It has been a month since the start of the new Italian Serie B league, which, has usual, proves to be one of the toughest, longest and most difficult to predict tournaments that we have.
Apart from the freshly relegated Pescara, Palermo and Empoli from Serie A last season, we will have more fierce rivals battling for the title in Italy’s second most prestigious division; just think of last year, where the newly promoted (from Lega Pro) SPAL won the tournament and Benevento (newly promoted as well) got their ticket to Serie A after and incredible playoff run.
The standings, after 5 rounds, can already give us a clearer idea of what to expect, with Frosinone trying an early sprint and Perugia, Carpi and Palermo not willing to lose ground and ready to capitalize on Frosinone’s errors.
Let’s analyze all the 22 teams that participate in this year’s Serie B one by one to have a better understanding of what each team’s season goal could be together with their strengths and weaknesses.
Ascoli: Ascoli, the team from Marche (the region), are set to have another struggling season after they managed to avoid relegation last year at the very end. Home games points will surely be crucial to avoid relegation given a poor form on the road.
Avellino: Avellino has been on a rollercoaster during these first matches of the season with pretty positive performances at home but with an attitude on the road that needs to be improved. Their main goal is to comfortably avoid relegation, despite the attacking power provided by Ardemagni and Castaldo.
Bari: Bari’s season is not easy to predict. They are somewhere between their big pre-season ambitions and the poor results in these first rounds. Will they manage to reach the playoffs despite their demanding fans? They surely need to be more constant with their results, especially away from home.
Brescia: Brescia’s main goal is to avoid relegation, with the team from Lombardia willing to achieve this as soon as possible. Will the endless Caracciolo manage to lead Brescia to stay in Serie B?
Carpi: Carpi is one of the biggest favorites to win it all. Last year’s defeat against Benevento still hurts and the goal is to forget it as soon as possible and reach for the top. M’bakogu (their main striker) and a very strong defense (0 goals allowed in the first 3 games) should at least guarantee a playoff spot to the White and Reds.
Cesena: Cesena’s season goal is surely to easily stay in Serie B. After a terrible start, it looks like they have found some confidence with a nice home win against Avellino. Will it be enough? The on-the-road performance is for sure not sufficient; too many goals conceded and 0 scored.
Cittadella: Cittadella’s will is to repeat last season’s run, which guaranteed them a playoff spot. Will they manage to make it after the ups and downs in these first games? For now, the loss to Frosinone and the draw with Perugia seem to indicate a lack of maturity for this team. Most likely, playoffs will happen if Litteri (forward) will find consistency with scoring.
Cremonese: Cremonese is a newly promoted team from Lega Pro. The team from Lombardia is already a candidate to be one of the surprises of the tournament after their strong start (in which they held Carpi to a 1-1 draw). Staying in Serie B is still this season’s goal for the Grey and Reds.
Empoli: Empoli got surprisingly relegated last year from Serie A after an embarrassing second half of the season. The goal is to quickly get back to the top division counting on their 2 main forwards Donnarumma and Caputo, who have already kept them close to Frosinone.
Foggia: Foggia is another newly promoted team from Lega Pro and things did not start well for them with a heavy defeat (5-1) in Pescara. After a difficult start, it looks like they have bounced back: they only have 5 points but 4 came from the home draw against Palermo and the very convincing win away at Carpi. The goal is to avoid relegation, but if they avoid the downs, they could make it to the playoffs.
Frosinone: Frosinone is one of the favorites for the final win. The players are almost 100% the same as last season’s and their goal is to win the tournament. Last minute’s win in Ascoli is the proof that they are serious and will not give up easily.
Novara: Novara is off to a difficult start but things have started to look better for the team from Piemonte. The have the skills to reserve a playoff spot.
Palermo: Palermo is one of the teams that got relegated from Serie A last season. The Sicilians are one of the contenders for the win and their goal is to get back to Serie A immediately.
Parma: Parma is a newly promoted team from Lega Pro. Their goal is to comfortably stay in Serie B this year. Despite a good start they look like they are slowing down. They need to regroup and refocus to be able to get back on the right track. Their main striker (Calaio’) should guarantee the amount of goals that is needed to avoid relegation.
Perugia: Perugia is a strong team, their final goal for the season is to reach Serie A, which they just missed last season after securing a playoff spot. Han, the Korean, is the surprise of the season so far, will it be enough to get promoted?
Pescara: Pescara, after being relegated from Serie A last year, are looking to bounce back. Zeman (their coach) is surely a man that believes in attacking more than defending and the home draw against Entella (2-2) is surely a proof of that. They are set to score a lot of over 2,5 goals during the season.
Pro Vercelli: Pro Vercelli’s season is already on a slump. Their goal is to stay in Serie B, even if, after only a few matches, relegation is more than a possibility.
Salernitana: Salernitana’s start to the season has been full of ups and downs and they still have to record their first win. The 10th place in the past season was a good result, but to repeat and manage to get a good position in the table and easily avoid relegation, they need more.
Spezia: Spezia’s start was awful, but now they look like they have found the way. To repeat last season’s brilliant 8th place they need to be more constant. A playoff spot does not seem too probable, given the strong competitors.
Ternana: Ternana, after avoiding relegation last minute in the previous season, has the same goal of securing their spot in Serie B for the next season. They can achieve that but they need to improve their home games results in order to achieve that.
Venezia: Venezia (coached by Filippo Inzaghi) is among this tournament’s early surprises. After winning 2-0 in Bari though, they have slowed down. Will their strong defense be enough to avoid relegation? One thing is sure; Venezia is surely the loose cannon in this tournament.
Virtus Entella: Virtus Entella, after the 11th position in last year’s tournament, still has the goal of staying in Serie B without struggling too much. Only after the first few months we would be able to tell if they can manage to achieve more. The away draw in Pescara, coming back from 2-0 down, is a good sign.