SERIE A 2019-20 PREVIEW

Serie A 2019-20 preview

Last season was built on home form and a miserly defence - can Torino add more goals and some away wins? Ciro Di Brita takes a look.

Torino fact file

Coach: Walter Mazzarri

Last season: Seventh, 63 points

Player of the Year 2018-19: Andrea Belotti

Look out for: Armando Izzo

Prediction: Europa League challenge

Home comforts

Torino finished in seventh place in the Serie A table last season and missed out on European qualification by just three points. However, after Milan agreed to not partake in this year’s Europa League in a bid to alleviate their Financial Fair Play woes the Granata were given the opportunity to replace the Rossoneri.

Walter Mazzarri’s men had the fifth-best defensive record in the League last season, conceding just 37 times. But on the other hand, they had only the 10th-best scoring tally, finding the back of the net on just 52 occasions.

At home, in the Stadio Grande Torino, they proved to be a difficult side to break down, losing just five times in front of their home fans, against Roma, Napoli, Juventus, Bologna and Parma. However, their away form was disastrous and was the reason they missed out on Champions League qualification. They won a lowly four matches on the road last term, against the likes of relegated Chievo and Frosinone, as well as Genoa and Sampdoria.

Il Toro drew 15 of their 38 games in the previous campaign and they will need to turn those stalemates into wins this year if they hope to finish higher up the table. With their captain and main striker Andrea Belotti looking sharp in pre-season and the earlier rounds of the Europa League they have a chance, as long as the supporting cast remains injury free - losing Iago Falque last spring put a dent in their run-in last year.

This summer they have remained quiet in the transfer market, locking down their best players while focusing on the Europa League qualifying rounds. Torino are facing a play-off game with Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers and their transfer plans probably rest on whether they qualify for the group stage or not.

Mazzarri has turned Torino into a solid and compact side who are physical and difficult to break down. What he might find troublesome is balancing Serie A games with European ones if they knockout Wolves, as he struggled during his time with Napoli to find the right balance between the two competitions.  

One thing is for sure - this season no team will have an easy game playing in the Stadio Grande Torino. If Mazzarri can find the right formula to pick up more points away from home then they will be a contender for European qualification again.

The Coach: Walter Mazzarri

Walter Mazzarri returned to Serie A in January 2018 after his spell in the Premier League with Watford ended abruptly. The former Napoli Coach replaced Sinisa Mihajlovic and turned a flaky side into one of the toughest to beat teams in the division.

After his last role in Italy, which was a failed stint in charge of Inter, Mazzarri guided Il Toro back into Europa for the first time since the 2014-2015 season and they will be looking to do the same again this term.

Key summer signing: Kevin Bonifazi

Il Toro have made few major summer signings, however, Italy Under-21 international centre-back Kevin Bonifazi returned from his loan spell at SPAL last year. The 23-year-old has impressed his Coach during pre-season and could be pushing for a starting role in the back three this term.

Key summer sale: Emiliano Moretti

The Granata have kept all of their main players from last year, selling off fringe players and those who had no real future at the club, including, M’Baye Niang and Adem Ljajic, who finalised permanent moves to Stade Rennais and Besiktas respectively. However, the one major loss to Coach Mazzarri in the summer was the retirement of veteran defender Emiliano Moretti, who spent the past six years in Turin.

Predicted XI [3-5-2]: Sirigu; De Silvestri, Izzo, N’Koulou, Lyanco, Ansaldi; Meite, Baselli, Aina; Belotti, Falque