Last Season: Dynamic in approach and beguiling in action, Siena’s fast paced football and quick passing game ensured their promotion to the top flight this season.
Ex Coach Antonio Conte’s aggressive 4-2-4 formation proved a handful for opponents who were constantly overwhelmed by the attacking force and elastic approach of the team that were defensively organised and offensively threatening. Pipped to the post by Atalanta, Siena was arguably the most exciting team to watch last season despite boasting the second best defence in Serie B, having conceded only 35 goals.
After guiding Siena back into Serie A, Conte left to fulfil his coaching potential at Juventus whilst Giuseppe Sannino of Varese infamy has taken control of the reigns in hopes of ensuring survival for a squad that thoroughly impressed last season.
The Squad: What Siena can boast over most small teams is a visionary sporting director, propelled to infamy for his skill at finding key talent despite the limitations of a tight budget. Famous for his work at Bari, Giorgio Perinetti was the man credited with having found Andrea Ranocchia and Leonardo Bouncci – the defensive duo who grabbed the headlines with their combined skill and excellent partnership.
Thankfully for the fans, the club has stayed faithful to the overall spine of the squad, keeping top scorer Emanuele Calaio, who scored 18 goals, in addition to winger Reginaldo, the Brazilian apt at creating and scoring. Meanwhile, key additions have been made to plug the holes within the squad.
Outlining their objective in the summer transfer market, Siena are hoping to create a healthy mix of experienced veterans and talented youngsters to reinforce a team that dazzled in Serie B and so far their purchases have been quite impressive.
The most notable additions made are Gaetano D’Agostino, the deep-lying midfielder capable of intelligent passes and Napoli’s Daniele Mannini. Additionally and interestingly, Sannino has brought with him the very player who embodies his footballing ideals and a player vital for the Coach both on an off the pitch – the Varese midfielder, Paolo Grossi.
Defensive reinforcements have also been introduced in the form of former Milan youth product Matteo Contini, on loan from Zaragoza, and Parma’s Brazilian defender Angelo.
A stable squad filled with hard-workers, the fans seem to believe in their chances as the club has already sold a healthy number of season tickets. Whether they can reach their objectives will depend on how well both squad and Coach can adapt to the pressure cooker that is Serie A.
Coach: Giuseppe Sannino is the Coach everyone is waiting to see in action. A top flight debutant, the new Siena Coach has never experienced Serie A but his breath-taking work with Varese, in which he guided them from Serie C2 to Serie B, has earned him a consequential promotion and a chance to guide Serie A newcomers, Siena, to survival.
An honest man in love with traditional values and with a deep understanding of the value of hard work, Sannino has pledged to field a motivated side that will labour daily to achieve the right results.
His last team, Varese were the side to have conceded the fewest goals last season in Serie B due to Sannino’s attention to detail and his defensive organisation. Looking to maintain the same 4-4-2 formation previous Coach Antonio Conte succeeded with, albeit with a less attacking approach to the game, Sannino envisages a structured squad that is both efficient and cohesive in manner. Working on perfecting the movements of the team, Siena will be playing to a much slower pace this season with an emphasis on intelligent passing and patient build-up.
However, under Sannino, tactics will take a back seat to make way for the Coach’s psychological impact on the game. Aggression, determination and hunger will be the three rules all Siena players have to abide by.
Player to look out for: Gaetano D’Agostino. Once upon a time coveted by the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus, this midfield director is renowned for his reading of the game, his intelligent passing and his ability to launch offensive movements from his deep-lying midfield position. Vital for Sannino’s tactics, this could be the side to relaunch the Italian’s career after a disappointing last season.
Prediction: More than capable of survival.
Average starting XI:
Belmonte – Rossettini – Contini – Del Grosso
Mannini – Vergassola – D’Agostino – Sestu
Calaio – Destro