SERIE A SEASON PREVIEW
 
Just to get everyone in the mood a recap for last season. A preview of this season will follow.
 
Team of the Season 1998-1999
 
Amoroso Batistuta Bierhoff
(Udinese) (Fiorentina) (Milan)
     
Totti Recoba Ambrosini Guly
(Roma) (Venezia) (Milan) (Milan)
       
Nesta Mihajlovic Sala
(Lazio) (Lazio) (Milan)
     
Abbiati
(Milan)
 
Abbiati
(Milan)

Abbiati : Was expected to fill in for Rossi while he served a ban for
clobbering a player. Grew in confidence game by game and his match
winning performances more so than those of any other player helped Milan
win an unlikely scudetto

Nesta : Lazio's march towards the top of the table coincided with Nesta's
return from injury. You can count the number of mistakes he made on one
hand. A great tackler, awesome pace and strong in the air. The perfect
defender, Thuram who?

Mihajlovic : The key to Lazio's longball game, his punts upfield, delivery
from set pieces and of course missile like free kicks almost led Lazio to
the championship

Sala : Media darling Maldini may have grabbed the headlines but Milan' s
goals against column owed much to Sala's ferocious tackling and strength
in the air

Totti : Is the main reason Roma finished as top scorers with an indulgent
69 goals. The archetypal playmaker, has everything, pace, technique,
creativity, versatility and workrate, everything but a good team around him

Ambrosini : The outstanding defensive midfielder in Serie A in his first
full season. A tremendous engine and like team-mate Sala, a ferocious
tackler. Improved match by match and started to show a quality some people
thought he didn't possess - technique! Wold Class potential

Recoba : Led Venezia from a relegation spot to mid table but that doesn't
begin to tell the story. Of the 22 goals Venezia scored in the 2nd half of
the season, Recoba was involved in 20 of them! (11 goals, 9 assists).
Serie A's player of the year should posses a touch of class, genius
that sets him apart from every other player in the league. Recoba had that
in abundance

Guly : After mixed displays in early appearences became a regular in the
second half of the season. Was outstanding in his natural position on the
right side of midfield before being switched to the left wing with equally
impressive results. A dying breed, a winger in Serie A

Amoroso : Took the responsibility of leading the Udinese attack in Bierhoff's
absence with devastating results. Serie A's top scorer turned in many match
winning performances and scored some truly outstanding goals. After a career
of early promise blighted by injury and loss of form Amoroso has hit the big
time

Batistuta : Made his trademark lightning start and racked up goals in the
first half of the season and despite injury still finished joint 2nd top
scorer with 22 goals. Many cliam Fiorentina would be champions were it not
for Batistuta's injury

Bierhoff : After 2 seasons of misery Bierhoff made Milan a force again. Often
criticised for his lack of technique and despite playing in a team in which
he was starved of decent service for most of the season Bierhoff still
managed to score 21 goals and more importantly served up 11 assists

Player of the Year
1. Recoba (Venezia)
2. Nesta (Lazio)
3. Bierhoff (Milan)

Team of the Year
1. Milan
2. Lazio
3. Parma

Best Coach
1. Zaccheroni (Milan)
2. Malesani (Parma)
3. Trapattoni (Fiorentina)

Worst Coach
1. Zeman (Roma)
2. Erikson (Lazio)
3. Lucescu (Inter)

Best Newcomers

Defence
1 Repka (Fiorentina)
2 Heinrich (Fiorentina)
3 Lassisi (Sampdoria)

Midfield
1. Nakata (Perugia)
2. Guly (Milan)
3. Sergio Conceicao (Lazio)

Attack
1. Salas (Lazio)
2. Ortega (Sampdoria)
3. Mboma (Cagliari)

Goal of the Season
1. Amoroso volley V Parma
2. Nakata overhead kick V Piacenza
3. Edmundo chip V Empoli

Game of the Season
1. Milan V Parma
2. Bologna V Milan
3. Roma V Inter

Most Improved
1. Rapajic (Perugia)
2. Almeyda (Lazio)
3. Binotto (Bologna)

Diving Twat of the Season
1. Simoni Inzaghi (Piacenza)
2. Amoroso (Udinese)
3. Bierhoff (Milan)

Earning A Pay-Check For Doing Bugger All Award
1. Albertini (Milan)
2. Zidane (Juventus)
Italian 11 1998-1999 Season
 
Di Vaio Delvecchio Chiesa
(Salernitana) (Roma) (Parma)
     
Totti Di Francesco Ambrosini Binotto
(Roma) (Roma) (Milan) (Bologna)
       
Nesta Cannavaro Sala
(Lazio) (Parma) (Milan)
     
Abbiati
(Milan)
 
 
Foreigner 11 1998-1999
 
Amoroso Batistuta Bierhoff
(Udinese) (Fiorentina) (Milan)
     
Guly Recoba Rui Costa Sergio Conceicao
(Milan) (Venezia) (Fiorentina) (Lazio)
       
Heinrich Mihajlovic Repka
(Fiorentina) (Lazio) (Fiorentina)
     
?
?
 
MILAN

Milan were supposed to make a serious challenge for the scudetto this season
but 'accidentally' won the championship last season. The defence remains
the weak point but in Abbiati they finally have a match winning goalkeeper.
Milan have a great squad of players but the problem lies in team selection,
particularly in midfield, and in the coaches insistence of playing a 3 man
attack despite the success when switching to a 3-5-2 formation late last
season. This season Milan cannot rely on the failings of others if they
are to retain their championship.

Key Signings : Shevchenko, Serginho, Gattuso
Prospects : Champions/Champions League


LAZIO

Lazio quite simply blew it, suspensions to key defenders in the last few
weeks of the season saw them throw away a 7 point lead and the championship
to Milan. Veron's arrival will give Lazio an alternative to their Mihajlovic
inspired long ball game and Vieri's departure may prove to be a blessing in
disguise as he and Salas never hit it off. Lazio have quality in every
position but are hampered by a tactically na´ve, nervous coach unable to
deal with the pressure at the top of the league.

Key Signings : Veron, Simeone, Simone Inzaghi
Prospects : Champions/Champions League


PARMA

One of the biggest criticisms levelled at Parma last season was the attack,
Chiesa and Crespo were hugely inconsistent. Parma seem to have addressed
this problem by signing Amoroso and Di Vaio but by selling off their two
most talented creative players, Veron and Chiesa, that only leaves Ortega
and the ageing Fuser to supply the ammunition. Parma need to overcome their
inferiority complex on the road and better hope a midfield with no width
will not hamper their chances of that elusive first championship.

Key Signings : Amoroso, Di Vaio, Ortega
Prospects : Champions/Champions League


FIORENTINA

The experts claimed had Batistuta not missed several weeks due to injury
Fiorentina would have won the championship thus the attack is bolstered
with the arrival of Mijatovic and Chiesa. The attack isn't the problem, in
the past two seasons Fiorentina have been hampered by a midfield
over-reliant on Rui Costa's creativity. Di Livio's arrival does little to
change that. Fiorentina should score plenty of goals but the poor midfield
will once again compromise their chances of winning the Championship.

Key Signings : Chiesa, Mijatovic, Di Livio
Prospects : Champions League/UEFA Cup


JUVENTUS

Any doubts as to who really was the reason for Juve's recent success were
banished following Del Piero's injury and Juve's subsequent collapse.
Recent Italian internationals (like that means anything!) Bachini and
Zambrotta join Oliseh in a new look midfield and Kovacevic will partner
the returning Del Piero and Inzaghi in attack. Van Der Sar aside, Juve still
have a Serie B defence. If Del Piero can emulate his performances of two
seasons ago Juve are genuine contenders for the Championship.

Key Signings : Bachini, Kovacevic, Van Der Sar
Prospects : Champions League/UEFA Cup


INTER

Ronaldo's world cup hangover was seen as the reason for Inter's abysmal
performances last season so Moratti has once again splashed out on an
expensive striker. Vieri and Ronaldo may be the latest 'dream attack'
but Lippi has neglected the rest of the team particularly the awful defence,
Blanc's signing seems to be a desperation move and Serie A will realise
Peruzzi is a poor man's Pagliuca. Simeone was the makeweight in the Vieri
deal but Inter will sorely miss his industry in midfield. The real star of
the show could be the superlative Recoba.

Key Signings : Blanc, Peruzzi, Vieri
Prospects : UEFA Cup


ROMA

As good as Roma's attack is (the best in Serie A) their defence is equally
as bad. Like Parma, Roma were abysmal away from home. Capello is expected
to tighten things up at the back but one of his biggest problems over the
years has been his insistence on playing the offside trap high up the pitch
and with sub standard defensive signings despite the brilliance of Totti,
Montella and Delvecchio in attack Roma look set for another frustrating
year in the shadow of city neighbours Lazio.

Key Signings : Assuncao, Gourenko, Montella
Prospects : UEFA Cup


UDINESE

Heavy home defeats in the last month against Milan and Lazio cost Udinese a
place in the Champions League. Udinese may have survived the loss of Helveg
and top scorer Bierhoff last season but during the summer the heart of the
team has been ripped out with Amoroso, Bachini, Calori, Pierini and Walem
as well as coach Guidolin leaving. The new coach and his 15 that's FIFTEEN
new signings will have a hard time repeating recent successes. This
fairytale looks like having an unhappy ending.

Key Signings : Fiore, Muzzi, Warley
Prospects : UEFA Cup/Top 10


BOLOGNA

A club famous for resurrecting the careers of stars though to be past their
sell by dates (no, not Chelsea!) again finds itself in a similar position
but with the exception of Pagliuca most of the new arrivals are the right
side of 30. Ventola, who finds himself discarded by a short sighted Inter,
should form a great partnership with Signori. If Bologna cope with the loss
of the inspirational Kennet Andersson there is no reason why they cannot
repeat their feat of UEFA Cup qualification but anything more will be a
miracle.

Key Signings : Ventola, Wome, Ze Elias
Prospects : UEFA Cup/Top 10