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

Julian De Martinis On August - 18 - 2011

Serie A 2011-2012 Club Preview: Cagliari Calcio

Season Preview: Cagliari

Opening/Recap

Despite a very poor run at the end of the season, which saw the side pick up a mere two points out of their last 6 games, Cagliari managed a 14th place finish. Considering the departure of star striker Alessandro Matri in January to Juventus, their position in the table becomes more understandable. The rest of the strike force struggled to score, with only Robert Acquafresca matching Matri’s tally. Manager Roberto Donadoni was surprisingly sacked earlier this month, reportedly over differences with chairman Massimo Cellino over David Suazo. The Hondurian joined pre-season training only to be asked to leave days later. Overall it was a bit of a disappointing season for the side with talents such as Andrea Cossu and Nene in its ranks.

Key Acquisitions/Key Departures

All acquisitions: El Kabir (Mjallby), Sivakov (Wisla Cracovia), Ibarbo (Atletico Nacional), Avramov (Fiorentina), Gozzi (Modena).

All departures: Marchetti (Lazio), Acquafresca (Bologna), Missiroli (Reggina), Ragatzu (Gubbio), Lazzari (Fiorentina), Pelizzoli (Padova).

Unfortunately for Rossoblu tifosi, the team have only appeared to have gotten weaker during the offseason. Goalkeeper Federico Marchetti was finally let go after a lengthy battle with the club, beginning after he submitted a request to be transferred (which was promptly refused). Roberto Acquafresca’s departure means that the side have now lost both of their top scoring marksmen from last season, meaning that goals, rare as they were last campaign, will only be harder to come by. Finally the loss of Andrea Lazzari to Fiorentina will create a hole in the midfield that has yet to be filled.

The incoming transfers consist mostly of unproven Serie A talent, which new head coach Massimo Ficcadenti will hope to gamble on to replace his departing stars. The only league veteran in the bunch is goalkeeper Vlada Avramov. The Serb has only made two appearances for his national team and 5 in 4 years at Fiorentina, and will likely have to earn a starting spot from competitor Michael Agazzi.

Needs

On paper, Cagliari look to struggle immensely given the importance of their departures. Without a doubt, the side need to acquire at least one striker with Serie A pedigree. The loss of Acquafresca and Matri will leave an enormous hole in the side, which has yet to be replaced. Despite the loss of Lazzari, the midfield should be able to cope given that captain Daniele Conti, Cossu, and Davide Biondini remain. The defense, which shipped 51 goals last season, is likely to struggle as well if one of the two goalies fails to truly assert himself. The side need a very active final two weeks in the mercato to prevent a relegation battle this season.

Player To Watch

Perhaps more than ever, all eyes will be on Andrea Cossu this season at the club. The diminutive trequartista is often one of the most creative players on the peninsula, but the aforementioned deficits in attack signifies that he may have to expand his role to becoming more of a goalscorer as well. His loyalty to the side means that Ficcadenti’s men will have a great player in their ranks to rely upon in the big games, and he will have a greater burden than last season. Cossu could be the difference between a decent finish for the side and disaster this season.

What to Expect/Prediction

Flirting with relegation but ultimately safe. The side finished nine points and four places clear of the drop last season, but may be closer to Serie B as many other teams in Serie A have strengthened over the summer. It is difficult to see the side being one of the three worst teams in the league given the amount of talent that is still present, but without adequate reinforcements may struggle even more than last season. Cagliari will likely be safe from the drop come May, but it would not be surprising to see their name rather close to it.

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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