Cassano's Serie A Season Preview- 2008/2009!

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Cassano, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Cassano

    Cassano Member

    Jul 16, 2004
    AC Milan
    Nat'l Team:
    Another terrible Fox Soccer Channel Serie A preview show has once again motivated me to create my own Serie A season preview. I hope I did a better job. It's in alphabetical order, and everyday I'll add some more. Here's clubs A through C.


    The Orobici look to confirm themselves as a good mid-table Serie A side and get rid of the yo-yo club reputation they have had to carry for years. Last season Atalanta finished a very respectable 9th place, only 2 points away from an Intertoto place. Manager Gigi Del Neri likes to play a strict defensive 4-4-2 that relies on good counter-attacking play and the technical ability of Cristiano Doni, who when in form is very difficult to stop and can work magic with the ball. The problem with Doni is that sometimes he lets his emotions get the best of him and he is frequently suspended due to yellow card accumulation or red cards. To satisfy this problem, Atalanta has brought in Chilean attacking midfielder Jamie Valdes on a free transfer. He will most likely be Doni’s sub and understudy. Atalanta made some other good buys, bringing in Austrian right back Gyorgy Garics from Napoli and securing U21 and Roma youth product Alessio Cerci on loan. Cerci, a versatile player who can play in almost any attacking position, has loads of talent and is coming off an impressive year with Pisa in Serie B. Look for him to raise eyebrows. Another notable acquisition was Christian Vieri, who will most likely be used as a sub. The Atalanta fans didn’t want him but Vieri can provide valuable experience and a handful of goals. Italy U21 keeper Andrea Consigli was brought in to fight for a starting spot with Ferdinando Coppola. The coup of Atalanta’s transfer campaign however was securing Italy U21 midfielder Luca Cigarini on a co-ownership deal. Cigarini has loads of potential and will direct Atalanta’s midfield. Up front Sergio Floccari, who seems to improve every season, will look to have a big year. Midfielders Simone Padoin and Tiberio Guarante also come off impressive seasons. Atalanta have put together a really good squad and barring a disaster they should finish comfortably mid-table yet again.

    Manager: Luigi Del Neri

    Best Buy: Luca Cigarini- The Italy U21 midfielder has loads of potential and has been likened to Andrea Pirlo for the way he controls the play of the team. He should have a good year.

    Probable Formation (4-4-1-1): Coppola; GARICS, Rivalta, Pellegrino, Bellini; Ferreira Pinto, Guarente, CIGARINI, Padoin; Doni; Floccari.


    Bologna return to Serie A after 3 seasons in Serie B. The management have invested around 20 million euro on new signings to assure the Rossoblu stay in Serie A. Manager Daniele Arrigoni likes to play a 4-4-2 and relies on experienced players to get the job done (the average age of the Bologna squad must be sky high). Bologna were the leaders in Serie B for a while last season but towards the end were overtaken by Chievo. They also had a proven goalscorer in Massimo Marazzina who hit a good number of goals. The whole squad has been revamped. Francesco Antonioli is still an excellent goalkeeper at his old age and Bologna can rely on the former Roma keeper to make some good saves. In defense Cristiano Zenoni and Salvatore Lanna have been brought in to defend the flanks, while Britos has been brought in to shore up the center. In midfield, Bologna did a great job in securing the services of Sergio Volpi, who knows how to control the midfield and dictate the tempo. Brazilian Coelho has been likened to Cafu and will play on the wing. Belgian midfielder Gaby Mudingayi was brought in from Lazio to be the workhorse in midfield. Up front, target man Marco Bernacci was brought from Ascoli after a very impressive year in Serie B and experienced striker Marco Di Vaio was bought from Genoa to provide experience and goals up front. On the bench there are some decent players, like Brazilian attacking midfielder Adailton who has a magical left foot, experienced midfielders Davide Bombardini and Christian Amoroso, and defenders Vangelis Moras and Claudio Terzi. Bologna aim to avoid the drop and with their squad it is doable.

    Manager: Daniele Arrigoni

    Best Buy: Sergio Volpi- the center midfielder has been one of the most consistent players in Serie A over the years and brings tons of experience and playmaking ability to Bologna’s midfield.

    Probable Formation (4-4-2): Antonioli; C. ZENONI, Castellini, BRITOS, LANNA; COELHO, VOLPI, MUDINGAYI, Valiani; Marazzina, DI VAIO.


    What can we say about Cagliari. The Sardinian side quite simply performed a miracle last season. After looking all set for the drop, Davide Ballardini was called in to take charge and led the squad (with key performances from Conti, Cossu, and Acquafresca) to a magical salvation. However owner Massimo Cellino is known to be a little on the crazy side and did not renew Ballardini’s contract this summer. Instead, he brought in ex-player Massimiliano Allegri to manage the squad. Last year Allegri led tiny northern club Sassuolo to a surprising promotion to Serie B. For the most part, Cagliari has not changed much at all. The starting line-up will be exactly the same as last season except for the goalkeeper, Federico Marchetti, who was brought in after a good season with Albinoleffe. Other new signings were 21 year old defender Davide Astori, and 24 year old midfielder Andrea Lazzari, who was one of the best midfielders in Serie B last season. The surprise of the season could be 17 year old striker Daniele Ragatzu, who has been impressive in the preseason. Otherwise, Cagliari will look towards their experienced players to pull off another salvation. Lopez and Canini should put together a good central defensive pairing, while Davide Biondini, Andrea Parola, and captain Daniele Conti will do all the work in midfield. The creative duties will be handed to Andrea Cossu. Cossu, a Cagliari native, was on loan at Serie C1 side Hellas Verona last season but was called back to base in January. He was placed into the starting line-up by Ballardini and immediately became an integral part of the Cagliari side, making countless assists, dribbles, and scoring crucial goals. He will look to have another good year. Up front Robert Acquafresca is back (on loan from Inter) and will have to confirm himself as a promising talent after netting 10 goals last season. He will most likely be partnered by Brazilian striker Jeda, who had a good year as well. On the bench are Alessandro Matri (who I still think is not a Serie A caliber player) and Argentine Joaquin Larrivey (who still has yet to impress). Cagliari’s inactivity in the transfer market may come back to haunt them as the season goes on, and they may not be able to perform another miracle.

    Manager: Massimiliano Allegri

    Best Buy: Andrea Lazzari- The young midfielder is very versatile and can play any position in midfield. He was one of the best midfielders in Serie B last season with Grosseto and should be able to confirm himself as a good Serie A player.

    Probable Formation (4-3-1-2): MARCHETTI; Pisano, Lopez, Canini, Agostini; Biondini, Conti, Parola; Cossu; Acquafresca, Jeda.


    The Sicilian side looks to have a good season after narrowly avoiding relegation the last two seasons. Walter Zenga seems to be very focused and really wants to turn Catania into a good midtable side instead of fighting for relegation. Catania, with the sale of Juan Vargas, made a good amount of money to spend on the transfer market and spent it wisely. Two Argentine midfielders were brought in- Ezequiel Carboni from Red Bull Salzburg and Pablo Ledesma from Boca Juniors. Both midfielders will play defensive roles in front of the defense. Zenga used his knowledge of Romanian football to bring in attacking midfielder Niculae Dica. Dica is a very technical player who can make the difference on a small Serie A side like Catania and should have a good year, especially when you have another technical player like Giuseppe Mascara playing right next to you. Mascara has been the talisman of this side, at times he can do things that are world class, but other times he can look like a Serie D player. Giacomo Tedesco is another player with excellent technique but he is also a very dirty player and gets in trouble with the referee often. Up front young striker Michele Paolucci was brought in to prove himself, and Zenga has shown faith in him during the preseason. However on the bench there is the experience of Gionatha Spinesi, who is a natural goalscorer. In midfield Davide Baiocco is the workhorse and inspirational captain. However the one thing that doesn’t convince me is the defense, which could have used an experienced central defender. Also in net it is unclear whether Zenga will go with Bizzarri, Polito, or new signing Kosicki. But then again Zenga, a former goalkeeper, should make a good decision in that department. All in all, Catania have a side capable of finishing comfortably midtable.

    Manager: Walter Zenga

    Best Buy: Niculae Dica- The Romanian attacking midfielder was handed the number 10 shirt by Giuseppe Mascara because he is so talented. If he can adapt to Italian football Catania will have a very good player on their hands.

    Probable Formation (4-2-3-1):
    Bizzarri; Sardo, Terlizzi, Stovini, Sabato; CARBONI, LEDESMA; Mascara, DICA, Gia. Tedesco; PAOLUCCI.


    The Flying Donkeys are back in Serie A after a year in purgatory. Manager Beppe Iachini (who is known for always wearing a hat) will take charge of a Serie A side for the first time, and will most probably play a 4-3-3. In goal Stefano Sorrentino returns to Italy after trying some experiences abroad. In defense Nicholas Frey (yes, brother of Viola keeper Sebastian Frey) has been brought in from Modena. Chievo also signed some interesting Serie B players. Emmanuele D’Anna joins after an impressive year with Pisa while Bogdan Patrascu (played under Iachini at Piacenza) has been signed as well. The real coups of the transfer market came a couple of days ago. Chievo made a double deal with Udinese, bringing in Giampiero Pinzi and Antonio Langella. Pinzi has always been a hardworking midfielder who will fit well into the Chievo midfield while Langella, despite being signed by Udinese this summer, was quickly sent to Chievo as he realized he would get little playing time in Udine. Langella is coming off an excellent season at Atalanta and will look to continue his impressive form. Some of the names you will probably recognize, as Moro, Mandelli, and Malago’ were all part of Chievo’s last stint in Serie A. Marcolini and Bentivoglio will start in midfield. Keep an eye on Simone Bentivoglio, he is a classic “regista” who knows how to control the tempo in midfield. Up front Chievo will rely on the goals of captain Sergio Pellissier, and the attacking ability of Luciano, who has been with Chievo since their miracle 2001/2002 season. On the bench there is also Nigerian striker and Olympic silver medalist Victor Obinna, but he may leave before the transfer window ends. Albanian striker Erjon Bogdani will provide a good attacking threat off the bench, and is excellent in the air. The big news for Chievo is that before the transfer window ends Kerlon may arrive on loan. Kerlon is the young Brazilian player that is famous for the “seal dribble” (he balances the ball on his head and runs around the field, which means the only way to stop him is to foul him). Inter look set to buy him and then send him on loan to Chievo for experience. We’ll see if it happens. Chievo are back and avoiding relegation is their main priority. They should be able to do it.

    Manager: Giuseppe Iachini

    Best Buy: Antonio Langella- The skillful winger arrives from Udinese and will look to continue where he left off last season. If he can get into form Chievo will have made an excellent acquisition.

    Probable Formation (4-3-3): SORRENTINO; Moro, Mandelli, FREY, Malagò; Marcolini, Bentivoglio, PINZI; LANGELLA, Pellissier, Luciano.
  2. bioskope

    bioskope Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    AS Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    you are indeed the ********ing man.
  3. Cassano

    Cassano Member

    Jul 16, 2004
    AC Milan
    Nat'l Team:
    F through L


    2007/2008 was a good year for Viola fans. Well, it wasn’t just a good year, it was a great year. Fiorentina, led by great performances from key players like Frey, Gamberini, Montolivo, and Mutu, ended the season in 4th place, gaining Champions League qualification for the first time since the days of Batistuta and reaching the semi-final of the UEFA Cup. There’s lots of enthusiasm around Florence, and the Delle Valle family has done a great job turning this club into a contender again. Fiorentina arguably had the best transfer market of any team in Italy, strengthening their squad in all areas (except for center defense, but one may arrive before the window ends) and are ready to compete in Serie A and in Europe. Of course it always helps when you have a transfer genius like Pantaleo Corvino working for you. The biggest name to arrive was of course Alberto Gilardino. Prandelli managed Gila at Parma and will look to get the best out of the World Cup winning striker. At Milan Gila lacked confidence and was never the player we saw at Parma, but at Fiorentina he is the main man and feels loved, which means we’ll have a confident Gilardino and we may see the player we saw a couple of years ago. Also he’ll get help from Adrian Mutu, who in my book was the best foreign player in Serie A last season. Mutu is the true talisman of this squad, and when he’s in form he’s a joy to watch and Fiorentina can beat anyone. The most important thing Fiorentina did this summer was convince Mutu to stay. On the bench there is Giampaolo Pazzini, who had a difficult year last season goalscoring wise, but did a lot of hard work for the team. He has been playing well in preseason and should be a great option for Prandelli this season. In goal they can always rely on Sebastian Frey, who is one of the best goalkeepers in Serie A and his cat-like reflexes allow him to perform jaw-dropping saves. In defense Alessandro Gamberini had an excellent year last season, showing that he has the potential to be the next great Italian defender. Fiorentina could’ve tried harder to find a really good partner for him this summer, but as I said one may arrive before the end of the transfer market. One area that has been completely strengthened is the fullbacks. Fiorentina brought in Juan Vargas from Catania, Gianluca Comotto from Torino, and Luciano Zauri from Lazio. Vargas was easily the best left-back in Serie A last season. The Peruvian likes to get forward and attack, but he can also defend. He also has an awesome left foot which guarantees a couple of goals every season. Gianluca Comotto is a hardworking player who never stops running, during a game you’ll see him constantly motoring up and down the wing. Luciano Zauri is experienced and provides excellent defensive cover, even if he’s not as good offensively as Vargas and Comotto. With all the competition left-back Manuel Pasqual may be on the way out before the window ends. In midfield, Fiorentina lost their director in Fabio Liverani but bought two players to make up for it. Felipe Melo arrives from Spanish side Almeria, and Sergio Almiron arrives from Juventus. When I watched Felipe in Fiorentina’s Champions League qualifier, I was very impressed. He may very well be the revelation of the season. He is a player that knows how to dominate the midfield: he can break up plays but has very good technique. Then there’s Riccardo Montolivo. For years we’ve been hearing that he’s the next great Italian midfielder, and for years we’ve waited for it to show. Last season we saw glimpses, as he started out very well then dropped off in form, but he picked up towards the end of the season. This season should be the year of his consecration. Zvradko Kuzmanovic is also improving rapidly and should be another excellent option in midfield for La Viola. Another surprise could be young Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic. The 19 year old attacking midfield arrives from Partizan Belgrade and has been compared to Roberto Baggio. He probably won’t see so much time (Prandelli said it himself) but he will get his chance to make a contribution. To sum it up, Fiorentina did an excellent job this summer and if they fire on all cylinders there is no reason why they shouldn’t challenge for a top 4 spot in Serie A and even getting out of the group stage in the Champions League.

    Manager: Cesare Prandelli

    Best Buy: Felipe Melo- I could’ve said Gila but I have to go with Felipe. The Brazilian midfielder is extremely talented and could become one of the top midfielders in Serie A.

    Probable Formation (4-3-2-1): Frey; COMOTTO (ZAURI), Kroldrup, Gamberini, VARGAS; Kuzmanovic, FELIPE, Montolivo; Santana, Mutu, GILARDINO.


    Last season was Genoa’s first season in Serie A since the mid-90’s and they didn’t let down their fans. Led by the goalscoring of Marco Borriello, the squad exceeded expectations and finished in the top half of the table. Gian Piero Gasperini showed that he is one of the top up-and-coming managers in Serie A. He plays a 3-4-3, relying on the two outside midfielders to run up and down the wing all game. Even though Genoa lost their top scorer in Borriello, Genoa did an excellent job on the transfer market, strengthening their squad in all areas. In goal is the Brazilian Rubinho, who did very well last season. Defense is a department where they revamped completely. Matteo Ferrari was signed on a free transfer and will look to be the leader in defense (although he suffers from lapses of concentration many times). Domenico Criscito, who played for Gasperini in the Juventus youth team, will start on defense and look to impress this season after Juventus sent him away to gain more experience. Giuseppe Biava was brought in from Palermo, and right back and former Italy U21 captain Alessandro Potenza was signed from Fiorentina. Salvatore Bocchetti, who played with Italy at the Olympics, also was signed. From Greece 20 year old central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos (who probably has the longest name in Serie A) has been signed. He has drawn comparisons to Fabio Cannavaro. Moving to the flanks, Gasperini got the wingers he needed. Giandomenico Mesto, who has long been one of the most consistent right backs in Italy, was signed from Udinese and will start on the right. Mesto never tires and likes to get forward and join the attack. On the opposite side Francesco Modesto was signed from Reggina. Modesto has been impressive in Reggio Calabria (he was linked with Roma all of last summer) and is also very good going forward but better defensively than Mesto. In midfield Genoa will rely on the inspirational play of captain Marco Rossi, who can literally play anywhere on the pitch. They also have a hardman in the form of Croatian midfielder Ivan Juric. Promising young attacking midfielder Davide Di Gennaro was signed on a co-ownership deal from Milan as part of the Borriello sale. Up front, Gasperini signed two former pupils of his from his Juventus youth team days: Andrea Gasbarroni and Raffaele Palladino. Gasbarroni is incredibly talented yet incredibly inconsistent. Maybe Gasperini will know how to motivate him. Palladino has long been touted as one of the best young talents in Italy, but could find no space at Juventus and therefore this will be the year where he will have to confirm himself. He really knows how to beat a defender one on one and should be a valuable asset for the Rossoblu. The big story of the preseason is Ruben Olivera. The former Juventus player was signed this summer and moved to a new position (striker) by Gasperini, where he has been flourishing. Maybe he will make the Grifone fans forget about Borriello. If all the new signings can come together and work as a team, this squad is very good and could be good enough to even reach a UEFA spot.

    Manager: Gian Piero Gasperini

    Best Buy: Raffaele Palladino- Palladino is extremely talented and if Gasperini can get the best out of him he can make the difference.

    Probable Formation (3-4-3): Rubinho; FERRARI, PAPASTATHOPOULOS, Criscito; MESTO, Rossi, Juric, MODESTO; GASBARRONI, OLIVERA, PALLADINO.


    Of course the biggest story of the summer for Inter has been Jose Mourinho. The egotistical Portuguese manager has made his way to Serie A, and will take charge of last season’s Scudetto winners. Inter will look to win their 3rd consecutive Scudetto but what would make owner Massimo Moratti really happy would be a Champions League success. Inter didn’t really make big moves on the market at all (if it ain’t broke don’t fix it), but brought back Adriano from his Brazilian rehab session, signed Amantino Mancini from Roma, and bought Sulley Muntari from Portsmouth. Mourinho really wanted Lampard, but the English midfielder decided to stay in London with Chelsea. Mourinho as also asked for Porto winger Ricardo Quaresma, but Moratti has been unwilling to open his wallet. However you never know and he may arrive before the transfer deadline. Mourinho looks set to play a 4-3-3, although once Adriano comes back from injury he may decide to test a 4-2-3-1. In goal there is Julio Cesar, who has confirmed himself as one of the best shotstoppers in Italy. In defense Maicon is one of the most consistent performers in Serie A, making marauding runs down the right flank. On the other side Maxwell will start on the left, and has always been extremely underrated. In the center we will most probably see a Chivu-Samuel partnership with Materazzi, Cordoba, and Rivas as other options. Also as we saw Cambiasso could play at the back in emergency situations. In the center there will be influential captain Javier Zanetti, along with the aforementioned Estaban Cambiasso and new signing Sulley Muntari, who seems to have fit in very well into Mourinho’s plans. There is also Dejan Stankovic who will contribute from the bench and we can’t forget Patrick Vieira, who is currently injured but once he gets back he should figure in a starting role. Chilean attacking midfielder Luis Jimenez, who played well last season, will most probably play a bit-part role. In attack Luis Figo looked all set to retire but the arrival of Mourinho convinced the former Golden Ball winner to stay for another season. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will also work his magic up front, and new signing Mancini will work on the left wing. Mancini’s problem has always been poor confidence and inconsistency and we’ll have to see if Mourinho can get the best out of him. Then on the bench there is the always reliable Julio Cruz, who is great at coming off the bench and scoring goals, and the experienced Hernan Crespo, who played under Mourinho at Chelsea. However it remains to be seen if Crespo will make a last minute move to Lazio. David Suazo looks to be 100% on the way out and will most probably leave before the deadline. Adriano will try to rediscover his form and become the Imperatore again, but the most interesting player is of course Mario Balotelli. 18 year old Balotelli is incredibly talented and has all the tools to become a superstar. Mourinho has shown confidence in him and if Balotelli has the right attitude he can go very far. I would be lying if I said Inter wasn’t a strong team. They have all the tools necessary to be Scudetto winners again and possibly have some European success.

    Manager: Jose Mourinho

    Best Buy: Sulley Muntari- There weren’t many buys, but I liked what I have seen from Sulley Muntari. The Ghanaian midfielder looks to be very motivated and is very skillful with a rocket of a shot. He will do very well.

    Probable Formation (4-3-3): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Chivu, Samuel, Maxwell; J. Zanetti, Cambiasso, MUNTARI; Figo (Balotelli), Ibrahimovic, MANCINI.


    After two seasons away from Europe, La Vecchia Signora are back where they used to be. The Bianconeri, led by Claudio Ranieri, look to compete on 2 fronts (3 if we count Coppa Italia) and have put together a squad that can handle multiple competitions. Juventus have had an active transfer campaign, no gigantic names, but players have been acquired that will fit into Ranieri’s system and work for the team. The biggest move was signing Brazilian striker Amauri from Palermo. Amauri had been a king in Sicily the past few seasons but it came time for the striker to make the big jump to a big club and prove his worth. In goal there is of course Gigi Buffon, but this summer Juve were looking for valid understudies in case of emergency and they signed two. Antonio Chimenti makes his return to Torino and provides experience on the bench. Alex Manninger, who has been impressive with Siena for a couple of years, was also signed and will most probably be the back-up. Ranieri also brought in experienced Swedish defender Olof Mellberg from Aston Villa to reinforce the backline. He will most likely start next to Giorgio Chiellini, who is starting to look world class, but since Chiellini is injured his partner will probably be Nicola Legrottaglie, who was one of the surprises of last season. Legrottaglie was all ready to sign a contract with Beskitas last year, but in the end Juventus kept him and he turned out to be a solid performer last season and impressed many. Also brought in to help out in defense is Dario Knezevic, who had a solid year at Livorno and will be a good sub. On the right is Zdenek Grygera, who had a discrete year last season but got the job done, and the experienced Jonathan Zebina is still on the roster. On the opposite side there is Christian Molinaro, who has loads of pace and knows how to get forward, but he needs to work on his crossing ability. He will face competition from the young Paolo De Ceglie, who was very good at Siena last year and in my opinion De Ceglie will be the starter by the end of the year (however that’s my opinion, Ranieri seems to be in love with Molinaro). De Ceglie is a solid player who knows how to defend as well as attack, and his crossing ability is very good. In midfield there is the reliable quartet of Mauro Camoranesi, Momo Sissoko, Cristiano Zanetti, and Pavel Nedved. When fit Camoranesi is untouchable on the right wing, and Sissoko impressed all of Italy last season after many were skeptical about him at first. Cristiano Zanetti was simply awesome last year. He seemed to gain a second wind under Ranieri and really was one of the top central midfielders in Italy. If he plays like that this season he will be hard to remove from the starting line-up. To strengthen center midfield Juventus signed Danish midfielder Christian Poulsen (of Totti spitting fame). Many Juve fans did not want Poulsen to sign but after seeing his performances in the preseason they may have changed their mind. Italy U21 starlet Claudio Marchisio will also be in the squad, he is a complete midfielder who can defend, attack, tackle, pass, score, etc. Promising young Swedish midfielder Albin Ekdal was acquired as well and really impressed everyone in preseason with his confident play. Tiago is still around, but he really should just leave already. Marchionni is a really good player when he’s not injured, but he’s always injured. Then we have Pavel Nedved. He signed a 1 year extension last season to play in the Champions League one more time. This will most probably be his last season but we never know. The one everyone is waiting to see is Sebastian Giovinco. Giovinco is the star of the Italy U21 team and has so much skill and technique. This season he will probably be Nedved’s understudy, however if he impresses he may force himself into the line-up. Up front Ranieri has 4 excellent strikers at his disposal. Alessandro Del Piero always gives his all when he’s wearing a Juve jersey and this season should be no different. David Trezeguet’s goalscoring record speaks for itself. He may be asleep all game and then just show up and score a goal. Then there’s the aforementioned Amauri and Vincenzo Iaquinta, another player that is excellent having off the bench. The one thing they seem to be missing (and that Ranieri has wanted all summer) is a central midfield director that can dictate the tempo of the squad. That’s why they wanted Xabi Alonso and have been linked with Aquilani. We will have to see if it happens. Otherwise, Juventus have a strong roster and should be able to compete for the Scudetto and make a good run in the Champions League.

    Manager: Claudio Ranieri

    Best Buy: Amauri- If the Brazilian striker can replicate his Palermo form in a black and white shirt, Juventus will have a very talented player on their hands and valid goalscorer.

    Probable Formation (4-4-2):
    Buffon; Grygera, MELLBERG, Chiellini, Molinaro; Camoranesi, Sissoko, C. Zanetti, Nedved; Trezeguet, Del Piero.


    The Biancocelesti were very disappointing last season. After an excellent season in 2006-2007, where they finished 3rd place, last season was an utter disaster. Lazio returned to Champions League football but were eliminated in the group stage. Things in Serie A weren’t going well either, and they wound up finishing in 12th place, not even qualifying for Europe. There were many problems with injuries, squad depth, and they had serious goalkeeping issues. President and famed loudmouth Claudio Lotito looked to rectify those problems for this campaign. First, the goalkeeping issues were solved. Ballotta retired and is now working at a desk in the Modena front office. Argentine goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo was signed from River Plate (he was signed last year but had passport issues). Lazio will finally have a reliable goalkeeper and Lazio fans are thanking the good lord that Fernando Muslera will be sitting on the bench. Manuel Belleri was brought back from his loan to Atalanta to add some depth in defense. Swiss international right back Stephan Lichtsteiner was signed from Lille and will start on the right. There is the Romanian defender Radu who impressed last season and Czech center back David Rozehnal. There is also Brazilian center back Cribari and Sebastiano Siviglia. On the left 20 year old Lorenzo De Silvestri, who I really think has all the potential to be the next great left back, will most probably start. There is also young Serbian Aleksander Kolarov, who has a rocket of a left foot and is good in the air. In midfield skillful winger Pasquale Foggia was brought back from his loan. Foggia’s first stint at Lazio was not successful but he will look to improve and impress Delio Rossi. The leader in midfield is Argentine Christian Ledesma, who was recently having problems with the club but will stay this season. Doing the hard work will be Frenchman Ousmane Dabo, and the new signing is Brazilian Francelino Matuzalem. Matuzalem already has some Serie A experience, playing with Napoli, Parma, Piacenza, and Brescia in the past. Matuzalem is a skillful player and is a very good passer and he will be a good addition to the Lazio midfield. There is also Mourad Meghni on the bench and the experienced winger Christian Manfredini. Up front the new boy is Argentine Mauro Zarate, who was signed with big fanfare but has not pleased Delio Rossi in the preseason (Delio Rossi said he doesn’t run enough). Zarate is very talented and he should be able to work himself into the starting line-up. There is Stefano Mauri, who has always been a good skillful player, and Goran Pandev. The Macedonian was really good last season and has tons of skill. Captain Tommaso Rocchi leads the line up front, and will look to score lots of goals, especially since his Olympic dream ended so quickly. Lazio will look to improve this season and try to qualify for Europe, but for some reason this squad still doesn’t convince me.

    Manager: Delio Rossi

    Best Buy: Juan Pablo Carrizo- Ever since Peruzzi retired Lazio has had goalkeeping woes, but they finally look to be solved with the arrival of Carrizo. Lazio fans no longer have to worry about the goalkeeping department.

    Probable Formation (4-3-3):
    CARRIZO; LICHTSTEINER, Radu, Siviglia, De Silvestri; Dabo, Ledesma, MATUZALEM; Mauri, Pandev, Rocchi.


    The Pugliese club returns to Serie A after a two year absence. The Giallorossi’s first move of the season was firing coach Giuseppe Papadopulo and hiring Mario Berretta, who miraculously saved Siena last season and in recent years has been an expert in avoiding relegation. Last year Lecce relied on the goals of ex-Chievo striker Simone Tiribocchi, but this season they have given him some help. Promising striker Daniele Cacia was signed from Fiorentina, and he will look to impress and show his potential. Jose Castillo, who spent most of his career with small teams before exploding with Pisa last season, was signed as well. (I guess the nickname for the front pair will be Ca-Ca. Anyone? Anyone?) Fabio Caserta was signed from Palermo. Caserta is an all-around midfielder who is very good at breaking up plays but good at passing as well. Luca Ariatti has Serie A experience and so does Andrea Zanchetta, who is also a free-kick specialist. Experienced midfielder Guillermo Giacomazzi was signed as well, and for the Uruguayan this will be his second stint with the club. Also young Portuguese left-back Antunes was signed from Roma to get some experience. Francesco Benussi is a decent goalkeeper but the defense is Serie B caliber. They really should have signed some experienced defenders. I have a feeling they will be giving up some goals. Lecce’s main goal is avoiding relegation, and having Berretta at the helm helps, but it will be very tough.

    Manager: Mario Berretta

    Best Buy: Daniele Cacia- The 24 year old striker scored boatloads of goals in Serie B but didn’t get playing time at Fiorentina. Now he’s at a club where he will play and be able to prove his worth.

    Probable Formation (3-5-2): Benussi; Polenghi, Diamoutene, Cottafava; Angelo, CASERTA, Zanchetta, GIACOMAZZI, ANTUNES; CACIA, CASTILLO.
  4. indestructible

    indestructible Member+

    SSC Napoli
    Jan 14, 2007
    Mercato Professor
    SSC Napoli
    Nat'l Team:
    Grande Cassano, keep them coming
  5. Cassano

    Cassano Member

    Jul 16, 2004
    AC Milan
    Nat'l Team:


    This is the year Milan has to redeem themselves. The Rossoneri had a season way below expectations last year, based on a mix of injuries and a terrible summer transfer market. Milan threw games away and threw away results. They couldn’t even win at home until January. After the winter break they started to pick things up and even overtook Fiorentina for 4th place but in the end they messed up and Fiorentina qualified for the Champions League. Milan now find themselves in the UEFA Cup, and will look to win the Scudetto for the first time since 2004. It seems that after last season’s debacle Galliani and company finally understood that changes had to be made. The first moves of the summer were bringing back three Milan owned players in Marco Borriello and Luca Antonini. Borriello scored 19 goals last season and gets another chance to prove himself in a Milan shirt, even though he is currently injured. He will have to prove that he wasn’t just a one season wonder and can score goals on a consistent basis. Luca Antonini had an impressive year at Empoli last season, and has been brought back to base to provide depth at the fullback position. Christian Abbiati was brought back from his loan at Atletico Madrid and has impressed in preseason, which means he will be the starting goalkeeper for this season. One of Milan’s main problems last season was goalkeeping errors, and Abbiati should be able to provide some security in between the sticks. The two back-up keepers are Australian Zeljko Kalac, who was a starter last season but not starter material, and Dida, who is way too mistake prone. World Cup winning fullback Gianluca Zambrotta was bought from Barcelona and has returned to Italy since leaving in 2006. Milan needed a good starting fullback since Massimo Oddo was, to put it plain and simple, terrible last season. Many fans in Row Z were hit with his crosses. To strengthen the midfield Mathieu Flamini was signed on a free transfer. Flamini was excellent last season at Arsenal and is an excellent addition to a Milan midfield that includes Massimo Ambrosini, Andrea Pirlo, and Gennaro Gattuso. Clarence Seedorf has been in sublime form in the preseason and putting him on the bench would be a hard decision. Yoann Gourcuff was loaned out and Christian Brocchi seems to have secured a move to Lazio. Young Uruguayan talent Mathias Cardacio was also signed and will look to learn from Pirlo. In defense there is Alessandro Nesta, who when injury free is one of the top defenders in the world, however he always has injury trouble. Georgian Kahka Kaladze has always been reliable, but sometimes he can lose concentration and be really clumsy. Marek Jankulovski has been solid in the preseason and should have a good year. Milan missed him most of last year through injury and he seems to be in good form. Then there’s always Daniele Bonera who is used as a utility player around the back 4, and Paolo Maldini. Il Capitano seems to be in his last season and most probably won’t play more than 15-20 games. After so many transfer windows of hearing rumors that Dario Simic would leave, he finally did this summer. The Croatian center-back left for Ligue 1 (Monaco to be exact). Swiss international center back Phillipe Senderos was signed on a loan deal and will be a good option to have on the bench (considering he’s not as mistake prone as he was at Arsenal). Of course the biggest buy of the summer for the Rossoneri was Ronaldinho. For the longest time we’ve always seen Milan linked with the Brazilian and we saw Berlusconi give so many interviews where he’s said he wanted to sign Ronaldinho. Well, he finally has arrived. If Ronaldinho can get back into shape Milan will have made one of the signings of the summer and he’ll form a deadly pairing with Kaka. Up front, the big news is that the prodigal son has returned. After a two year “sabbatical” in London, Andriy Shevchenko has made his way back home. Shevchenko just wasn’t himself in England and maybe a return to Milan is just what he needs to get back to his old self. Milan fans would love it. The attack also consists of SuperPippo Inzaghi, who will most probably be scoring goals even when he’s 80, Borriello who was mentioned before, and Alexandre Pato. The young Brazilian did really well when he arrived last January, but with so much competition up front he’ll probably play less of a main role this year. There is a lot of talent on this team, and if Ancelotti can put it all together and get everyone to play as a team, Milan will be very difficult to stop and have a great chance of winning the Scudetto (and let’s not forget the UEFA Cup, the only trophy Milan has never won). In my opinion if Ancelotti doesn’t get it done this season he’s as good as gone.

    Manager: Carlo Ancelotti

    Best Buy: Ronaldinho- If the Brazilian superstar becomes the player he once was again; Milan fans and fans all over Italy will have the joy of watching a magician at work.

    Probable Formation (4-3-2-1): ABBIATI; ZAMBROTTA, Nesta, Kaladze, Jankulovski; Gattuso, Pirlo, FLAMINI; Kakà, RONALDINHO; SHEVCHENKO.


    Last season Napoli returned to Serie A with large expectations and lived up to them. The San Paolo was packed for every home game and Napoli didn’t disappoint. In fact, at the San Paolo Napoli beat every big team except for Roma. Napoli played well all season, and finished 8th, which allowed them to enter the Intertoto Cup. This summer they won their Intertoto match-up and will return to European play as well. This is making the Napoli faithful even more enthusiastic about the coming season. The man working behind the scenes for this Napoli squad is Pierpaolo Marino. Marino is probably one of the best football directors in all of Italy, and dare I say, in Europe. He is very good at judging players and discovering talents and has made so many good moves since arriving in Campania. Manager Edy Reja likes to use the 3-5-2 formation, with two outside wingers that can defend and attack. In goal “San Gennaro” Iezzo will most probably start but will face fierce competition from young Argentine Nicolas Navarro. Last season Napoli realized they needed a strong central defender and they got one in Palermo’s Leandro Rinaudo. Rinaudo is a big physical presence and very good in the air. Starting alongside him will be captain Paolo Cannavaro and Fabiano Santacroce, who is considered to be the best up and coming defender in Italy. Santacroce is a very similar player to Alessandro Nesta, he knows how to read the game and anticipate the play. However one thing I don’t like about the squad is the lack of depth in defense. The starting trio is very good, but on the bench there are average players like Matteo Contini, Gianluca Grava, and Mirko Savini. Maybe they were too quick to let Garics go? Maurizio Domizzi is still in the squad but he wants to leave. He only has a few days left to make a move. Probably the “coup” of Napoli’s transfer campaign was right winger Christian Maggio. Maggio was one of the revelations of last season, a workhorse player that never stops running up and down the wing and gets into excellent positions up front. If he could work on his finishing he would be even greater. Starting alongside him in midfield will be Manuele Blasi, who was really good last year and is great at winning balls but could try to get into less yellow card trouble. Walter Gargano was another great buy, a Gattuso-like player but with lots of technique as well. The star of the midfield is Slovakian Marek Hamsik, who is only 21 but plays like a 35 year old veteran. He can do everything in midfield. Currently Napoli are still looking for a left winger, but it seems they found a valid option in homegrown youngster Luigi Vitale, while also having Daniele Mannini, who was bought in January of last season. Michele Pazienza is another central midfielder who is good off the bench and can fill in for Blasi on occasion. They also have talented Uruguayan Mariano Bogliacino but he’s injured. Up front Napoli relies on the electrifying play of Ezequiel Lavezzi. The 23 year old did well in his first season in Serie A and will only improve. Full of energy, the little Argentine can change the game at any moment. They also signed German Denis; a center forward from Argentina nicknamed “the Tank”. Denis has played in Italy before but it didn’t go well the first time and now he’s back. For some reason I have a gut feeling that he will do very well. Brazilian Ignacio Pia will provide a spark on the bench. The gamble signing was 20 year old fantasista Andrea Russotto. Russotto has long been hailed as the best young talent to come out of Italy in recent years and has drawn comparisons to Totti, Baggio, and Cassano. However he’s still trying to explode and Napoli may very well be the place to do it, especially since these fans are used to flair players. The Partenopei have put together an excellent project and it seems to get better as each year passes. Napoli should be able to finish in the UEFA zone and even do well in the UEFA Cup this season, as the San Paolo should be one of the most intimidating places to play in Europe this year.

    Manager: Edy Reja

    Best Buy: Christian Maggio- The ex-Sampdoria right back will look to confirm himself as the best right back in Italy. We’ll have to see if he can make the same impact he did in Genoa.

    Probable Formation (3-5-2): Iezzo; P. Cannavaro, RINAUDO, Santacroce; MAGGIO, Blasi, Hamsik, Gargano, Vitale; DENIS, Lavezzi.


    Palermo are another team that will look to redeem themselves this year. The Rosanero had a team last year that was capable enough to reach a UEFA Cup spot but performed way below expectations, finishing 11th. Last season Stefano Colantuono started out as manager, then was sacked and replaced by Francesco Guidolin, who was then sacked and replaced by Stefano Colantuono, who was then confirmed to be the manager for this season. Owner Maurizio Zamparini is well known to be the craziest president in Italy. So Zamparini knew something had to be done for this season and the squad has undergone a complete overhaul. The Sicilian club made almost 60 million euro on the sales of Amauri, Barzagli, Zaccardo, Biava, Rinaudo, and Caserta. Famed sporting director Rino Foschi was let go and replaced by Walter Sabatini. Foschi was very good at his job but did not see eye to eye with Zamparini and therefore parted ways (and went to Genoa). First, the goalkeeping problem was resolved. Palermo had the 40 year old Alberto Fontana starting in net and although he could make amazing saves his age was starting to show and they needed someone who could be their goalkeeper for years to come. That goalkeeper is Marco Amelia. Buffon’s back-up on the national arrived from Livorno and will be very reliable in net. To replace Christian Zaccardo at right-back, promising right-back Andrea Raggi was bought from Empoli. Raggi has impressed the last few seasons and had been linked with big clubs so Palermo did a good job in securing their services. To replace the central defensive pairing of Barzagli and Biava, Morris Carrozzieri and Cesare Bovo were brought in. Carrozzieri, often called a “poor man’s Materazzi”, is a huge physical presence and a very tight marker. However sometimes he commits too many useless fouls. Cesare Bovo was once considered to be the next great Italian defender and spent last year at Genoa. He was co-owned by the Rosanero and they bought his full rights this summer. Bovo is a tough defender and is also a free-kick specialist. They also bought young Danish prospect Simon Kjaer and Italo-Argentine Hernan Dellafiore. On the left Federico Balzaretti will start after an impressive season last year, and there is also Mattia Cassani on the bench, who scored that wondergoal vs. Juventus last season. Two big names have been signed in midfield as well. Antonio Nocerino was included in the Amauri deal and will provide tons of hard work and “grinta” in the middle of the pitch. They made a really good signing in Fabio Liverani. The experienced center midfielder will direct Palermo’s midfield. Giulio Migliaccio, nicknamed “Piccolo Gattuso” (small Gattuso), will most likely start alongside the new signings. On the bench there are options such as Roberto Guana, Giovanni Tedesco, and Maurizio Ciaramitaro. Serbian attacking midfielder Bosko Jankovic looks set to make a big impact this season. Jankovic is a very promising player and it looks like Colantuono has lots of faith in his talent. After a year of adaptation he may finally explode this season. Up front Amauri’s loss will be felt. The Brazilian was crucial to Palermo’s attack but the Rosanero have tried to find a good replacement. First Brazilian striker Tulio De Melo was signed from French side Le Mans. However it seems De Melo hasn’t really been impressing in preseason. A good signing was Croatian striker Igor Budan, who was co-owned with Parma. Budan was excellent at Parma and if he finds his scoring touch Palermo fans may forget Amauri. The fantasista of the squad is Fabrizio Miccoli. The “Italian Romario” has loads of skill and technique and when on form is a joy to watch. If he can find consistency this season he can be a force to be reckoned with. The gamble up front is 21 year old Davide Lanzafame. The Juventus youth team product exploded at Bari last season and has drawn comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo. We’ll see if the youngster can cut it in Serie A. In my opinion Palermo did an excellent job of revamping the squad, although maybe they could use a star striker that can score at least 15 goals a season. But rumors are Zamparini is planning one more surprise before the transfer window ends (David Suazo?). I think Palermo has what it takes to challenge for a UEFA Cup spot.

    Manager: Stefano Colantuono

    Best Buy: Fabio Liverani- The Roman midfielder is an excellent playmaker and Palermo will finally have a good midfield director for the first time since Eugenio Corini left.

    Probable Formation (4-3-1-2): AMELIA; RAGGI, CARROZZIERI, BOVO, Balzaretti; NOCERINO, LIVERANI, Migliaccio; Jankovic; BUDAN, Miccoli.


    Reggina is a squad that for years has been performing miracles. You have to tip your hat to president Lillo Foti, who every season has managed to keep this small club in the top flight, always experimenting with different managers, and buying obscure players that become good and get sold off at season’s end. Last season they once again escaped relegation after looking all set for the drop throughout the season. However I think that unfortunately this season their time has come and their luck will run out. The squad is virtually unchanged from last season, except for the signings of Santos from Genoa, Carlos Carmona from O’Higgins, and Bernardo Corradi from Parma. Star striker Nicola Amoruso went up north to Torino, while left-back Francesco Modesto also headed north but to Genoa. The main problem was the defense last season, which let in 56 goals. But it has not been strengthened this summer and will most probably continue to be a problem. In goal Andrea Campagnolo is either brilliant or terrible. The defense is nothing to write home about and Santos should reinforce it a little. Bruno Cirillo is the most experienced but he commits way too many stupid fouls. In midfield Edgar Barreto had a really good season, even scoring some really nice goals. Luca Tognozzi is still a Serie B caliber player to me, as well as Emmanuele Cascione. Icelandic midfielder Emil Hallfredsson has been pretty solid since arriving. Captain Francesco Cozza is extremely talented and has always performed well with the Amaranto, while Franco Brienza was their savior last season. The diminutive fantasista arrived from Palermo and was in excellent form, scoring crucial goals to save Reggina from the drop. Up front Nick “Dynamite” Amoruso has left and Reggina have replaced him with Bernardo Corradi. Corradi for me is not the player he once was and doesn’t score enough goals. On the bench there’s young Fabio Ceravolo and Uruguayan Christian Stuani, who hasn’t really impressed since arriving. Another striker may arrive before the window closes. With the current squad I just can’t see Reggina surviving the drop this year, but with this club we never know. I may just be eating my words come May.

    Manager: Nevio Orlandi

    Best Buy: Carlos Carmona- The young Chilean looks to have loads of skill and personality and if he can get lots of playing time he may be fun to watch.

    Probable Formation (4-3-2-1): Campagnolo; Lanzaro, Valdes, SANTOS, Costa; Barreto, Tognozzi, Hallfredsson; Cozza, Brienza; CORRADI.


    The Giallorossi come off of a campaign where they fell 3 points short of winning the Scudetto. Roma’s main problem last season was dropping too many points to small teams, and if you want to win the Scudetto those are games you have to win. Luciano Spalletti and Francesco Totti asked for signings and although they came slowly, they did come. Spalletti is known now for his 4-2-3-1 formation, and Roma play the nicest football in Italy. In these past years Roma have become Inter’s main rival for the Scudetto and now they want to stay up there even if teams like Juventus and Milan have reinforced their squads. On the departure list were Amantino Mancini and Ludovic Giuly. The inconsistent Brazilian ended his 5 year rapport with the Giallorossi and went to Mourinho’s Inter. Giuly didn’t have that great of a season and went home to France with PSG. Gianluca Curci, who was left to rot on the bench the past 2 seasons, has finally been sent out on loan to gain experience. He will be defending Siena’s net and Ghanaian midfield Ahmed Barusso went with him. Matteo Ferrari’s contract was not re-signed and he left for Genoa. In goal there is one change, as Brazilian Arthur will become Doni’s back-up. In defense two signings were made. Powerful defender Simone Loria was bought, and he will provide a good option on the bench. Loria is also excellent at scoring goals. At left back Norwegian international John Arne Riise was signed from Liverpool. The red-headed left back loves to get forward and attack and should fit in very well with Spalletti’s system. Max Tonetto, who is still solid, is the other left-back on the roster. On the right there’s Cicinho (who was left out of the SuperCoppa because of disciplinary problems) and Marco Cassetti, who has always done a solid job. Christian Panucci is still around, but he may see his role limited this season. In the center Juan and Mexes will continue to form a very solid pairing. Former U21 starlet Marco Andreolli is still on the roster but may leave before the window closes. In midfield nothing changes, as we have Daniele De Rossi, David Pizarro, Alberto Aquilani, Simone Perrotta, Rodrigo Taddei, and Matteo Brighi. If there’s one department Roma is not lacking in its good center midfielders. Daniele De Rossi is quickly becoming the best Italian midfielder, Pizarro provides creativity and excellent passing, Perrotta is the best midfielder in Italy when it comes to making runs and getting into good positions, Taddei has always been a solid performer and combines lots of work ethic with Brazilian flair, and Brighi has always been good off of the bench. Everyone is waiting for Aquilani to finally have his breakout season where he shows everyone why he’s so highly rated. Let’s see if it’s this season. Brighi may leave before the window closes but in all likelihood he’ll be sticking around. With the departure of Mancini and Giuly, Roma need wingers. Julio Baptista has arrived but it remains to be seen how effective he can be on the wing. Vucinic can play on the wing but it’s not his natural position. Vucinic exploded last season and he can only improve. Vincenzo Montella is back but judging from his preseason performances he just isn’t the same Aeroplanino we all knew for years and may leave before the window closes. Mauro Esposito could be on the way out after sitting on the bench a lot last season. Today there was confirmation that promising young French talent Jeremy Menez will be a Roma player really soon. This is good news for Spalletti and this may allow Stefano Okaka to go out on loan and gain experience. Along with Menez, one more player may arrive before the deadline (David Suazo?). And then there’s Francesco Totti. What can we say; when Er Pupone is in form he’s the most talented player in the peninsula and one of the most talented players in Europe. However after his latest injury it may take time for him to get back into form and we’ll have to see how long it takes. Otherwise Totti is Totti; when he’s on the pitch he makes the difference. If Roma keep up their style of play they should be able to challenge for the Scudetto, but they can’t throw away useless points anymore and have to learn how to close games. We’ll also see how they do in the Champions League.

    Manager: Luciano Spalletti

    Best Buy: Julio Baptista- The “Beast” was awesome at Sevilla and if he can rediscover his form he should be a great asset to Spalletti.

    Probable Formation (4-2-3-1):
    Doni; Cicinho, Mexes, Juan, RIISE; De Rossi, Pizarro; Perrotta, BAPTISTA, Vucinic; Totti.
  6. forzareggina

    forzareggina Member

    United States
    Aug 24, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Reggina Calcio
    you nailed reggina midfield on the head, yes halfredsson is amazing. tognozzi is totally a serie b caliber player, and he will most likely be on a serie B side before the market closes.

    but don't underestimate the defense. aronica-valdez-cirillo-lanzaro is ********ing solid! and yeah it will most likely be the uruguayan international starting and not santos

    and on the attacking side, i mean, add 1 more key player (papa waigo, esposito) and it is scary!
  7. FNU

    FNU BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Mar 6, 2007
    Monte Vesuvio
    SSC Napoli
    Nat'l Team:
    Contini is better than Rinaudo, he's actually pretty solid as a LB. Rinaudo would have to be Cannavaro's backup.123
  8. Cassano

    Cassano Member

    Jul 16, 2004
    AC Milan
    Nat'l Team:
    final part of the preview S-U


    Sampdoria were a really fun team to watch last year. Manager Walter Mazzarri, who is one of the best up and coming tacticians in Italy, took charge of the Blucerchiati. He imposed his 3-5-2 formation which provides exciting attacking play but with good defensive coverage as well. Samp surprised everyone and finished 6th, 6 points away from a Champions League spot. They will play in the UEFA Cup this season. Last summer Sampdoria took a big gamble and signed Antonio Cassano on a loan deal from Real Madrid. Cassano’s career hit a low at Real Madrid and he hadn’t had a good season since 2004/2005. However with hard work and lots of faith, the Jewel of Old Bari became the Cassano of old, becoming almost unstoppable for opposing defenders and giving Samp a big lift in quality. Granted, there were some road blocks (the outbursts), but Cassano was signed in June and now is a Sampdoria player for the next few years. This is shaping up to be Cassano’s best season as a professional. He’s happy, Samp fans love him, Mazzarri knows how to manage him, his teammates realize he’s important, he’s underwent a full preseason of preparation and is in scintillating form. If he plays to his potential Samp could even be giving the big teams trouble. In goal it’s unclear who will be the starter, Luca Castellazzi or Antonio Mirante. Both are decent keepers but I think Castelllazzi has the advantage. There’s also talented 18 year old Vincenzo Fiorillo, who is the goalkeeper of the Primavera squad. The defense let in more goals than they would’ve liked, and I’m sure Mazzarri has been working on that in the preseason. The nice surprise Samp had last season was Hugo Campagnaro, who was signed from Piacenza in Serie B and he immediately became a rock at the back for Samp. He will be the leader in defense this season. Flanking him should be Pietro Accardi and Daniele Gastaldello, who also had good years. On the bench there is also Stefano Lucchini, and new signing Jonathan Bottinelli from San Lorenzo in Argentina. He has been impressive in preseason and once he gets adapted to Italian football he may become a starter. Experienced defender Luigi Sala left for Udinese. One of the things Samp had to do this summer was find a replacement for Christian Maggio, who left for Napoli. They signed Lithuanian international Marius Stankevicius from Brescia. Stankevicius has been in Italy for years with Brescia and is a solid player; whether he has the same impact as Maggio did remains to be seen. They also signed Swiss winger Marco Padalino for Piacenza, who has been a solid performer in Serie B for a couple of seasons. The strength of this Sampdoria team is midfield. Last season Angelo Palombo was one of the top midfielders in Serie A and marshaled the Samp midfield, playing so well that captain Sergio Volpi had to sit on the bench. Next to him Samp got a great year out of Paolo Sammarco. The Milan youth team product really reminds me of Simone Perrotta, he gets into excellent positions and even guarantees a couple of goals a season. To help them out in midfield Sampdoria signed U21 midfielder Daniele Dessena from Parma. Dessena is a promising player who I’ve always kept an eye on. He is a hardworking midfielder that can do anything and everything, and many compare him to Marco Tardelli. On the bench there are good utility players like Gennaro Delvecchio and Daniele Franceschini. Mirko Pieri will start on the left and had a good season as well. Swiss winger Reto Ziegler will be a sub and Mazzarri doesn’t seem to use him often. Up front there’s Antonio Cassano of course, who we talked about before. There’s also Claudio Bellucci, who has always been a really skillful player and last year he had an outstanding year, reaching double figures in goals scored and really providing an impact. There’s also Emiliano Bonazzoli, who is a big physical presence and is really good in the air. Vincenzo Montella returned to Roma, but Uruguayan talent Bruno Fornaroli was signed. The “Tuna” has grown comparisons to Pippo Inzaghi and may need some time to adapt to the Italian game. But when a player like Cassano is putting you through on goal, you only need a short time to adapt. And with Samp we never know what will happen, they could provide one more surprise signing ala Cassano before the transfer window ends (David Suazo? Hernan Crespo?), especially when they have Beppe Marotta running things, who is one of the best football directors in Italy. Samp has a good side and if they improve on last year’s performances they can definitely qualify for the UEFA Cup and maybe even trouble the big sides.

    Manager: Walter Mazzarri

    Best Buy: Daniele Dessena- The 21 year old midfielder is a real talent. He can do it all in midfield and is excellent at getting into good positions. Look for him to have a really impressive year.

    Probable Formation (3-5-2): Castellazzi; Gastaldello, Accardi, Campagnaro; STANKEVICIUS, Palombo, Sammarco, DESSENA, Pieri; Bellucci, Cassano.


    Last season Siena looked as good as gone. The club started with Andrea Mandorlini as manager, and he didn’t do a good job at all. The club owned by the famous Montepaschi dei Siena bank looked destined for the drop. But then Mario Berretta, known to be a master of avoiding relegation, took charge and there was a complete turnaround. The club started pulling off some great results (although they drew too many games, they drew the most games last year), and quickly the Tuscans escaped the relegation zone and finished safely in 13th place. However for some reason the club decided not to keep Berretta and hired Marco Giampaolo, who is considered to be one the brightest young tacticians in Italy but still hasn’t fulfilled his managerial potential just yet. Siena haven’t really done much to reinforce the squad either. They did make a good deal with Roma, bringing in Gianluca Curci, who will finally gain some experience as a starting keeper, and Ahmed Barusso, who was supposed to be the new Michael Essien but that never quite panned out. They also brought in Napoli outcast Emmanuele Calaio’, who was a good striker in the lower divisions but didn’t get much faith from Edy Reja last season and therefore will look to impress this year as a starter. Colombian right back Juan Camilo Zuniga, who has drawn comparisons to Cafu, was signed from Atletico Nacional in Colombia and will start on the right. Other defenders signed were young prospects Nicola Belmonte, Portuguese youngster Brandao, and Lorenzo Del Prete. The starters will be Ficagna and Portanova with Andrea Rossi, who was a pleasant surprise last year, starting on the left. In the middle of the field captain Simone Vergassola, Romanian international Paul Codrea, and Roma youth product Daniele Galloppa form a central trio. Houssine Kharja, who was excellent last season, will pull the strings in midfield. Young Italo-Argentine talent Fernando Forestieri will provide a good spark from the bench. Up front Calaio’ will start and his partner will be Massimo Maccarone, who scored some important goals last season. Experienced striker Mario Frick is still around, but Enrico Chiesa left for a Serie C2 side. The squad is decent, but Giampaolo has been asking for more reinforcements all summer which haven’t arrived. If they aren’t careful they could find themselves in Serie B next season.

    Marco Giampaolo

    Best Buy: Gianluca Curci- The Roman goalkeeper has been wasting away on the Roma bench as Doni’s back-up and will finally gain valuable experience as a starting keeper. Maybe we will finally see why he was so highly regarded 2 seasons ago and he’s still young (23) so he has time to get his career back on track.

    Probable Formation (4-3-1-2): CURCI; ZUNIGA, Ficagna, Portanova, A. Rossi; Vergassola, Codrea, Galloppa; Kharja; Maccarone, CALAIO'.


    Torino is a club filled with so much history yet since their return to Serie A they really have been pretty ordinary. They haven’t done great things and they haven’t done bad things. The squad has been just good enough to avoid relegation, but not good enough to reach higher objectives. Part of the blame has to go to president Urbano Cairo, who is a little egotistical and thinks he can control the transfer market himself. He would do a lot better if he hired a good football director who could control transfers and club operations while he just sits back and shells out the money. But I guess that won’t happen until he fails miserably. The Granata will start with Matteo Sereni in net. Sereni was one of the best keepers in Serie A last season and many were even clamoring for him to get a national team call-up. The experienced Aimo Diana starts at right back while the ordinary Marco Pisano starts on the left. Expect young Matteo Rubin to overtake his spot by season’s end. Rubin had an excellent start to the season last year, impressing so much that teams like Inter and Milan were linked with him, but a bad injury ended his season early. He’s back and hopefully we’ll see the same from him again. In the center big Cesare Natali (who makes at least 10 stupid mistakes per season) will start, while new signing Francesco Pratali will most likely partner him. Pratali arrives after a few solid seasons at Empoli. In midfield Eugenio Corini, even at his old age, pulls the strings while Paolo Zanetti does the hard work breaking up the plays and winning balls. Austrian international Jurgen Saumel was signed on a free transfer and will most likely start. There’s also everyone’s favorite World Cup winner Simone Barone, who has completely fallen off of the map after that magical night in July of 2006. Young talent Tommaso Vailatti may be loaned out but in all probability he’ll stay on and be a sub. Torino made a good signing in Ignazio Abate, who arrives on loan from Milan. 20 year old Abate has loads of pace and excellent crossing ability, and should be a valuable asset for Gianni De Biasi. Then there’s Alessandro Rosina. Let me go on my Alessandro Rosina rant- there is no doubt that Rosina is talented. The diminutive fantasista is fast and extremely skilled. At times he can do things with the ball that other players only dream of doing. His nickname is “Rosinaldo” because he has a flair that you usually only find in Brazilian players. So now you ask “Why is a player of this caliber not a superstar on a big club and a national team regular?” and the answer is quite simple: He’s extremely selfish. Unfortunately Mr. Rosina has not realized yet that soccer is a team sport. Instead of making a simple pass to an open teammate, he’ll try to dribble 2 defenders, and most of the time fails. He’s improving on being a team player as the years pass, but he’s still selfish. That’s the reason big clubs haven’t bought him yet, not because he’s “too expensive”. So for all the people that keep saying, “Why isn’t Rosina on the national team?!?!?!?!?! Why doesn’t [insert big team here] buy Rosina?!?!?!?!?!!? He’s awesome!!!” stop watching the youtube highlight videos and watch full Torino games. Rosina, as of now, is a wasted talent. Now to get back on topic, last season Torino only scored 36 goals, and that’s not a lot. Cairo realized they needed goalscorers and signed Nicola Amoruso. If he can score goals like he has been in Reggio Calabria they will have made a good signing. Cairo then decided to partner Amoruso with Rolando Bianchi (sound familiar? Bianchi and Amoruso paired up for Reggina in 2006/2007, scoring lots of goals). On the bench there’s David Di Michele, who is unhappy and may be on the way out, and Nicola Ventola, who should be good off the bench. However once again Torino don’t have a squad to reach higher objectives and once again will be just good enough to avoid relegation.

    Manager: Gianni De Biasi

    Best Buy: Nicola Amoruso- The Pugliese striker has been scoring consistently for Reggina and if he provides the same goalscoring records in Torino the Granata will have made a great buy.

    Probable Formation (4-3-2-1): Sereni; Diana, Natali, PRATALI, Pisano; Zanetti, Corini, SAUMEL; Rosina, AMORUSO; BIANCHI.


    Udinese comes off a very positive year. Pasquale Marino, another excellent up and coming manager (Italy certainly doesn’t lack good managers), and his famed 4-3-3 system made a positive impact for the Zebrette. Udinese are a club that is run excellently. Every year they buy interesting young players and unknowns that become famous and then are sold off at the end of the season. Very rarely are players kept long-term. Statistically they are the only club in Serie A that makes a profit. Their talent scouts are some of the best in Italy and find players all around the globe. Last year the big revelation was Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler, who showed he is a real talent and was wanted by many big clubs this summer. I think this may be his last season at Udinese because it will be pretty difficult to keep hold of him. In goal is Slovenian Samir Handanovic, who was impressive last season. Experienced veteran Emanuele Belardi will be his back-up. In defense Andrea Dossena, who was brilliant last year, has left for Liverpool. To replace him, Giovanni Pasquale was signed from Livorno. Pasquale has tons of Serie A experience and is good at getting up and down the wing. On the other side Marco Motta was brought back from his loan to Torino. The Italy U21 captain is a hardworking fullback who never stops running and should fit in really well with Udinese. In the center there is the strong pair of Christian Zapata and Felipe. Zapata is one of the best defenders in Serie A and has long been linked to a move to one of the big clubs but it still hasn’t materialized. Serbian Aleksander Lukovic is also very versatile, as he can play in the center and on the left. Swiss defender Alain Nef was signed from Piacenza to provide some depth, as well as experienced veteran Luigi Sala. In midfield Gaetano D’Agostino directs the play. D’Agostino was originally an attacking midfielder and a winger in his career but last season Marino took advantage of his excellent passing skills and placed him in front of the defense, where he flourished. Inler was a revelation last season and is a complete midfielder. Fernando Tissone, after a very good season with Atalanta, was brought in and strengthens the Udinese midfield even more. Nigerian Christian Obodo is also a good option as well as Chilean Mauricio Isla. Up front, there is Antonio Di Natale. The National team regular is the important part of Udinese’s attack. He guarantees lots of assists and goals. Fabio Quagliarella had a good season last year, and will begin his second season looking to impress and try and get back into the national team set-up. Simone Pepe was another surprise last season, as he played very well and will most probably start. I still think Antonio Floro Flores has all the qualities to be a very good striker in Serie A and maybe after a year of adaptation he’ll breakout. The gamble up top is 20 year old Chilean fantasista Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez was bought by Udinese in 2006 but was loaned to Colo-Colo and then River Plate, where he did very well. Now he gets his chance in Serie A and Sanchez is loaded with technique and skill. He has been impressing in preseason and he could be Udinese’s answer to Pato and Balotelli. The question remains however if Udinese can handle 2 competitions. The UEFA Cup may be a distraction for them and they could lose ground in Serie A. But we’ll have to see, the squad is there and Udinese should put in a good season.

    Manager: Pasquale Marino

    Best Buy: Alexis Sanchez- The Chilean wonderkid is full of tricks and skill. The Udinese fans will enjoy watching him at work.

    Probable Formation (4-3-3):
    Handanovic; MOTTA, Zapata, Felipe, Lukovic; TISSONE, Inler, D'agostino; Pepe, Di Natale, Quagliarella.


    First some notes about the coming Serie A season- this year, the top 3 teams will automatically qualify for the Champions League group stage, and the 4th place team will undergo Champions League qualifying. 5th and 6th place will qualify for the UEFA Cup, and the Coppa Italia winner will get the other UEFA spot. The Intertoto Cup has been eliminated.

    Since it’s really hard to predict who will finish it what place, I’ll just say that these teams will be the top 8 at the end of the following season, in no particular order:

    Inter, Roma, Milan, Juventus, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Palermo, Napoli

    Three of these teams will be relegated:

    Siena, Reggina, Lecce, Cagliari

    First manager fired:

    Massimiliano Allegri, Cagliari

    Week that Francesco Guidolin is back in charge of Palermo:

    Week 25

    Week that everyone gets tired of Mourinho:

    Week 3

    Best Promoted Team:

  9. forzareggina

    forzareggina Member

    United States
    Aug 24, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Reggina Calcio
    i have two of your relegation picks. i'm going with Cagliari, Siena, and Chievo.
  10. Forza_Totti

    Forza_Totti Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    AS Roma
    Great work Cassano....really appreciated the Roma review.
  11. soccerfreak9210

    Mar 19, 2007
    New Jersey
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thats awesome... thanks man
  12. fedmanco

    fedmanco New Member

    Oct 5, 2008
    Good luck to all.
  13. ItsHAMMERtime

    ItsHAMMERtime New Member

    Oct 15, 2008
    Arsenal FC
    cassano is a boss!

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