New Serie A campaign is finally set to start after the unexpected delay and we now present you teams likely to finish the season in mid table. Title contenders and Champions League hopefuls are featured in our Italian Serie A Season Preview part 1, whereas the final part of our preview is dedicated to relegation strugglers. Sides featured in this preview will be hoping to avoid the relegation race and everything above that will be a bonus.
With mad man Maurizio Zamparini at the helm of the club, you can always expect the unexpected with Palermo. The controversial president has surprised everyone by sacking coach Stefano Pioli just before the start of the season, handing the reigns to inexperienced Devis Mangia. Despite suffering big changes over the summer, the squad still boast a lot of quality, meaning that Palermo would probably be fighting for European places this season if it wasn’t for Zamparini, who is depriving his side of much needed continuity by sacking his coaches every time he feels like it. The departures of Javier Pastore, Salvatore Sirigu and Antonio Nocerino have left a big gap to fill, although the club have brought some interesting players who are yet to show they can make a real difference this season. Big changes in the playing squad and inexperience of coach Mangia will prevent Palermo from challenging the European places, but the Rosanero should be able to achieve a top half finish.
Last season: 8th
Important arrivals: Franco Vazquez (Belgrano), Francesco Della Rocca (Bologna), Edgar Alvarez (Bari), Edgar Barreto (Atalanta), Alexandros Tzorvas (Panathinaikos), Matias Silvestre (Catania), Andrea Mantovani (Chievo), Pablo Gonzalez (Novara), Eran Zahavi (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Mauro Cetto (Toulouse), Eros Pizano (Varese).
Important departures: Javier Pastore, Slavatore Sirigu (both PSG), Antonio Nocerino (Milan), Mattia Cassani (Fiorentina), Dorin Goian (Rangers), Pajtim Kasami (Fulham).
Probable starting line-up (4-3-2-1): Benussi – Aguirregaray, Silvestre, Mantovani, Balzaretti – Migliaccio, Munoz, Bacinovic – Zahavi, Ilicic – Miccoli.
Prediction: Top half finish
Pick: Season points over 49.5
Fiorentina have been constantly closing the gap behind the title contenders over the last few years, but Viola still don’t look ready to make that final step. While Adrian Mutu, Mario Santana and Gianluca Comotto all left the club, Viola managed to sign several very good footballers in Andrea Lazzari, Houssine Kharja, Santiago Silva and Mattia Cassani, while keeping hold of star players Gilardino, Montolivo and Jovetic. With the Montenegrin forward finally ready to make a real impact after recovering from a serious injury, Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side could be in for a pretty successful season, although they still face an uphill fight to ensure European qualification through league finish. All things considered, Fiorentina should improve on the 9th- place finish from last season.
Last season: 9th
Important arrivals: Andrea Lazzari (Cagliari), Houssine Kharja (Genoa), Santiago Silva (Velez Sarsfield), Mattia Cassani (Palermo).
Important departures: Adrian Mutu, Gianluca Comotto (both Cesena), Sebastien Frey (Genoa), Mario Alberto Santana (Napoli), Vlada Avramov (Cagliari).
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Boruc – Cassani, Gamberini, Natali, Pasqual – Behrami, Montolivo, Vargas – Cerci, Gilardino, Jovetic.
Prediction: Mid table finish
Pick: Fiorentina to finish above Genoa
Genoa fans are slowly getting used to mid table finishes and another boring season look to be on the cards. Everybody at the club are hoping that new boss Alberto Malesani will manage to get this team playing to their potential from the very start to the season so that Grifoni could enter the race for Europa League places. The squad have undergone certain changes over the summer, with Rafinha, Criscito, Konko and Papastathopoulos all leaving, but Genoa have subsequently signed a number of promising players who are all expected to make their contribution this season. The Grifoni also managed to keep hold of Palacio and Kucka despite heavy interest from big Italian clubs and these two players should prove to be the key to team’s efforts this term. New boss Malesani will need some time to integrate the new players into the squad, meaning that Genoa should start producing their best displays after the winter break.
Last season: 10th
Important arrivals: Sebasiten Frey (Fiorentina), Andrea Caracciolo (Brescia), Cesare Bovo (Palermo), Mattia Destro (Inter), Kevin Constant (Chievo), Alexander Merkel, Giacomo Beretta (both Milan), Sebastian Ribas (Dijon), Lucas Pratto (Universidad Catolica), Ze Eduardo (Santos), Andreas Granqvist (Groningen), Valter Birsa (Auxerre).
Important departures: Rafinha (Bayern Munich), Houssine Kharja (Fiorentina), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Werder), Stephan El Shaarawy, Gianmarco Zigoni (both Milan).
Probable starting line-up (4-4-2): Frey – Mesto, Dainelli, Granqvist, Antonelli – Constant, Merkel, Kucka, Veloso – Palacio, Ze Eduardo.
Prediction: Mid table finish
Pick: Season points over 56.5
Cesena experienced massive problems upon gaining promotion to the top flight, but after the team got used to the level of football in the elite division, they started producing some excellent results. Marco Giampaolo’s side largely impressed in the second part of the season and easily escaped the relegation zone, which was enough to persuade club chiefs into spending a lot of cash this summer to further reinforce the squad. Cavallucci Marini could do nothing to prevent Emanuele Giaccherini from joining Juventus, but not only did they keep hold of all other star players, but managed to sign some very good Serie A players, such as Adrian Mutu, Gianluca Comotto, Eder, Antonio Candreva and Jorge Martinez. Therefore, Cesena now look like genuine mid table side and they should have no problems avoiding the relegation struggle.
Last season: 15th
Important arrivals: Adrian Mutu, Gianluca Comotto (both Fiorentina), Jorge Martinez (Juventus, loan), Eder (Brescia), Antonio Candreva (Udinese, loan), Abdelkader Ghezzal (Bari, loan).
Important departures: Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus).
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Antonioli – Comotto, Von Bergen, Rossi, Lauro – Parolo, Guana, Candreva – Eder, Mutu, Malonga.
Prediction: Lower mid table
Pick: Season points over 38.5
Catania were never in danger of getting relegated last season and after showing a lot of promise in the second part of the league campaign under Vincenzo Montella, the Sicilians look destined for another mid table finish. Apart from Takayuki Morimoto and Matias Silvestre, all other starters remained at Massimino, whereas the club signed several very experienced players, such as David Suazo, Sergio Almiron, Gonzalo Bergessio and Nicola Lagrottaglie. With no major changes in the squad, Catania should be able to hit the ground running early on and if their traditionally impressive performances at home get backed up by decent displays on the travels, the Elephants could even enter the race for top half finish. One way or another, mid table finish looks on the cards for Catania.
Last season: 13th
Important arrivals: David Suazo (Inter), Sergio Almiron (Juventus), Nicola Legrottaglie (Milan), Gonzalo Bergessio (Saint Etienne), Keko (Atletico Madrid), Davide Lanzafame (Juventus).
Important departures: Matias Silvestre (Palermo), Takayuki Morimoto (Novara).
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Andujar – Alvarez, Legrottaglie, Spolli, Capuano – Almiron, Biagianti, Lodi – Gomez, Suazo, Maxi Lopez.
Prediction: Mid table finish
Pick: Catania to finish above Bologna
Cagliari have been doing really well over the last few years as the club somehow manage to keep selling their best players and still avoid the relegation fight year after year. The club from Sardinia finished last league campaign in 14th place despite picking up just one point from last five games, with poor finishes slowly becoming a tradition for Cagliari. It seems that the players lose the motivation immediately after securing survival, so the performances tend to suffer in the final stage of the season. Once again, the club have sold several key players, with Marchetti and Lazzari leaving, while players like El Kabir, Avramov, Ibarbo, Thiago Ribeiro and Ekdal have yet to show they can be real reinforcements. Cagliari may find it a bit difficult to avoid the relegation race this season, but the team should have enough quality to avoid the drop.
Last season: 14th
Important arrivals: Mostapha El Kabir (Mjallby), Victor Ibarbo (Atletico Nacional), Vlada Avramov (Fiorentina), Thiago Ribeiro (Cruzeiro, loan), Albin Ekdal (Juventus).
Important departures: Andrea Lazzari (Fiorentina), Federico Marchetti (Lazio).
Probable starting line-up (4-3-1-2): Agazzi – Ariaudo, Canini, Astori, Pisano – Biondini, Conti, Nainggolan – Cossu – El Kabir, Nene.
Prediction: Lower mid table
Pick: Season points under 46.5