Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Julian De Martinis On August - 26 - 2011

Italian Serie A 2011-12 Club Preview: A.C. Chievo Verona

Season Preview: Chievo

Opening/Recap

For a side that rarely spends massive amounts of money if any at all, Chievo managed a fantastic 11th place finish last season. Coach Stefano Pioli organized a side that was superb defensively, conceding the fourth lowest amount of goals of all the teams in Serie A- Only Lazio, Napoli, and Milan conceded fewer. Yet the side had an enormously difficult time scoring, totaling a mere 38 goals in 38 games, the fifth lowest in the league. The defensive solidarity was enough to keep the side far away from a relegation battle, but their attacking impotency prevented a march towards a European place.

Key Acquisitions/Key Departures

All Acquisitions: Acerbi (Reggina), Bassoli (Foligno), Hetemaj (Brescia), Bentivoglio (Bari), Iunco (Torino), Fatic (Cesena), Carretta (Andria), Longhi, Cruzado (Grasshoppers), Paloschi (Milan), Puggioni (Reggina), Drame (Sochaux), Sammarco (Cesena)

All Departures:

Constant (Genoa), Bogliacino (Napoli), Gelson Fernandes (Leicester), Marcolini (Padova), Mantovani (Palermo), Iori (Torino), Granoche (Novara), Guana (Cesena), Iunco (Spezia), Malagò (Lumezzane), Rincon (Troyes), Bentivoglio (Sampdoria).

The side have had a relatively quiet mercato. The biggest import by far has been the acquisition of Alberto Paloschi on loan from Milan. The 21-year-old featured in the latter half of last season for Genoa, scoring twice in 12 games. The rest of the incoming transfers are mostly gambles from lower divisions, although Paolo Sammarco from Cesena could prove to be a tidy midfield reinforcement.

Keeping Stefano Sorrentino will be the team’s biggest challenge this mercato, as the goalie has been continuously linked with Palermo due to Salvatore Sirigu’s departure from the Sicilian side. Andrea Mantovani’s departure to the Rosanero however could prove disastrous, as the defender featured in 31 of Chievo’s 38 games last season. 35-year-old Michele Marcolini was another part of the superb defense that has left for different pastures.

Needs

Given the aforementioned departures of the side’s defenders, Chievo will need to bring in major defensive reinforcements to hope to repeat last season’s solidarity. Furthermore, little has been done to increase the attacking prowess of the side, with Domenco Di Carlo’s men likely to be reliant upon Paloschi and captain Sergio Pellissier to notch goals. Finally, the side desperately need to continue resisting Palermo’s calls for their goalkeeper.

Player To Watch

It has to be Alberto Paloschi. He’s truly the side’s only marquee signing of the summer, which is a stretch in and of itself. The striker will need to form a superb partnership with the club captain to not only improve on last season’s goal average of one per game but compensate for the anticipated decline of the defense. The youngster will be eager to prove to parent side Milan that he is Pippo Inzaghi’s true successor, as the striking legend himself has stated, and thus will be aware of the pressure upon him. However this could very well be the kind that turns carbon into diamonds.

What to Expect/Prediction

A possible relegation battle looms. Chievo’s best asset from last season, the side’s defensive, looks to be considerably worse. Their attack was relegation form at best, and thus the team will likely struggle far more than they did last year. For Chievo to have hopes of repeating a mid-table position, the new signings must gel immediately and a formidable striking duo needs to be established. Luckily, Di Carlo has formed a reputation for getting mediocre players to form a solid, difficult to penetrate side, and thus looks to be the right man for the job.

Julian De Martinis

Calcio, Azzurri, and Roma tifosi. Blogger, correspondent, podcast host (@LaMagicast). Lover of books, movies, wordplay, family, and a good cappuccino.

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