Serie A 2013/14: Round 1 Preview – Sampdoria host Juventus, while AC Milan take on Hellas Verona
Serie A returns this weekend with round one of the 2013-14 season.
The season starts in Verona on Saturday evening as newly promoted Hellas Verona welcome AC Milan to the Stadio Bentegodi.
Verona make a return to the top flight after an 11 year absence and will be hoping that experienced striker Luca Toni can fire in the goal to keep the team in Serie A.
Milan, in contrast to recent summers, have had a quiet break and will be looking to challenge for the title after the Rossoneri only just finished in the top three and secured Champions league football.
Defending champions Juventus start the campaign against Sampdoria in Genoa in the late evening kick off on Saturday. With additions to Antonio Conte’s squad such as Carlos Tevez and without losing any of their star men, optimism is high in Turin.
However the Bianconeri will have to be wary, Sampdoria were the only team to beat Juve both home and away in the league last season.
Sampdoria coach Delio Rossi has lost both Andrea Poli and Mauro Icardi but has exciting young striker Manolo Gabbiadini who is on loan from Juve in a co-ownership deal to call upon.
The early evening game on Sunday sees two of the biggest underachievers from last season go head to head, as Inter host Genoa.
Inter finished in a disappointing ninth place last year and sacked their coach Andrea Stramaccioni. New coach Walter Mazzarri has added to his squad with players like Ishak Belfodil joining the club and European qualification is a must for the giant Milanese side.
Genoa president Enrico Preziosi has placed his faith in untried coach Fabio Liverani for the upcoming season who has never coached a senior team before.
There has been somewhat of a revolution at the San Paolo this summer with star striker Edison Cavani leaving and a host new players arriving including Gonzalo Higuain.
Last season Bologna beat Napoli 3-2 at the San Paolo, thanks to a sensational goal from Panagiotis Kone.
Lazio play host to Udinese, in a clash which sees two of the more successful sides from last campaign battle it out at the Stadio Olimpico.
Lazio won the Coppa Italia against city rivals Roma in Vladimir Petkovic’s first season.
After a slow start to last season, Udinese picked up form when it mattered most and secured European football once again at the Stadio Friuli.
Roma travel to Livorno hoping to improve upon recent seasons which has seen the Giallorossi miss out on European football.
New coach Rudi Garcia has added several new players to the squad notably Maicon.
Livorno meanwhile return to Serie A action after an absence of four years from the top flight.
Parma welcome Chievo to the Stadio Tardini with both sides looking to stay clear of the relegation zone this season.
Coach Roberto Donadoni guided Parma to 10th place last time out and have acquired the talents of forward Antonio Cassano from Inter.
Chievo have a new coach as the former Siena and Palermo boss Giuseppe Sannino has joined the club.
After a turbulent season both on and off the pitch last season, Cagliari host Atalanta on the opening weekend.
Cagliari have managed, thus far, to keep its talented squad together despite intense interest.
Atalanta will be looking for their goal machine German Denis to inspire another good season for the Bergamo outfit.
Torino vs Sassuolo is the other late game on Sunday.
Torino have lost two of their most influential players from last season Angelo Ogbonna to Juventus and Rolando Bianchi to Bologna.
Sassuolo are in the big time for the first time in the club’s 91 year history.
The last game of the weekend is in Florence on Monday night as Catania play Fiorentina
Fiorentina exceed all expectation last time out, finishing in fourth place and just narrowly missed out on Champions League football on the final day of the season despite beating Pescara.
Although la Viola have sold their captain Stefan Jovetic to Manchester City, the squad is on the whole stronger than it was at this stage last year, with Mario Gomez, Joaquín and Josip Ilicic have all joined Vincenzo Montella in Florence
Catania will prove tough opposition for Fiorentina and Montella knows all about the Sicilian outfit having coached Catania during the 2011-12. Catania finished eighth place last season, their highest ever league finish.
|Verona||1-3||AC Milan||Verona||1-2||AC Milan|
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