Serie A Previews: Roma, Siena, Udinese
Read part three of Steve Mitchell’s Serie A previews including AS Roma, Siena and Udinese.
Coach: Walter Zenga
Last season: 8th
In one of this summer’s more unpredictable moves, Zenga has made the short trip across the island from Catania to take up the reigns at their Sicilan rivals. Last season the Rosanero enjoyed a consistent campaign and will be looking to arrive in a European position come next May. Much will depend on their jack in a box goal scorer Fabrizio Miccoli and the outstanding young Uruguayan Edison Cavani. The loss of goalkeeper Marco Amelia has been offset with the arrival of Genoa’s Brazilian shot stopper Rubinho. Impressive home form needs to be followed up by consistent away performances; if this can be achieved then the Sicilians may be one of the season’s surprise packages.
Prediction: In the shake up for a European place.
Coach: Francesco Guidolin
Last season: Promoted from Serie B
A return after just one year away for the Gialloblu but a tough season lies ahead for Guidolin’s men. This summer has seen old warhorse Christian Pannucci arrive on a free transfer from Roma and Varleri Bojinov return to Serie A from Manchester City. Between the posts is another new signing Antonio Mirante who arrives on loan from Sampdoria. 19 year old Alberto Paloschi’s goals last term helped the Ducali to a quick return to the top flight and it will be fascinating to see his development on the biggest stage of his career. It will be a fight for survival for Guidolin and co, a fight that they look destined to lose.
Prediction: Relegation to Serie B.
Coach: Luciano Spalletti
Last season: 6th
Another Serie A club where off field shenanigans have overshadowed the pre season build up as rumours of takeovers make headlines every day in the Italian media. Despite all the turmoil, Spalletti has tried to construct a side able to return to Champions League qualification next term. Stefano Guberti has joined the Giallorossi from Bari as the tactician looks to change to a 4-2-4 formation this season. The sale of midfielder Alberto Aquilani to Liverpool has offset some of the clubs crippling debt problems but still the squad looks a little threadbare for a nine month campaign. Talsiman Francesco Totti will need to keep fit and Daniele De Rossi will need to be at his brilliant best to drive the club forward. Striker Mirko Vucinic has remained at the club despite several offers from the English Premiership and a new goalkeeper should be confirmed before the transfer window closes at the end of August. A top four finish remains doubtful as I Lupe look set to contest the two remaining European berths.
Prediction: A Europa League placing at best.
Coach: Luigi Del Neri
Last season: 13th
A slow start to the last campaign proved costly to the Blucerchiati as an outstanding second half to the season propelled them away from danger but only into mid table mediocrity. One of calcio’s more colourful characters Antonio Cassano will again be at the heart of all things good for Samp. Alongside him will be last season’s scoring sensation Giampaolo Pazzini. A quiet summer in the transfer market has seen left back Luciano Zauri arrive from Fiorentina and Argentinean midfielder Fernando Tissone make the switch from Udinese. One of Serie A’s more entertaining sides, much will rest with the front two to provide the catalyst for an assault on the European places.
Prediction: A top ten placing but no European spot.
Coach: Marco Giampaolo
Last season: 14th
Perennial relegation favourites Siena tore up the form guide last season with a respectable mid table finish. The big plus for the Tuscan minnows is the confirmation of Giampaolo as coach for the new campaign. A tight budget has seen an assortment of loan deals come into the club with Parma hit-man Reginaldo being the most high profile. Securing the services of Michele Paolucci on a co ownership deal with Juventus will strengthen the Robur’s attacking line up considerably. Inspirational captain Simone Vergassola will dictate play from midfield and the Bianconeri look set for another consistent campaign.
Prediction: Another big surprise as the club finish in the top half of the championship.
Coach: Pasquale Marino
Last season: 7th
After a fabulous start to the last campaign, the Zebrette fell away towards Christmas and looked like serious relegation candidates until Marino masterminded a dramatic renaissance that almost culminated in a European spot. The squad is almost unchanged for this campaign but the transfer of striker Fabio Quagliarella to Napoli will slightly weaken the Bianconeri. In his place comes journeyman Bernardo Corradi to play alongside goal machine Antonio Di Natale and Simone Pepe in a front three. The team is based around midfield playmaker Gaetano D’Agostino, subject of much summer transfer speculation. Consistency will be the key this term and if the Friuli side build up a head of steam, don’t be surprised if they pinch a European place this time around.
Prediction: Battling for a European spot.