Siena showing preseason promise

When Siena announced the signing of Gaetano D’Agostino in July, an eyebrow or two may have been raised. After all, this was the same Gaetano D’Agostino that had moved to Fiorentina last summer following a blistering spell with Udinese, having been strongly linked with Juventus in 2009. Not only has he now joined a newly-promoted team, he has done so by crossing the Tuscan divide.
The 2008-09 season stands out as D’Agostino’s finest with 11 goals and eight assists from 36 Serie A games for the Zebrette. It’s a marked contrast to the fairly nondescript season in Florence last campaign under Sinisa Mihajlovic where he made just 20 appearances scoring on a very respectable five occasions but contributing just one assist. He will no doubt be looking to return to form in familiar Bianconeri colours.
However, D’Agostino is not the only notable midfield name to join the Robur following Daniele Mannini’s move there over the weekend from Napoli. Last summer, Mannini had come off the back of a fantastic season as he played an integral role in Sampdoria’s fourth place finish and the much-coveted Champions League qualification spot. Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini may have been the headline grabbers that season, but Mannini’s five goals and six assists from 36 league games with the Blucerchiati were no less important to the cause.
Like D’Agostino though, Mannini failed to hit the heights of the previous year. He was deployed on fewer occasions under new Coach Domenico Di Carlo, scoring just twice and providing one assist in 30 league appearances as Sampdoria’s form slumped alarmingly before eventual relegation.
A new club in Siena, who themselves bounced back into Serie A at he first attempt with automatic promotion from Serie B, and a new Coach in Giuseppe Sannino will give D’Agostino and Mannini the chance to do what the Bianconeri did; bounce back. Mannini will join his Robur teammates who are probably in a buoyant mood after a fantastic run of results in pre-season.
Siena have lost just one of their pre-season games to Palermo 3-1, but in the seven other games, admittedly against lesser opposition, the Bianconeri have hit 49 goals and conceded none.
In previous seasons in Serie A, Siena have had a goalscorer such as Enrico Chiesa or Massimo Maccarone to look to for a goal and this year the burden is likely to fall on Emanuele Calaio. Two things will please Coach Sannino, the first being that all the strikers in the squad have found the net regularly in pre-season and that newly acquired goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic, on loan from Udinese, along with Gianluca Pegolo and Simone Farelli, has yet to concede a goal.
Sannino appears to have used an attacking 4-3-3 formation in pre-season, continuing with a forward-thinking line-up from predecessor Antonio Conte. This may be no accident either given Lecce’s success in Serie A last season using adventurous tactics under Luigi De Canio. With a Tuscan derby against Fiorentina to kick-off the season, a fired up home crowd and D’Agostino might just propel the Robur to a good start.
You never know, Siena may just be the surprise package in Serie A this coming season.

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