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

2010 - 11 Recap

What a contrast there is between the three newly promoted teams arriving in Serie A this season. Two of them, Atalanta and Siena, make a quick return to Italy’s top-flight after just a season’s absence, the third , Novara, are welcomed back into the peninsula’s premier division for the first time in 55 years . It seemed for much of their previous campaign in Serie B that the club from Piedmont would arrive at Italy’s top table as champions but a late season wobble with the finishing line in sight, handed the initiative to Atalanta and Siena - the Bergamo club finally taking the title by two points from the team from Tuscany

Key Acquisitions

Atalanta - German Denis, Andrea Masiello, Stefano Lucchini, Manolo Gabbiadini, Maximiliano Moralez

Siena - Joel Acosta, Matteo Contini, Daniele Mannini, Gaetano D’Agostino, Mattia Destro, Paul Codrea

Novara - Jeda, Hernan Dellafiore, Ivan Radovanovic, Pablo Granoche, Takayuki Morimoto, Massimo Paci, Ricardo Meggiorini

Key Departures

Atalanta - Mario Defendi, Francesco Ruopolo, Nicola Amoruso, Leonardo Talamonti

Siena - Luca Marrone, Ferdinando Coppola, Jardim Brandao, Francesco Bolzoni, Fabrizio Cacciatore

Novara - Pablo Gonzalez, Cristian Bertani, Andrea Parolo

The Summer So Far

Atalanta have had a summer to forget, the subject of which was well documented in last weeks Minority Report. Coach Stefano Colantuono sees his team rooted to the foot of the Serie A table before a ball has been kicked, the clubs six point penalty for their  involvement in the much publicised betting scandal was upheld last week in an Italian court. Despite all this, supporters have given Colantuono’s men their backing with over seven and a half thousand season tickets already sold for the new campaign. The first meaningful action of the season actually started last weekend with a 3-4 defeat in a thrilling TIM Cup tie against Gubbio. The star of the show as far as the Nerazzurri were concerned, was promising young striker Manolo Gabbiadini, who grabbed his sides third goal. The club kick-off their league campaign at home to Cesena on Sunday evening.

In total contrast to Atalanta, Siena have had a good summer of preparation under new coach Giuseppe Sannino. There is real optimism in the city ahead of Saturday night’s big kick-off against Tuscan giants Fiorentina. Last Sunday, the Robur beat Torino in the third preliminary round of the TIM Cup and can now boast over seven thousand season ticket holders for the upcoming league campaign. New signing Gaetano D’Agostino has been glowing in his praise of the new tactician as he prepares to face his former employers on Saturday. The tifosi had the chance to show their appreciation of the diligent work being done by the club at the team presentation on Thursday evening.

Novara supporters must still be pinching themselves at the prospect of their team crossing swords with the likes of Milan Inter and Juventus. Coach Attilio Tesser has overseen an amazing transformation at a club that achieved back to back promotions. The supporters will have to familiarise themselves with  a new look forward line this term after the captures of Jeda, Takayuki Morimoto and Ricardo Meggiorini. The club’s meteoric rise has not been without its detractors however with the Stadio Silvio Piola’s artificial playing surface causing much concern for the rest of the division. Triestina certainly didn’t feel at home on it last weekend when Tesser’s men smashed four goals past them to ease into the next round of the TIM Cup. As with their  newly promoted colleagues, the tifosi have thrown their backing behind the team with over six thousand season tickets sold. First into the lions den on Sunday is Palermo, the 55 year wait for top-flight football is nearly over.

What Next

It seems all three clubs have finished their business in the summer transfer window and now it is all about concentrating on survival in the top-flight. Atalanta have a fairly comfortable looking start to the new campaign and will look to eat into their six point deficit and by the end of September, will hope to back in the black. Siena have a rather more difficult opening to the new season starting with a home derby against Fiorentina and then in match-day three, the tifosi get a chance to welcome back former coach Antonio Conte as he brings his Juventus side to the Artemio Franchi before Sannino’s men head to the capital to face Roma.

Novara will be hoping to make the most of their home comforts and use this as a stepping stone to Serie A survival. The highlight of their first month back in the top-flight is the visit of Inter on match-day four but Tesser will be optimistic about their opening away fixtures which sees the Biancoazzurri visit Chievo and Cagliari respectively.

Men To Watch

The recent acquisition of Argentinian German Denis to Atalanta’s front-line has given coach Stefano Colantuono some vital experience ahead of the big kick-off. After a career that so far, has failed to live up to expectations, the 29-year-old will see a move to Bergamo as a chance to kick start his career after an unhappy spell at Udinese.  Denis has had the misfortune of suffering a loss of form at just the wrong time during his time in the peninsula and surely he must now realise that it is now or never if he is to fulfill the potential that he undoubtedly has.

Another player hoping to resurrect his career is Siena midfielder Gaetano D’Agostino. After a brilliant four year spell with Udinese, the 29-year-old moved to Fiorentina in a co-ownership deal. Things didn’t quite work out in the Tuscan capital and now he finds himself revitalised after his summer move to the Bianconeri. Coach Giuseppe Sannino is aware of the quality D’Agostino can give to his midfield and if he is able to re-capture the form he displayed in Udine, where he was undoubtedly one of the best midfield players in the country, then there is no reason to suggest that the player cannot add to the five full international caps he has already won.

Every manager needs an on field general and in Attilio Tesser’s case that player is midfielder Marco Rigoni. The 31-year-old has been an integral part of the Novara fairy-tale since joining the club in 2009. Tesser has always trusted in the players ability since coaching him at Triestina in 2006. The obvious question now will be can the midfield veteran produce the quality he has shown over the previous two campaigns at the very highest level - Tesser seems to be in no doubt and who are we to question his judgement.

Predictions

History points to at least one of the new arrivals making a quick return to Serie B. On only two occasions (2006/07 and 2007/08) has all three newly promoted teams avoided immediate relegation. So who has the best chance of survival? Atalanta and Siena can point to the experience of knowing what to expect over the coming nine months but Novara has the advantage of being an unknown quantity and of course, that plastic pitch. The fight for Serie A survival this year looks set to be just as fascinating as the battle to win the championship. Don’t be surprised if all three of the newly promoted teams stay around for longer than many people expect.

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