Glory and disaster; this is how the 2009/10 season for Italian football could be summed up. As Jose Mourinho’s Inter won the Treble, lifting the Champions League, Serie A and the Coppa Italia, Marcello Lippi’s Azzurri flopped badly at the World Cup in South Africa, finishing bottom of a group containing Paraguay, Slovakia and New Zealand.

Giancarlo Abete, the president of the Italian FA did not want to resign after the World Cup debacle, but he did decide to include Arrigo Sacchi, Robero Baggio and Gianni Rivera on the association’s board, with the intention of helping the country’s youth sides to prosper in future.

2010 will also be remembered as the year which saw the split of Serie A and Serie B, the first step in the creation of an Italian version of the English Premier League. On the pitch not that much has changed from last season and the usual suspects lead the way. There are no signs of an imminent power shift in Serie A; the league continues to be filled with ageing players, violence still troubles many games and the country is no longer the place to be for a promising player, but Inter still rule the roost.

Here is our team-by-team guide to the 2010/11 Serie A season.


Last year the Galletti from Apulia played some wonderful football – quite unexpected – under the management of Giampiero Ventura; their reward was a safe mid-table finish.

This season it looks set to be more difficult for Bari, especially after the departures of Andrea Ranocchia and Leonardo Bonucci. The latter will be especially missed and has already been called up by Cesare Prandelli to form part of the new-look Azzurri at the centre of the defence. Algerian Abdelkader Ghezzal, bought from relegated Siena, can play an important role for the team on the left hand side of the midfield in a 4-4-2 formation.

Key arrivals: Andrea Raggi (Bologna); Abdelkader Ghezzal (Siena)
Key departures: Andrea Ranocchia (Genoa); Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus); Riccardo Meggiorini (Bologna)
Prediction: 14th


Bologna are under new management, with Sergio Porcedda installed as president, a successor to the onwership of the Menarini family. Coach Franco Colomba hopes that the team will endure fewer difficulties in their quest to survive than last season, but it looks set to be a struggle.

Colomba will play with a classic 4-4-2 with Riccardo Meggiorini and the evergreen Marco Di Vaio needing to be on song as the front pair. Avoiding relegation would be success.

Key arrivals: Riccardo Meggiorini (Bari); Albin Ekdal (Juventus); Renè Khrin (Inter)
Key departures: Nsereko Savio (1860 Munich)
Prediction: 16th


The Rondinelle won a playoff against Torino to grab the final spot in Serie A at the end of a very troubled Serie B campaign. There have been no truly significant signings made over the summer and as a result the team will be largely the same as last season.

Giuseppe Iachini, who led the side to Serie A, will go with a 3-5-2 formation, playing Davide Possanzini and Andrea Caracciolo up front. The latter bagged 24 goals last year in Serie B, but in his previous spells in Serie A has not impressed. For Brescia to do well this much change.

Key arrivals: Matteo Sereni (Torino)
Key departures: None
Prediction: 17th


Pierpaolo Bisoli, just as Massimilano Allegri – the previous boss – was a Cagliari player in the 90s. Bisoli garnered much credit for his leadership of Cesena over the last couple of years, a team that progressed from Serie C1 to Serie A in just two seasons. At Cagliari, Bisolo will trust in last season’s squad and deploy a 4-3-1-2 formation.

There are great expectations surrounding Andrea Cossu and Andrea Lazzari as both enjoyed fine 2009/10 campaigns. There should be few fireworks, but Cagliari can surprise on their day.

Key arrivals: None
Key departures: None
Prediction: 12th



Under a new manager, Catania could employ a different setup this season. Marco Giampaolo may choose to go with a classic 4-4-2 as he used at Ascoli, or a 4-2-3-1 with the brilliant Argentinian Maxi Lopez up front.

Catania will be aiming to repeat last season’s display which saw them nicely safe in 13th place. However, Jorge Martinez has exited the club for Juventus and the jury is out over whether Alejandro Gomez can replace the influential attacking power. Catania need more strength up front or they could soon find themselves pulled into the drop zone.

Key arrivals: Alejandro Gomez (midfielder San Lorenzo de Almagro)
Key departures: Jorge Martinez ( forward Juventus)
Prediction: 18th


The club from Romagna has retured to Serie A after an absence of 19 years. New coach Massimo Ficcadenti is a strong believer in his 4-3-3 system and this is an attacking and aggressive way to approach the top flight, especially when their only aim is survival.

Cesena have brought in some interesting players like Japanese full back Yuto Nagatomo and forward Erjon Bogdani, but Serie A is very different from Serie B. Ghana star Stephen Appiah could be vital to the team’s chances and they are counting on him bossing the midfield. Expect a campaign of toil.

Key arrivals: Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo); Erjon Bogdani (Chievo); Fabio Caserta (Atalanta)
Key departures: None
Prediction: 20th

Chievo Verona

Little Chievo from Verona face another season of tribulations in order to survive in Serie A. The more famous, but now in decline, team of the town, Hellas Verona, enjoy more support than Chievo, who host top flight football in a ground often less than half full.

New manager Stefano Pioli, who got the job off the back of his performance with another minnow, Sassuolo in Serie B, looks set to play with a 4-3-1-2 formation. Mariano Bogliacino, a Uruguayan brought in from Napoli, will occupy an important role in this setup, just behind the two strikers. If he shines, so could Chievo.

Key arrivals: Mariano Bogliacino (Napoli)
Key departures: Mario Yepes (AC Milan); Erjon Bogdani (Cesena)
Prediction: 13th


The Viola suffered a bitter blow in pre-season when they lost Montenegro star Stevan Jovetic for the whole season. Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has tried to replace Jovetic with Serbian Adem Ljaijc, but the 19-year-old wonderkid, who saw a transfer to Manchester United fall through before pitching his tent in Florence, is probably not ready to single-handedly influence Fiorentina’s season.

Key men in Mihajlovic’s 4-2-3-1 formation will be the lone forward Alberto Gilardino and Riccardo Montolivo and Gaetano D’Agostino in midfield shielding the back four. A Champions League spot will be a bridge too far.
Key arrivals: Gaetano D’Agostino (Udinese); Artur Boruc (Celtic)
Key departures: Keirrison (Barcelona – loan return)
Prediction: 7th



Genoa have been busy in the transfer window as they attempt to fill in the many holes identified by coach Giampiero Gasperini last season. Up front, where Diego Milito and Marco Borriello departed some time ago, Genona realised they needed a real centre forward. Enter Luca Toni, who president Enrico Preziosi pulled out all the stops to acquire.

Full back Rafinha, who was highly rated during his time in the Bundesliga with Schalke, looks like he could enjoy an important role in Gasperini’s 3-4-3 and these are exciting times for the club.

Key arrivals: Andrea Ranocchia (Bari); Luca Toni (Bayern Munich); Eduardo (Braga); Miguel Veloso (Sporting Lisbon); Rafinha (Schalke)
Key departures: Marco Amelia (AC Milan); Sokratis Papastathopoulos (AC Milan)
Prediction: 6th


The Nerazzurri won the Treble last year, the very first time such a feat had been accomplished in Italian football history. Jose Mourinho conquered the Champions League in Madrid, but then decided to remain in the Spanish capital to manage Los Blancos. New boss, Rafael Benitez, will try to repeat the impossible this season, and of course the Spaniard knows this won’t be easy. Even so, Inter have strength in depth their rivals can only dream of.

Inter lost young striker Mario Balotelli to Manchester City, but the team is strong enough to still dominate Serie A. Benitez’s starting eleven are more than a match for anyone and the current champions look favourites to bag a sixth title in a row.

Key arrivals: Coutinho (Vasco da Gama)
Key departures: Mario Balotelli (Manchester City)
Prediction: 1st


After a disastrous 2009/10 season, La Vecchia Signora decided nothing less than a total revamp was needed. From the presidency (the influential Agnelli family returned to the helm), to the coach (Gigi Delneri in the dugout), to some expensive and impressive signings (Simone Pepe, Milos Krasic and Alberto Aquilani), Juventus are a changed team.

Delneri impressed last year at Sampdoria and is a fervent believer in the 4-4-2 system. In that scheme, Milos Krasic on the right and Simone Pepe on the left will play key roles. A better campaign can be expected and the new-look Old Lady could make a splash.

Key arrivals: Leonardo Bonucci (Bari); Jorge Martinez (Catania); Simone Pepe (Udinese); Marco Storari (AC Milan); Davide Lanzafame (Parma); Marco Motta (Roma); Milos Krasic (CSKA Moskow); Alberto Aquilani (Liverpool – loan)
Key departures: Fabio Cannavaro (Al Ahly)
Prediction: 3nd


Last season the Biancazzurri only avoided relegation in the dying days of Serie A. This summer Lazio have lost Aleksandr Kolarov, who left for big spending Manchester City, but have signed some fine players, like Australian Mark Bresciano, and there are great hopes attached to Brazilian Hernanes, who arrived from Sao Paulo.

Mauro Zarate remains up front and is always dangerous, but he will have to be on his best behaviour after the Italian police pointed the finger at the striker for a salute to the Biancazzurri’s ultras. Lazio might not take the league by storm, but they will not experience the relegation worries of last year either.

Key arrivals: Mark Bresciano (Palermo); Javier Garrido (Manchester City); Hernanes (Sao Paolo)
Key departures: Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City)
Prediction: 11th



The Giallorossi from Salerno topped Serie B last year and are targeting survival in Serie A this time around. Coach Gigi de Canio was the manager who tasted relegation with Lecce two years ago, but also the one who guided them to an instant return.

De Canio will play with a 4-3-2-1, but his defensive line looks weak, especially against the attacking power of the league’s top clubs. In the arrivals hall, Ruben Olivera has landed back in Serie A, after failing with Juventus and Genoa two years ago. De Canio still believes he can cut the mustard in the Italian game.

Key arrivals: Tore Reginiussen (Schalke); Carlos Grossmuller (Danubio);  Ruben Olivera (Penarol)
Key departures: None
Prediction: 19th


A new manager in the dugout for the Rossoneri, but few new impressive recruits. This year Milan will target the Champions League, not necessarily the Scudetto, as owner Silvio Berlusconi has other interests and worries, and the Serie A giants do not appear his primary pursuit.

Coach Massimilano Allegri wants to deploy an aggressive 4-3-3 system, but that presents the problem of fitting ageing stars Ronaldinho and Clarence Seedorf into the mix. Young guns like Alexander Merkel, Rodney Strasser and Ignazio Abate, may prove crucial to Allegri’s way of playing and could enjoy breakthrough seasons.

Key arrivals: Marco Amelia (Genoa); Mario Yepes (Chievo); Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Genoa); Kevin Prince Boateng (Genoa – loan)
Key departures: Dida (released); Giuseppe Favalli (released)
Prediction: 4rd


Aurelio De Laurentiis, Napoli’s president and a well known film producer, wants to transform the southern Italian club into a top Serie A team, and his first target is to reach the Champions League.

Last year, manager Waltar Mazzarri did well on the coach’s bench when he replaced Roberto Donadoni. Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani was Mazzarri’s biggest coup of the summer, but the remainder of the team is the same as last season. Whether this is enough of an improvement to reach Europe’s promised land is open to question; Napoli will give it their all though.

Key arrivals: Edinson Cavani (Palermo)
Key departures: Mariano Bogliacino (Chievo); Denis (Udinese)
Prediction: 5th


Last season, Palermo went into their final Serie A game with a chance of reaching the Champions League playoffs. Finally, Sampdoria stole that spot and consigned Palermo to the much less fashionable Europa League. This season they will hope to go one better.

Improving on 2009/10 will be hard however, as Palermo have seen their ranks raided by their rivals. Fabio Simplicio has left for Roma, Uruguayan Edinson Cavai headed to Napoli and Mark Bresciano for Lazio. Danish defender Simon Kjaer, signed by Wolfsburg, is perhaps the biggest loss of all though.

Fabrizio Miccoli’s decision to stay in Sicily was a boost, but it may not be enough on its own to equal last season’s heroics.

Key arrivals: Massimo Maccarone (Siena)
Key departures: Fabio Simplicio (Roma); Mark Bresciano (Lazio); Simon Kjaer (Wolfsburg); Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
Prediction: 9th



New coach Pasquale Marino is probably the right appointment for a team made up of so many youngsters and getting the best out of these will be key to Parma’s hopes this season.

Marino will play with an attacking 4-3-3 formation, with the front three most probably Fernando Marques, Valerij Bojinov and Sebastian Giovinco. Young Giovinco, newly arrived from Juventus, can be an important piece of a successful jigsaw for Parma.

The Gialloblu will look to cement a mid-table spot as soon as possible, with an eye on the European places soon after.

Key arrivals: Fernando Marques (Espanyol); Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus)
Key departures: Davide Lanzafame (Juventus)
Prediction: 8th


Last year Roma replaced Luciano Spalletti after just two matches – both defeats at the hands of Genoa and Juventus. Ever since Claudio Ranieri was installed at the Stadio Olimpico, the coach has been playing catch up with the club’s rivals, and he very nearly pulled it off, just failing to overhaul Inter.

This season Roma have been strengthened by the arrivals of Fabio Simplicio and Adriano. All things considered, the capital club look the only realistic alternative to Inter. In this case, many neutrals will root for Ranieri and his men.

Key arrivals: Fabio Simplicio (Palermo); Adriano (Flamengo)
Key departures: Marco Motta (Juventus); Nicolas Burdisso (Inter)
Prediction: 2th


Sampdoria worked magic last season, finishing in fourth spot and making it through to the Champions League. At the end of the campaign though the club suffered a big blow with the news that Gigi Delneri was leaving for Juventus. Delneri has been replaced by Mimmo Di Carlo, who did well enough at Chievo to suggest he can fill the new Juventus coach’s shoes.

Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini will continue to play an important role for the side, but a repeat of last year looks very difficult indeed. Failing to make the Champions League – Sampdoria went out to Werder Bremen in the playoff round – was a blow and they must shrug off the disappointment quickly.

Key arrivals: Gianluca Curci (Siena)
Key departures: None
Prediction: 10th


Franceso Guidolin managed Udinese in 1999 and returns to the Friuli for this campaign. Last year the club avoided relegation only at the end of the year and making sure this season is not a nail-biter is Guidolin’s priority.

While Toto Di Natale lost his final chance to make an impact on the international stage during Italy’s poor World Cup campaign, at Udinese he remains the key man. Guidolin will play a 4-3-3 with Di Natale, Alexi Sanchez and Antonio Floro Flores up front and will hope this trio can fire him to safety. A vast improvement on last season is unlikely though.

Key arrivals: Antonio Candreva (Juventus); Denis (Napoli)
Key departures: Gaetano D’Agostino (Fiorentina); Simone Pepe (Juventus)
Prediction: 15th