Icardi (Sampdoria), 20. The Argentinian striker came to Sampdoria from the Barcelona youth academy, where he enjoyed the close attention of his friend Lionel Messi. He wasted no time in confirming his potential with a superb debut season in Serie A, plundering ten goals for I Blucerchiati and steering them clear of relegation.

Luis Muriel (Udinese), 22. Capped twice by Colombia, Muriel was partnered with Antonio di Natale for the first time this season – and it was a move that paid off wonderfully. While Di Natale rustled up another 23 goals, Muriel helped supporters forget the departed Alexis Sanchez as he struck 11 in 22 outings.

The stat
3 – Napoli managed just three points from 12 in their games against their two closest rivals, losing 2-0 and drawing 1-1 with Juventus and recording 2-2 and 1-1 draws with AC Milan. That undoubtedly contributed to them missing out on the title.

Key moments
25 August 2012. Juventus kicked off their campaign with a straightforward 2-0 success against Parma. Conte's men made a blistering start to the season, collecting 28 points from a maximum of 30 in their opening ten games and giving themselves an early lead in the standings. Never truly in danger of being caught, they eventually crossed the title threshold with three matches remaining and finished nine points ahead of Napoli and 15 clear of Milan.

20 October 2012. The championship may well have been decided just eight games into the season when Napoli conceded two late goals in a costly 2-0 defeat at Juventus Stadium. Conte won the tactical battle that day as Martin Caceres and Paul Pogba both found the net just moments after coming on as substitutes. Level on points with Juve before the game, Walter Mazzarri's team were never able to close the gap after that.

10 November 2012. Milan experienced several dark days during the early part of the season as they struggled to adapt to life without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, who both left for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. Their 3-1 loss to Fiorentina was an especially worrying loss, and having been beaten for the fourth time they found themselves as low as 13th in the table.

Fortunately for coach Massimiliano Allegri, help was at hand in the shape of 20-year-old forward Stephan El Shaarawy, who turned things around with 16 goals in a short space of time – and who later formed an excellent partnership with Mario Balotelli, scorer of 12 strikes in 13 games after joining in January. Back up to third spot after the 25th round of games, I Rossoneri nonetheless flirted with disaster before beating Siena 2-1 on the final day to grab a place in the UEFA Champions League play-offs.    

19 May 2013. Inter Milan ended a troubled campaign with their 16th reverse of the season and their seventh at home as they were beaten 5-2 by Udinese at the San Siro. Hit hard by injuries and with little to play for in the last few months, Andrea Stramaccioni's charges ultimately finished ninth - 33 points shy of the champions - in one of their worst years in history. Expect major changes as the club prepares for a season without European competition.

At a glance
Qualified for the UEFA Champions League: Juventus, Napoli, AC Milan (play-offs)
Qualified for the UEFA Europa League: Fiorentina, Udinese and the winner of the Coppa Italia final between Lazio and Roma
Relegated to Serie B: Palermo, Siena, Pescara
Promoted to Serie A: Sassuolo, Verona and the winner of the play-off competition, with Brescia facing Livorno and Empoli taking on Novara in the semi-finals.