lørdag den 22. august 2009

Serie A 2009/10 preview part II

Btw I've added a "worth watching player" for every team in part I.

Still in alphabetical order:


The flying donkeys are still around. People in Verona still prefer... Well Verona, and captain Sergio Pellisser is still the best player.

Coach Di Carlo or maybe rather the club apparently have ambitions of securing Euro League play for the club.
If so, then some of the many draws from last season has to be converted into wins. Only Lecce drew more games, and staying clear once again of relegation looks to be the much more pressing matter, for a team who on paper at least doesn't look very impressive, than any time soon conquering Europe.

Worth watching: Nicolas Frey: The brother of star goalkeeper Sebastian has become a solid defender.


For Fiorentina the goal is once again the top 4 and despite losing Melo to Juventus they still have what it takes to mount a serious challenge to repeat that.

Despite last season, maybe for the first time during his reign, coach Prandelli came under some fire, thankfully no one really panicked and one of the world's best coaches is still at the helm.
Prandelli seems to always make the right tactical adjustments both before and during games and has his team working hard at all times.
He has the players to play both a conventional 4-4-2 as well as more flexible systems like 4-2-3-1.
One worry for both of these systems is if there will enough defensive quality in midfield now that Melo is gone.
There is no doubt there is plenty of skill with the likes of Montolivio, Jovetic, Mutu, Santana, Vargas and Marchionni behind Gilardino up front, so even with that being very good too, it's not exactly Melo's passing that will be missed, BUT defensively, players like Christiano Zanetti and Kuzmanovic needs to have good seasons.
Montelivio and/or Jovetic improving physically would definitely also help fill the void.

For the back-four, veteran central defender Cesare Natali has been brought in for more depth, something needed with (hopefully) Champions League play coming up, and he will battle solid Per Krøldrup and experienced Dainelli for the right to play alongside World Cup aspirant Gamberini.

Always an x-factor is skilled danish veteran Martin Jørgensen who has turned into something of a utility man with flair for all the wide positions. Not just the attacking ones these days but the fullback roles too.

Worth watching: Alberto Gilardino: He is still not the greatest technician but without the ball he makes some of the best runs between defenders of anyone, making him a very dangerous striker.
He just has a gift of awesome timing when it comes to that and it inevitably results in a lot of good scoring chances.
At Fiorentina behind him he has plenty of people who can pass him the ball and with his old Parma buddy Marchionni joining the team, another player who can cross it too.
With World Cup places at stake he should have another excellent season.


Finishing 5th with same points total as Fiorentina, Genoa barely missed Champions League qualification.
Led by former Juventus head of youth, dare I say coaching genius, Gian Piero Gasperini, Genoa were excellent throughout winning many fans with their style of play.
They play, a these days very rare 3-4-3, which is based on just about everyone contributing to both sides of play.
It can be said that on more than most teams, when watching Genoa there is a lot of two-way play to admire, from a lot of different players. Everywhere from the attacking positions to the defensive ones.

Two years ago when they lost top scorer Marco Boriello to AC Milan they managed to replace him with something even better.
Genoa hero Diego Milito was brought back from Spain and with his skill and speed in and around the penalty area he was the perfect fit for Genoa's quick passing game.
Now he is gone too and is finally getting a chance at a really big club and repeating what they did with Boriello and find even better replacements seems impossible.

However there is no doubt that Genoa is a great team to be the main striker on and whether one in the group gets to become the clear number one option or if the goals will be more spread, everyone of the replacements is good enough to score a nice number of goals for an attacking team as good as this.
Figueora is back from loan at Boca Juniors and can play as a wide forward as well.
Floccari signed from Atlanta and has some of the same qualities of Milito.
Crespo is more of a gamble and I wonder if he still has the movement needed to be really effective in this system, but even that is something that can be adjusted for and Gasperini as always will have everyone complementing eachother's strenghts very well.
Another player who has moved on who was a great succes last season is Thiago Motta.
Motta who had seen much of his promising career ruined by injuries was a real gamble but he stayed healthy and was one of the best midfielders in Serie A.
That they likely won't have anymore but they've still bought very well I think.
Zapater is a rare Spanish player in Serie A. He is 24 but has loads of experience already and from what I've seen is a complete player.
Houssine Kharja who was probably Siena's best player last season has also been bought.
Add them to already in place proven veterans Marco Rossi and Ivan Juric and you have a solid midfield group with plenty of options.

Defensively Genoa also lost a key player last season. Matteo Ferrari wasn't getting any younger but he was someone with a lot of experience and who was comfortable in three man defensive systems.
Luckily though Genoa have some great defensive talent at their club.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos has an impossible name but is recognized as the most promising greek defender.
He actually goes under the nickname "The greek Tony Adams" believe it or not.
He should be even more comfortable in the system this year and has all the qualities to be a good defender for many years to come.
Alongside him is perhaps Italy's most talented defender, Salvatore Bocchetti
He is someone who has drawn comparisons to the young Fabio Cannavaro.
Like Cannavaro he isn't tall or overly strong but outplays defenders through expert timing, superiour athleticism, great tackling ability and classic italian old school defensive instincts belying his young age.

Another permanent fixture last season was Domenice Criscito. He is another young talented player. Someone who on a personal note I definitely wish was still at Juventus. Who in this system can play both as a defender in the three-back line and as the left-wingback.
He is a very complete player who at this point I wouldn't say necessarily is excellent at anything but good at everything with no real weaknesses.
To help him out some this year is another very good addition, because he is such a good fit, signed from Valencia, Emiliano Moretti.
He has the potential to play the very demanding left-wingback position meaning Criscito could play in the back or it could simply be vice versa with Moretti in the backline.

Finally Genoa even managed to upgrade their goalkeeper position by bringing in (read:stealing) Italy number 2 Marco Amelia in a swap deal with Palermo, sending Genoa's Brazilian keeper Rubinho the other way.

Teams this year will now know for certain that Genoa are for real and increasingly try to adjust and create I suspect mainly counter attacking scemes, but it's easier said than done. Unlike Roma when things aren't working optimally there, there is just so much good two-way play on this team that they're hard to outplay, in either end.

Worth watching: Rodrigo Palacio: Tagging along with Figueora from Boca Juniors, Palacio is yet another in a seemingly endless line of great attacking talent coming from Argentina.
He is a bit older and likely without the upside of compatriots Ezequiel Lavezzi and Mauro Zarate who have become Serie A stars, but I suspect by the end of the season Palacio will have joined them when it comes to that kind of recognition.

He will occupy mostly the right forward spot and with his very good technique coupled with a good workrate, creativity and pace, he should be one of Genoa's best players this season and probably the most important when it comes to re-creating the goals gone with Milito.


Well I have about half the teams still to go, so turns out there will indeed be a part 3 and it probably won't be finished until after the games tomorrow, sadly enough!
Speaking of tomorrow, even more sadly, I have a birthday to attend and therefore will definitely miss, maybe all of the games live!


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