Saturday Apr 10, 2021  
  22/08/2013: Serie A Preview: Part III
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The harbour city made it back to the finest division after managing to beat Empoli in the play-offs of Serie B. The arrival of the side will surely give a little more tension to the Serie A as the Livorno faithful, usually placed out on the far left side of the political scale, have many antagonists amongst fans of teams such as Hellas Verona, Internazionale, Fiorentina, Roma and Lazio. Livorno have already started their season through a Coppa Italia defeat to neighbouring town and newly relegated Siena, a 1-0 defeat that left coach Nicola puzzled. None less than four players have been loaned in from Inter and Mbaye, Duncan, Benassi and Bardi are all seen as players that are there to both add depth to the bench as well as stepping right into the starting eleven. Bardi, the next big Italian goalkeeper if one is to believe the experts, is originally a Livorno youth product that is now back to gain experience in a team where he will be given the chance to shine. Also Greco and Valentini are players expected to step in and make a difference from day one. The fan favourite, Paulinho, has constantly been linked with a move away from the side but President Spinelli made it an early priority to hang on to the player. gives the side little hope of maintaining their Serie A status and surely the team will have to over-perform in order to establish themselves as belonging to the Serie A. Prediction: 20th

After a slow start and most of the dropped points of the season happening during the first part of the 2012/2013 campaign Allegri had his men firing on all cylinders towards the end and the club was awarded with the third and final Champions League spot in the dying minutes of the season. Since then Galliani has been communicating that Milan made most of their changes last season and that Allegri has a squad good enough to work with without any greater investments. Saying that, quality signings such as Poli and Saponara could be adding the enthusiasm needed to the side, while strengthening the bench with central defender Silvestre and a new contract for Robinho adds a little depth to the squad. In Balotelli and SES, Milan have an attack in line with the best of Europe, while the search for a better offensive midfielder to add options to the existing Prince Boateng is ongoing. Honda as well as Ljajic have been of interest but at the moment no deals have been reached and Milan looked like lacking in attacking options in the season opener against PSV Eindhoven in a game that ended 1-1 and leaves all options open for the return. Challenging Juventus at the top of the league is also a priority and if the experts are to be believed Milan will end in the top three when the season is concluded in May. Prediction: 2nd

Of the top teams Napoli is the side that has made most changes ahead of this season and if Milan can be sure that their players know their place in the team Napoli has the exact opposite dilemma. Mazzarri left soon after the end of the previous campaign and Benitez was brought in. The Spaniard has carried out a mini-revolution and with De Laurentiis splashing the cash of the sale of top scorer Cavani big names such as Reina from Liverpool, Higuain, Callejon and Albiol from Real Madrid and Mertens from PSV Eindhoven gives the Napoletani reason to dream big ahead of this season. Benitez is an experienced cup coach and the CL teams will have to watch out for his team, but the question is if Hamsik & Co. will be able to live without the hard working hitman as early as this season. The lack of quality defenders is still an issue though and it is no secret that Napoli are still on the market looking for players to complete the squad. The southerners place big hopes in Benitez and so far only positive reports are being communicated from the training camp. Napoli will surely again be a side that will pick up points in their home ground where no team in the world can feel secure to snatch a point or three, but this new project might some time before reaching its fullest potential. Prediction: 3rd

A mid-table finish last year is likely to be followed up by another similar outcome of the 2013/2014 season if predictions are to be trusted. Roberto Donadoni has brought some stability to the club and there is no team that can walk over his side, but the quality is not present to launch a threat for the European spots. One big name signing has been made in the summer and much of the hope for a better finish than last year is put on Cassano’s shoulders, but everyone is also aware that things can turn ugly with the Bari son in the team. Elsewhere Pedro Mendes is a potential hit or miss for the defence, while Cassani has been added to give experience to the same back line. Amauri will be trusted to score the goals up front, where Sansone will have to step his game up in order to give options for the attack. The youngster has eyes from many clubs following him and a real breakthrough might be what awaits the German born attacker. Biabiany was an early hot target for many top clubs, at least according to media reports, but so far he stays and will be an integral part of Donadoni’s team. Also Parolo seems to remain and together the mentioned players can create problems for any side, but are simply not good enough to challenge for top spots. Parma kicked off their season by crushing Lecce 4-0 in Coppa Italia, a comforting sign that the work over the summer seems to have been fruitful. Prediction: 11th

The team we all love to hate. After the Coppa Italia loss to Lazio in May things have been turbulent, to say the least, and the storm continued through the summer and is ongoing. Roma have brought in a new coach in hopes of stabilising the situation and ex-Lille tactician Garcia will have a mountain to climb before he has won the Giallorossi faithful over. The fact the American owners seem to know little about football and are more concerned over the business that running a football club means the sales of players is what has been the main priority. After having sold Stekelenburg (Fulham) and replaced him with De Sanctis (Napoli), sent Osvaldo to Southampton and brought on Gervinho (Arsenal) and cashed in on Marquinhos (PSG) the team is surely weaker on paper this year as compared to the previous season. The arrivals of Maicon (Man.City) and Strootman (PSV Eindhoven) might pay off, but with the constant changing of personnel it is hard to create any harmony. There are two well-known faces still around though; Totti, who is about to start his final season in the Roma shirt if he is to be believed, and De Rossi will have to carry this team on their shoulders for yet another season. Added to the above Roma is currently on a five game streak without beating Lazio in the derby, something that has added to the fury present amongst the Roma fans. Prediction: 9th
Author: Khashayar Kashefi
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