Season’s Preview: The Italian Serie A – Part Four


Thus far, we have previewed the Serie A team by team, looking at 15 teams in parts 1, 2 and 3. This is the concluding part of the Serie A Preview. Enjoy!


ROMA — Rome, Italy

16/17 Finish: 2nd
Coach: Eusebio di Francesco
Stadium: Olimpico
Best Player: MF Radja Nainggolan


• RB Rick Karsdorp
• LW Cengiz Under
• CM Lorenzo Pellegrini
• CB Hector Moreno
• CF Gregoire Defrel
• DM Max Gonalons
• LB Alexander Kolarov

The arrival of fabled director Monchi to Roma meant two things to me at the time: one a lot of players were going to be sold, and two, their team was going to get a lot younger. Now that both of those have come to frutition, (including on the touchline, with Sassuolo coach Eusebio de Francesco replacing Spaletti) the new Roma is one of many new faces. Most importantly though, the two midfield figureheads Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan both avoided the exit door, providing much needed stability at least in one area of the pitch. Top scorer Edin Dzeko also returns, though his burden will be eased by one of the new arrivals, also from Sassuolo. Gregoire Defrel. Gelling all the new parts together will be quite the task though, and I think even Nainggolan won’t be able to prevent the decline that comes with so many key losses and moving parts.

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Karsdorp, Fazio, Manolas, Kolarov; Pellegrini, Strootman, Nainggolan; Perotti, Dzeko, el-Shaarawy.


SPAL — Ferrara, Italy

16/17 Finish: Serie B Champions
Coach: Leonardo Semplici
Stadium: Paolo Mazza Stadium
Best Player: GK Alex Meret



• CF Alberto Paloschi
• CB Felipe
• LB Pa Konate
• CF Jacopo Murano
• GK Alfred Gomis
• LM Riccardo Mastrilli
• CM Alberto Grassi
• RB Federico Matiello
• CB Marios Oikonomou
• CB Lorenzo Polvani
• CM Luca Rizzo
• DM Federico Viviani
• CB Sauli Vaisanen

New boys SPAL will hope to use their many additions to survive the new Serie A season. With Alex Meret in goal, never count them out.

Projected Starting XI (3-5-2): Meret; Oikonomou, Vicari, Felipe; Lazzari, Grassi, Viviani, Mora, Konate; Paloschi, Floccari.

SAMPDORIA — Genoa, Italy

16/17 Finish: 10th
Coach: Marco Giampaolo
Stadium: Luigi Ferraris
Best Player: FW Patrik Schick

• CF Gianluca Caprari
• AM Gaston Ramirez
• LB Nicola Murru
• CM Bruno Fernandes
• CF David Kownacki

Sampdoria have had perhaps the best summer of any weaker Serie A side. Marco Giampaolo led them comfortably to 10th place, and their dangerous 4-4-2 Diamond will be even more potent thanks to the addition of Caprari and the retention of breakout forward Patrik Schick after his move to Juventus was called off. Armed with many talented youngsters, they should be the next overachievers of Serie A, following in Sassuolo’s and Atalanta’s footsteps to finish in the Top 6.

Projected Starting XI (4-4-2 Diamond): Viviano; Bereszynski, Silvestre, Regini, Murru; Torreira; Barreto, Praet; Ramirez; Schick, Caprari.


SASSUOLO — Modena, Italy

16/17 Finish: 12th
Coach: Cristian Bucci
Stadium: MAPEI Stadium
Best Player: FW Domenico Berardi

• CM Francesco Cassata
• CB Riccardo Marchizza
• RW Federico Ricci
• CB Edoardo Goldaniga
• CM Davide Fratessi
• CM Filippo Bandinelli
• GK Leonardo Marson

Sassuolo are in rebuilding mode this year after losing coach di Francesco to Roma. But luckily the fact that Berardi seems poised to spend at least one more year in the MAPEI is a beacon of hope to green&black fans. They have added talented youth, and will look to improve on a disappointing 12th placed finish, the loss of Defrel will make Berardi’s burden even greater, and he will need to step up his game mightily in order to carry them to the Top 10. Diego Falcinelli had a great season on loan at Crotone and he will be back with them this season, along with breakout winger Matteo Politano, and they both will hope to ease Berardi’s workload in time.

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Consigli; Lirola, Acerbi, Cannavaro, Peluso; Duncan, Mazzitelli, Sensi; Berardi, Falcinelli, Politano.


TORINO — Turin, Italy

16/17 Finish: 9th
Coach: Sinisa Mihajlovic
Stadium: Grande Torino Olympic Stadium
Best Player: FW Andrea Belotti

• CB Lyanco
• LW Alex Berenguer
• GK Vanja Milinkovic-Savic
• CB Nicolas N’Koulou
• GK Salvatore Sirigu

Torino could have played in Europe this year if their defense was better in 16/17. 2nd-year head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has sought to address this problem by bringing two new center-halves and a goalkeeper. Offensively, he can relax because the talismanic striker Andrea Belotti has stoved off all interest to see out his Torino contract, and he will look to make sure they improve on their 9th place finish. They have added smart upgrades at key positions, most especially in Sirigu & Lyanco, though the loss of Benassi in midfield will be a red flag. Promising youngster Lucas Boye is a name to watch, as well as the possible addition of Duvan Zapata. But all eyes will be on the main man Belotti, to see if he can reach heights as yet unattained by both he individually, and Torino as a whole.

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Sirigu; Zappacosta, Lyanco, N’Koulou, Barreca; Baselli, Valdifiori, Acquah; Berenguer, Belotti, Ljalic.


UDINESE — Udine, Italy

16/17 Finish: 13th
Coach: Luigi Delneri
Stadium: Friuli Stadium
Best Player: FW Rodrigo de Paul

• CF Riad Basic
• LB Giuseppe Pezzella
• CB Bram Nuytinck
• AM Antonin Barak
• CM Mamadou Coulibaly
• RM Svante Ingelsson
• GK Albano Bizzarri
• CB Molla Wague
• RW Aly Malle

Udinese had a relatively quiet campaign, but after adding some smart young players, they should be in position to build on what they started in 16/17. Rodrigo de Paul proved to be an inspired addition, and they will come to rely on him even more this season now that Duvan Zapata could be out.

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Karnezis; Widmer, Danilo, Angella, Samir; Coulibaly, Halfredsson, Jankto; de Paul, Basic, Thereau.


Article By: Paracelsus, @DoctorDrugFree