Serie B is in a good place at the halfway stage after the busy run of fixtures over Christmas which has come to distinguish the league in recent years.
Hellas Verona sit top with Giampaolo Pazzini’s decision to stick with the club following relegation paying off as he tops the scoring chart with an impressive 16 goals. Despite the Gialloblu recovering after an awful relegation campaign in Serie A, things haven’t been straightforward under Rafael Benitez’s former assistant Fabio Pecchia. They were stunned 4-0 at home by Novara and then 5-1 away against Cittadella before also losing 1-0 away at local rivals Vicenza.
Verona did well to hang onto players who represented them in Serie A such as Samuel Souprayen, Juanito Gomez and Romulo, while also bringing in lower league figures such as Davide Luppi and the very experienced Enzo Maresca.
Frosinone have maintained some of the talent which took them to Serie A with Federico Dionisi and Daniel Ciofani both at the club with eight goals each for the side in second. A young Cittadella side flew out of the blocks and have since fallen slightly to fifth at the halfway stage but remain in contention with their talisman Gianluca Litteri who has ten goals to his name.
Carpi are in the playoff running with their star man Kevin Lasagna often linked to bigger sides while Benevento and SPAL are the surprise packages in third and fourth. Big club Bari haven’t quite clicked with former Atalanta coach Stefano Colantuono and some well-known veterans such as Mattia Cassani and Franco Brienza but they can still dream of a season-defining run as they sit in ninth.
The division’s unpredictably has also been encapsulated by the chaos at Pisa. The Tuscans remain in a relegation battle but worse was the ire and unhappiness surrounding the club after the old president Fabio Petroni was arrested and Gennaro Gattuso bounced in and out of his role on the bench amidst the turmoil and fan protests.
Franck Kessie and Mattia Caldara’s form for Atalanta after their apprenticeships with Cesena in the 2015-16 show the value of developing from increased playing time and there’s no shortage of young talent about. Juventus loanee Alberto Cerri is key in the Italy youth set-up and he’s getting playing time at SPAL but he’d like to build on his tally of one goal. The 20-year-old Lorenzo Dickmann is a promising full-back who’s capable of galloping up and down the flank.
Martin Valjent is a cultured defender for Ternana who’s looked promising since converting from being a midfielder to a defender with a mentality that could help propel him over some obstacles.
Federico Bonazzoli made some appearances for Sampdoria during the 2015-16 season and will be keen to kick on now he’s at Brescia. His teammate Leonardo Morosini has already made over 50 appearances for the Lombard side at the age of 21-year-old and he plays as a traditional No.10 between the lines in a dying role bit one which always pleases the purists.
One of the most encouraging recent traits in Serie B has been the space given for young players. The 19-year-old loanee Alex Meret has been a regular for highflying newly-promoted SPAL. His form for the Ferrara club has seen him also earn a place in the Italy Under-19 side and he was incredible as the Azzurrini beat Germany 1-0 against the run of play at the European Championship.
Sticking with goalkeepers, the 20-year-old Serbian Boris Radunovic on loan at Avellino from Atalanta tops the league’s own metrics concerning a player’s value to his side.
The 22-year-old Alessio Cragno at Benevento is another name on this list and his growth as a player will have him hoping that he can carve out a place at parent club Cagliari. There are a lot of talented young goalkeepers around Italy at the moment. Gigi Donnarumma’s a freak of nature who’s earned his regular place for AC Milan but there’s a wealth of talent a division below filling out the Italy youth ranks who can also aim of good Serie A careers.