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


The third part of our team by team review of the Serie A season is up. Read parts 1 and 2

HELLAS VERONA — Verona, Italy

16/17 Finish: Serie B Runners-up
Coach: Fabio Pecchia
Stadium: Marc’Antonio Bentogodi Stadium
Best Player: FW Giampaolo Pazzini


DM Marco Fossati
RW Alessio Cerci
CB Martin Caceres
LB Gian Filippo Felicioli
CB Nicolo Cherubin
CB Thomas Heurtais
CM Marcel Buchel
RW Daniele Verde
CM Bruno Zuculini
GK Marco Silvestri

After bouncing right back to the Serie A following their 15/16 relegation, Hellas Verona will look to consolidate their top flight status with a young team bolstered by experienced additions Caceres and Cerci, along with captain Pazzini. They should survive the drop.

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Nicolas; Romulo, Caceres, Ferrari, Souprayen; Bessa, Buchel, Valoti, Verde, Pazzini, Cerci.

LAZIO — Rome, Italy

16/17 Finish: 5th
Coach: Simone Inzaghi
Stadium: Olimpico
Best Player: MF Sergej Milinkovic-Savic


• RB Adam Marusic
• DM Lucas Leiva
• CF Felipe Caicedo
• CF Simone Palombi
• DM Davide di Gennaro

Lazio lost 4th place right at the end of last season in disappointing fashion. The 5th place finish still left them in direct qualification to Europe, but it’s sure to leave a bitter taste in their mouth. They will look to prove they are not a one-season wonder by improving on their last campaign, but the loss of Lucas Biglia to Milan will make it tough, and he wasn’t the only prized possession. They can’t afford to let de Vrij or Keita Blade leave either. Breakout sensation Sergej and top scorer Immobile will both be back, and this along with the rapid development of young goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha should see them through to another strong year.

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Strakosha; Basta, de Vrij, Bastos, Radu; M. Parolo, di Gennaro, Sergej; Felipe Anderson, Immobile, Keita Balde.

MILAN — Milan, Italy

16/17 Finish: 6th
Coach: Vincenzo Montella
Stadium: San Siro
Best Player: MF Giacomo Bonaventura

• CB Leonardo Bonucci
• CF Andre Silva
• RB Andrea Conti
• AM Hakan Calhanoglu
• CB Mateo Musacchio
• LB Ricardo Rodriguez
• CM Franck Kessie
• LW Fabio Borini
• GK Antonio Donnarumma
• DM Lucas Biglia


Soon after acquiring new owners, AC Milan were full of promise: now, the faith has been rewarded and their team has been completely renovated. They have gone about injecting life into a formerly stale, heavily injured squad that barely finished in 6th place with 1st-year head coach Vincenzo Montella at the helm; adding names familiar but new to Serie A from around Europe such as Rodriguez, Musacchio and Calhanoglu. Now rid of dead wood, armed with the perfect balance of youth & experience, and led by the lone surviving bright spot of their Dark Ages Giacomo Bonaventura, the new Milan is one of hope. That, coupled with the emergence of young stars as key players, first in Suso then in primavera standout Patrick Cutrone, and the shocking addition of Leonardo Bonucci means the sky is the limit for the red&black. Montella’s men will be gunning for the Champions League again.

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Conti, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura; Suso, Andre Silva, Calhanoglu.


NAPOLI — Naples, Italy

16/17 Finish: 3rd
Coach: Maurizio Sarri
Stadium: San Paolo
Best Player: MF Marek Hamsik


• LW Adam Ounas
• LB Mario Rui

Napoli had an incredible season last year, led by the invigorated Dries Mertens in his best ever campaign. The attacking side played the best football in the league, thanks to the efforts of 2nd-year head coach Maurizio Sarri, but he has not made any major acquisitions this summer: save for redeeming the loan obligations of Maksimovic and Marko Rog. But their squad remains one of the best in the league, largely due to the return to fitness of center-forward Arek Milik, which will ease Mertens’ scoring burden this season. Long term question marks still remain at goalkeeper, with Pepe Reina’s future in doubt. They have done well to hang on to key defender Koulibaly, but must find a consistent partner for him. The young players, Diawara, Hysaj, Zielinski, and Marko Rog also provide fantastic depth for them and are names to watch. Regardless, they are poised to be the biggest challengers to Juve’s crown.

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Reina; Hysaj, Koulibaly, Maksimovic, Rui; Zielinski, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne.


Article By: Paracelsus, @DoctorDrugFree