Football Article

Italian Serie A Season Preview

The 2010/2011 Italian Serie A season kicks off this weekend, so here’s everything you need to know about every club competing in the division ahead of the new campaign.

Ibra heads back to Milan... but to AC>

AC Milan

Last season; 3rd (20-10-8)’‘Most goals; Marco Borriello (14)'’Most assists; Ronaldinho (14)’‘Key Ins'’Zlatan Ibrahimovic (FC Barcelona – Loan), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Portsmouth), Marco Amelia (Genoa – Loan), Mario Yepes (Chievo Verona), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Genoa)’‘Key Outs'’Marco Storari (Juventus), Giuseppe Favalli (released), Matteo Darmian (Palermo – Co-ownership)’‘Coach; Massimiliano Allegri'’Key player; Alessandro Nesta’‘Player to watch; Zlatan IbrahimovicNew Milan boss Allegri has been busy late in the transfer window acquiring Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a move which may give fans hope of a first Scudetto since 2004. Milan, though, possess an ageing squad, so players like Alexandre Pato will need to step up.Sports Pundit prediction; 2ndBariLast season; 10th (13-11-14)'’Most goals; Barreto (14)’‘Key Ins'’Sergio Almiron (Juventus – Co-ownership), Abdelkader Ghezzal (Siena - Co-ownership), Marco D’Alessandro (AS Roma – Loan), Andrea Raggi (Palermo – Loan)’‘Key Outs'’Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Andrea Ranocchia (Genoa – Loan Return), Riccardo Meggiorini (Bologna)’‘Coach; Giampiero Ventura'’Key player; Sergio Almiron’‘Player to watch; Edgar AlvarezDefence was the key to Bari’s success last term in their first season back in the top flight. Having lost their key central defensive duo they’ll need to re-build but under the wise stewardship of Ventura and with Almiron re-signed, they should avoid the drop.Sports Pundit prediction; 16thBolognaLast season; 17th (10-12-16)'’Most goals; Marco Di Vaio (12)’‘Key Ins'’Cristiano Lupatelli (Cagliari), Riccardo Meggiorini (Genoa – Co-ownership), Rene Krhin (Internazionale – Co-ownership), Albin Ekdal (Juventus - Co-ownership)’‘Key Outs'’Marcelo Zalayeta (Napoli – Loan Return), Andrea Raggi (Palermo – Loan Return), Roberto Guana (Palermo – Loan Return)’‘Coach; Franco Colomba'’Key player; Marco Di Vaio’‘Player to watch; Rene KrhinAfter taking over at Bologna last October, Colomba steered the Rossoblu narrowly to safety but another relegation battle could be on the cards. They’ve bolstered their squad with several youngsters, while they haven’t lost much.Sports Pundit prediction; 18th’’

Another battle for Bologna?>


Last season; 3rd (21-9-12), promoted via playoffs’‘Most goals; Andrea Caracciolo (25)'’Key Ins’‘Matteo Sereni (Torino), Eder (Empoli), Alessandro Diamanti (West Ham)'’Key Outs’‘Libor Kozak (Lazio – Loan Return)'’Coach; Giuseppe Iachini’‘Key player; Andrea Caracciolo'’Player to watch; Eder

Experienced boss Iachini has the task of taking Brescia back towards the days of Roberto Baggio. It won’t be easy for Brescia, but following the shrewd moves for Diamanti from West Ham and Eder from Empoli where he top scored in Serie B last term, there’s reason for plenty of hope.

Sports Pundit prediction; 19th


Last season; 16th (11-11-16)’‘Most goals; Alessandro Matri (13)'’Most assists; Andrea Cossu (12)’‘Key Ins'’Robert Acquafresca (Genoa – Loan), Ivan Pelizzoli (Lokomotiv Moscow), Lorenzo Auriado (Juventus – Co-ownership)’‘Key Outs'’Cristiano Lupatelli (Bologna), Lino Marzoratti (Empoli), Daniele Dessena (Sampdoria – Loan Return)’‘Coach; Pierpaolo Bisoli'’Key player; Andrea Cossu’‘Player to watch; Robert AcquafrescaCagliari fans had hoped their side would push on last term, but it all went pear-shaped in the second-half of last term under the departed Massimiliano Allegri. Confidence will have been hurt by their fall but there’s still plenty of talent at the Sant’Elia especially following the return of Acquafresca. It won’t be easy for Bisoli but they should finish midtable.Sports Pundit prediction; 13thCataniaLast season; 13th (10-15-13)'’Most goals; Maxi Lopez (11)’‘Most assists; Giuseppe Mascara (6)'’Key Ins’‘Alejandro Darío Gómez (San Lorenzo), Giovanni Marchese (Chievo Verona – Permanent)'’Key Outs’‘Jorge Martinez (Juventus), Gennaro Sardo (Chievo Verona – Permanent)'’Coach; Marco Giampaolo’‘Key player; Giuseppe Mascara'’Player to watch; Alejandro Dario Gomez

Giampaolo as manager takes over from the departed Sinisa Mihaljovic who worked wonders restoring the Elephants confidence and steering them clear of the drop. He’ll be a difficult act to follow and Catania have lost quality in Jorge Martinez. If they’re to stay up they’ll need to improve their poor away record.

Sports Pundit prediction; 14th

Can Catania push on?>


Last season; 2nd in Serie B (20-14-8)’‘Most goals; Guilherme de Prado (9)'’Key Ins’‘Steve von Bergen (Hertha BSC), Erjon Bogdani (Chievo Verona), Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo – Loan), Odion Ighalo (Udinese – Loan), Ezequiel Schelotto (Atalanta – Loan), Fabio Caserta (Atalanta – Loan), Stephen Appiah (Bologna), Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Genoa – Loan), Diego Cavalieri (Liverpool)'’Key Outs’‘Dario Biasi (Cagliari), Ivan Franceschini (released), Guilherme de Prado (Southampton - Loan)'’Coach; Massimo Ficcadenti’‘Key player; Ezequiel Schelotto'’Player to watch; Yuto Nagatomo

Cesena return to Serie A after almost two decades away, but they’ve got a big challenge staying up. Boss Ficcadenti has bolstered the squad which finished second in Serie B last term with several signings and it’ll be a wait-and-see job with the Seahorses.

Sports Pundit prediction; 20th

Chievo Verona

Last season; 14th (12-8-18)’‘Most goals; Sergio Pellissier (11)'’Key Ins’‘Roberto Guana (Palermo – Loan), Bojan Jokić (Sochaux – Permanent), Boštjan Cesar (Grenoble), Gennaro Sardo (Catania – Permanent), Mariano Bogliacino (Napoli – Loan)'’Key Outs’‘Mario Yepes (AC Milan), Giovanni Marchese (Catania – Permanent), Erjon Bogdani (Cesena)'’Coach; Stefano Pioli’‘Key player; Luciano'’Player to watch; Simone Bentivoglio

Boss Domenico Di Carlo and star defender Mario Yepes have left Verona, but the Flying Donkeys apper a stable club these days despite their relative size compared to some of Serie A’s big boys. New manager Pioli has done well in Italy’s lower divisions and should be able to guide them to a lower-midtable place.

Sports Pundit prediction; 15th

Pressure's on Gilardino>


Last season; 11th (13-8-17)’‘Most goals; Alberto Gilardino (15)'’Most assists; Stevan Jovetic (7)’‘Key Ins'’Artur Boruc (Celtic), Gaetano D’Agostino (Udinese), Felipe (Udinese – Permanent), Alessio Cerci (AS Roma)’‘Key Outs'’Massimo Gobbi (Parma), Jefferson (Eupen – Loan)’‘Coach; Sinisa Mihaljovic'’Key player; Sebastien Frey’‘Player to watch; Riccardo MontolivoMihaljovic takes over in Florence after a relatively disappointing campaign despite a decent Champions League run. A lot of goalscoring responsibility will fall on Gilardino’s shoulders, but the additions of D’Agostino and Felipe are decent. There’s quality in the Fiorentina squad, but probably not enough for a top four push.Sports Pundit prediction; 7thGenoaLast season; 9th (14-9-15)'’Most goals; Rodrigo Palacio (7)’‘Most assists; Rodrigo Palacio (7)'’Key Ins’‘Miguel Veloso (Sporting Lisbon), Eduardo (Braga), Luca Toni (Bayern Munich), Andrea Ranocchia (Internazionale – Loan), Chico (Almeria), Franco Zuculini (Hoffenheim – Loan), Rafinha (Schalke 04 - Loan)'’Key Outs’‘Marco Amelia (AC Milan – Loan), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (AC Milan), Alberto Zapater (Sporting Lisbon), Robert Acquafresca (Cagliari – Loan)'’Coach; Gian Piero Gasperini’‘Key player; Andrea Ranocchia'’Player to watch; Raffaele Palladino

Il Grifoni remain very ambitious in Serie A and this summer they’ve spent big making some major signings including Italy striker Luca Toni, Portugal international Miguel Veloso and keeper Eduardo. Gasperini will need to get the team to gel, but finding someone to score regularly on the road will be the key along with sorting out their leaky defence after conceding 61 goals last term.

Sports Pundit prediction; 11th

Can Inter retain the title?>


Last season; Champions (24-10-4)’‘Most goals; Diego Milito (22)'’Most assists; Maicon (11)’‘Key Ins'’Jonathan Biabiany (Parma)’‘Key Outs'’Mario Balotelli (Manchester City), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), Francesco Toldo (released), Nicolas Burdisso (AS Roma), Victor Obinna (West Ham – Loan)’‘Coach; Rafa Benitez'’Key player; Diego Milito’‘Player to watch; Wesley SneijderJose Mourinho may have departed but Rafa Benitez inherits a squad brimming with quality with Lucio, Maicon and Julio Cesar in defence, coupled with attacking threats like Wesley Sneijder, Samuel Eto’o and Diego Milito. Besides for Mourinho and Balotelli, there’s few changes at the Nerazzurri and they should be leading the Scudetto race. *Sports Pundit prediction; ChampionsJuventusLast season; 7th (16-7-15)'’Most goals; Alessandro Del Piero (9)’‘Most assists; Diego (7)'’Key Ins’‘Fabio Quagliarella (Napoli), Milos Krasic (CSKA Moscow), Alberto Aquilani (Liverpool - Loan), Simone Pepe (Udinese - Loan), Leonardo Bonucci (Bari), Jorge Martinez (Catania), Davide Lanzafame (Palermo – Loan)'’Key Outs’‘Diego (VfL Wolfsburg), Fabio Cannavaro (Al-Ahli Dubai), Cristian Molinaro (VfB Stuttgart), Sebastian Giovinco (Parma), David Trezeguet (Hercules), Christian Poulsen (Liverpool)'’Coach; Luigi Del Neri’‘Key player; Giorgio Chiellini'’Player to watch; Milos Krasic*

After a season to forget, it’s been all change at the Old Lady with plenty of money spent on big-name signings. Aquilani, Pepe, Bonucci and Quagliarella are proven at this level while they’ve allowed some talent to move on including veteran Cannavaro whose departure is a blow. Realistically they should be back challenging for the top four if they can find a goalscorer to support Del Piero.

Sports Pundit prediction; 4th

Some big additions in Turin>


Last season; 12th (11-13-14)’‘Most goals; Sergio Floccari (12)'’Most assists; Tommaso Rocchi (5)’‘Key Ins'’Hernanes (Sao Paulo), Javier Garrido (Manchester City), Mark Bresciano (Palermo), Álvaro González (Nacional), Pablo Pintos (San Lorenzo)’‘Key Outs'’Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City), Tomas Hitzlsperger (West Ham), Juan Pablo Carrizo (River Plate – Loan), Luciano Zauri (Sampdoria - Loan)’‘Coach; Edy Reja'’Key player; Mauro Zarate’‘Player to watch; HernanesBrazilian star Hernanes is the big addition in Rome but Lazio fans know these days they can’t really compete for the Scudetto due to financial constraints. There’s been some major departures which mean Lazio may struggle to improve on last season’s midtable finish.Sports Pundit prediction; 12thLecceLast season; Champions in Serie B (20-15-7)'’Most goals; Daniele Corvia (17)’‘Key Ins'’Javier Chevanton (Sevilla), Ignacio Piatti (Independiente), Carlos Grossmuller (Lecce), Rubén Olivera (Penarol), Giulio Donati (Internazionale – Loan), Tore Reginiussen (Schalke 04 – Loan)’‘Key Outs'’Guido Marilungo (Sampdoria), Daniele Cacia (Piacenza – Loan), Alain Beclet (Vicenza – Co-ownership), Ângelo (released)’‘Coach; Luigi De Canio'’Key player; Guillermo Giacomazzi’‘Player to watch; Javier ChevantonLecce bounced straight back into Italy’s top flight last term after relegation the season before. After a slow start in Serie B they found their stride and were atop the division for most of the campaign. Corvia and Marilungo scored a lot of goals last term but the latter has left, but De Canio has made some interesting signings including Uruguayan forward Chevanton. A relegation battle beckons.Sports Pundit prediction; 17th’’

Napoli hoping for top four>


Last season; 6th (15-14-9)’‘Most goals; Marek Hamsik (12)'’Most assists; Ezequiel Lavezzi (6)’‘Key Ins'’Edinson Cavani (Palermo), Cristian Lucarelli (Parma - Loan)’‘Key Outs'’Luca Cigarini (Sevilla – Loan), Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus), Mariano Bogliacino (Chievo Verona – Loan), Nicolás Navarro (Argentinos Juniors), German Denis (Udinese)’‘Coach; Walter Mazzarri'’Key player; Marek Hamsik’‘Player to watch; Edinson CavaniAfter a superb top six finish last term, Napoli showed some real ambition when they signed World Cup star Edinson Cavani. But the sale of Quagliarella shows the reality of the situation as they battle to contend. Nevertheless, Mazzarri has plenty of quality including Slovakian star Marek Hamsik and they could be a surprise again.Sports Pundit prediction; 5thPalermoLast season; 5th (18-11-9)'’Most goals; Fabrizio Miccoli (19)’‘Most assists; Fabrizio Miccoli & Fabio Liverani (8)'’Key Ins’‘Ezequiel Munoz (Boca Juniors), Massimo Maccarone (Siena), Santiago García (Rosario Central), Matteo Darmian (AC Milan – Co-ownership)'’Key Outs’‘Edinson Cavani (Napoli), Simon Kjær (VfL Wolfsburg), Fabio Simplicio (AS Roma), Mark Bresciano (Lazio), Davide Lanzafame (Juventus – Loan)'’Coach; Delio Rossi’‘Key player; Fabrizio Miccoli'’Player to watch; Javier Pastore

Palermo reached dizzy heights last season but just fell short of Champions League qualification. Delio Rossi worked wonders in Sicily but it’ll be difficult to back it up following the loss of key men such as Kjaer and Cavani. There’s plenty of talent but it’ll be difficult to retain their consistency.

Sports Pundit prediction; 9th


Last season; 8th (14-10-14)’‘Most goals; Valeri Bojinov (8)'’Key Ins’‘Valeri Bojinov (Manchester City – Permanent), Massimo Gobbi (Fiorentina), Gabriel Paletta (Boca Juniors), Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus), Antonio Mirante (Sampdoria – Permanent)'’Key Outs’‘Daniele Paponi (Bologna – Co-ownership), Alberto Galuppo (Cesena – Co-ownership), Filipe Oliveira (Torino – Loan), Marco Rossi (Bari – Loan)'’Coach; Pasquale Marino’‘Key player; Sebastian Giovinco'’Player to watch; Valeri Bojinov

Parma exceeded all expectations on their return to Serie A last season finishing in top-half. There’s every chance they could repeat that effort as they’ve retained their key players from last season, but bolstered with talents such as Giovinco and Gobbi. Another good season is on the cards.

Sports Pundit prediction; 9th

Roma's big gamble>

AS Roma

Last season; Runners-up (24-8-6)’‘Most goals; Francesco Totti & Mirko Vucinic (14)'’Most assists; David Pizarro (8)’‘Key Ins'’Adriano (Flamengo), Fabio Simplicio (Palermo), Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan), Cicinho (Sao Paulo – Loan Return)’‘Key Outs'’Luca Toni (Bayern Munich – Loan Return), Marco Motta (Udinese), Artur (Braga), Alessio Cerci (Fiorentina)’‘Coach; Claudio Ranieri'’Key player; David Pizarro’‘Player to watch; Jeremy MenezRoma fans will be excited by what boss Claudio Ranieri can do with a full season in charge, especially if he can fix their unconvincing defence. Sealing the signature of Burdisso is a big plus, but a lot depends on the success of Brazilian gamble Adriano. Roma can press for the title, but it’ll take a lot to go their way.Sports Pundit prediction; 3rdSampdoriaLast season; 4th (19-10-9)'’Most goals; Giampaolo Pazzini (19)’‘Most assists; Antonio Cassano (8)'’Key Ins’‘Gianluca Curci (Siena), Nicola Pozzi (Empoli – Permanent), Daniele Dessena (Cagliari – Loan Return), Simone Zaza (Atalanta)'’Key Outs’‘Luca Castellazzi (Internazionale), Marco Storari (AC Milan – Loan Return), Antonio Mirante (Parma – Permanent)'’Coach; Domenico Di Carlo’‘Key player; Antonio Cassano'’Player to watch; Angelo Palombo

Sampdoria’s star men hold the key to their success with Cassano, Palombo and Pazzini hoping to fire them into the top four again. Missing out on the Champions League in qualifying already will re-ignite the fire. Di Carlo has a tough job keeping Sampdoria in the top four, but he’s got some talent to help him.

Sports Pundit prediction; 6th

Enigmatic Cassano>


Last season; 15th (11-11-16)’‘Most goals; Antonio Di Natale (29)'’Most assists; Mauricio Isla (8)’‘Key Ins'’German Denis (Napoli), Almen Abdi (Le Mans)’‘Key Outs'’Simone Pepe (Juventus - Loan), Gaetano D’Agostino (Fiorentina), Marco Motta (Juventus - Loan), Aleksandar Luković (Zenit St Petersburg), Felipe (Fiorentina – Permanent)’‘Coach; Francesco Guidolin'’Key player; Antonio Di Natale’‘Player to watch; ?Italian striker Di Natale kept Udinese single-handedly in Serie A last term with 29 goals. If they’re to avoid another relegation battle they’ll need to improve their away form after just one win on the road last season. They’ve lost key players Pepe, Lukovic, Motta and D’Agostino in a blow to their ambitions with Denis the only major addition.Sports Pundit prediction; 10th’’

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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