Season’s Preview: The Italian Serie A – Crotone to Juventus (Part Two)


The second part of our team by team Serie A preview continues. 

CROTONE — Crotone, Italy

16/17 Finish: 17th
Coach: Davide Nicola
Stadium: Marc’Antonio Bentegodi Stadium

Best Player: Alex Cordaz


• LM Oliver Kragl
• RM Davide Faraoni
• CM Mariano Izco
• CB Leandro Cabrera
• CB Arlind Ajeti
• CF Marcello Trotta
• DM Rolando Mandragora
• CF Ante Budimir
• LM Giovanni Crociata

Davide Nicola did the impossible and guided Crotone to safety. Now he must repeat the feat with a tougher crop of teams. Luckily for him, he will have a stronger squad, bolstered by talented young players and experienced players alike. He should be able to survive again, if not only because this time around the pressure to stay up will be on the other new boys, not him.


Projected Starting XI (4-4-2): Cordaz; Rosa, Claiton, Ferrari, Marcela; Faraoni, Mandragora, Kotnik, Crociata; Trotta, Budimir.


FIORENTINA — Florence, Italy

16/17 Finish: 8th
Coach: Stefano Pioli
Stadium: Artemio Franci Stadium
Best Player: MF Milan Badelj


• CB Vitor Hugo
• CM Jordan Veretout
• CM Marco Benassi
• CB Nikola Milenkovic
• RB Bruno Gaspar
• DM Carlos Sanchez
• CM Sebastian Cristoforo

  • LB Maxi Oliviera
  • AM Valentin Eysseric
  • LW Rafik Zekhnini
  • LW Gil Dias
  • CF Giovanni Simeone

• LW Rafik Zekhnini
• CF Martin Graiciar
• CM Gaetano Castrovilli

New manager Stefano Pioli has quite a challenge on his hands. Fiorentina declined last season, and after the 15/16 campaign that saw them finish 5th, they stuttered to an uninspired 8th position. That average season, coupled with the fact that he has lost star players Gonzalo Rodriguez, Ciprian Tatarusanu, Federico Bernardeschi (to Juventus), and the pair of Matias Vecino & Borja Valero (both to Inter.) With a ton of new additions the issue will be to hold on the few key players left while making sure the new boys gel quickly because they don’t have time. In spite of that, the lack of European competition will help them bounce back this season, as will the emergence of new talisman Federico Chiesa.

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Sportiello; Gaspar, Vitor Hugo, Milenkovic, Oliviera; Badelj, Veretout; Tello, Saponara, Chiesa; Simeone.



GENOA — Genoa, Italy

16/17 Finish: 16th
Coach: Ivan Juric
Stadium: Luigi Ferraris Stadium
Best Player: GK Mattia Perin


• LW Ricardo Centurion
• CM Oscar Hiljemark
• CF Gianluca Lapadula
• RM Thomas Rodriguez
• CB Nicolas Spolli
• CF Andrej Galabinov
• CM Andrea Bertolacci
• CB Ervin Zukanovic

Ivan Juric will have to improve Genoa quickly this season. They were truly terrible for much of last season, surprise wins against Milan and Juventus unable to raise their fortunes as they finished barely above the drop zone. The return of keeper Mattia Perin will surely be a plus, as will the addition of Milan striker Lapadula to take the pressure of young star Giovanni Simeone. I expect that Juric can reverse his side’s fortunes if their new signings quickly settle into place.

Projected Starting XI (3-4-3): Perin; Spolli, Zukanovic, Gentiletti; Lazovic, Bertolacci, Veloso, Laxalt; Rodriguez, Lapadula, Centurion.




INTER — Milan, Italy

16/17 Finish: 7th
Coach: Luciano Spalletti
Stadium: San Siro
Best Player: FW Mauro Icardi


• CM Matias Vecino
• LB Dalbert
• CB Milan Skriniar
• CM Borja Valero
• CF Facundo Colidio
• GK Daniele Padelli

If there is one thing Inter fans can be sure of it’s that their team will probably be better than last year. The confusing implosion that happened at the end of the 16/17 term is unlikely to repeat itself, and with decent new signings like Borja Valero, Skriniar, & Dalbert, along with a strong preseason in which the rejuvenated Jovetic has starred, the signs are pointing to an improved campaign for the black&blue. With their ever-reliable goalkeeper Handanovic coming off a great season and their talismanic captain Icardi primed for another 20-goal campaign, the sky is always the limit for them. Realistically though, I expect them to compete for 3rd place with their now similarly wealthy cousins Milan.

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Miranda, Dalbert; J. Mario, Gagliardini, B. Valero; Candreva, Icardi, Perisic.




JUVENTUS — Turin, Italy

16/17 Finish: 1st
Coach: Massimiliano Allegri
Stadium: Allianz Stadium
Best Player: FW Gonzalo Higuain


• RW Federico Bernardeschi
• RB Mattia de Sciglio
• GK Wojciech Szczesny
• LW Douglas Costa
• CM Rodrigo Bentancur
• CB Dario del Fabro

Juventus will try to win an unprecedented seventh Scudetto in a row, but this one will be the most difficult of all, as they must do it without defensive superstar Leonardo Bonucci, and with an aged Gianluigi Buffon in goal. They have attempted to remedy that by signing a host of new players, including Buffon’s would-be replacement Szczesny, but one gets the feeling that the rest of Serie A has stepped forward while Juventus has stayed still. Last season Higuain justified his big price tag with a fantastic goal tally and a domestic double, but now an even greater burden will be placed on him as the white&black attempt to fend off the challenge of the Rome and Milan clubs. Allegri has his hands full.

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Buffon; de Sciglio, Barzagli, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Pjanic, Khedira; Bernardeschi, Dybala, D. Costa; Higuain.


Article By: Paracelsus, @DoctorDrugFree