Serie A newcomers, Empoli, Salternitana and Venezia were all promoted from Serie B last season. This weekend they will start their Serie A journey. They have returned to the top flight, but how did they all get here?
Serie A Newcomers: The Lowdown
Empoli: A short Stay in Serie B
Newcomers Empoli returned to Serie A after spending a couple of seasons in the second tier. The Tuscan side’s last season in Serie A ended disappointingly. They were relegated due to their poor head-to-head record with Genoa after the sides finished level on 38 points.
Empoli reached the play-offs in their first season back in Serie B. Unfortunately, they were eliminated by Chievo in the preliminary round. Though, the match finished 1-1 after 120 minutes, according to Serie B play-off rules, the highest placed team advances, rather than a penalty shootout taking place.
Play-off agony was a distant memory a year later, however, as Empoli stormed to the league title, racking up 73 points and only losing three league games all season.
Empoli will hope that last season’s top scorer, Leonardo Mancuso can replicate that goalscoring form this season. The signs are good, as the 29-year-old scored last weekend, in a 4-2 Coppa Italia victory over Vicenza.
It has been a busy transfer window for Gli Azzurri. Notably, Scotsman Liam Henderson has joined permanently from Lecce. Additionally, forward Patrick Cutrone arrives on a loan deal from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Empoli have Aurelio Andreazzoli at the helm. The 67-year-old is in his third spell at the club. The manager will be aiming to guide his team to safety.
Empoli will begin their return to Serie A with a home game against Lazio. They will face former head coach Maurizio Sarri.
Salernitana: Long-Awaited Return to the Top Flight
Salernitana’s last Serie A match took place in 1999, which was a 1-1 draw away to Piacenza. Since 1999, Salernitana has experienced bankruptcy and been renamed numerous times. They have also competed as low as Serie D.
The team from Salerno have competed in Serie B for the last six seasons. They finally won promotion last season, accumulating 69 points to finish second.
Last season’s top scorer was loanee Gennaro Tutino, but he returned to Napoli, before moving permanently to Parma. Federico Bonazolli will have the task to fill the void left by Tutino. Bonazolli has joined on a season-long loan deal from Sampdoria. The forward will have the responsibility of leading the front line. The 24-year-old got off to a wonderful start for his new club, scoring both goals on his competitive debut at the weekend. His goals helped Salernitana to a 2-0 victory in the first round of the Coppa Italia over Reggina.
Salernitana recruited numerous players over the summer. The most exciting one is imminent. Simy has joined the club from Crotone. The Nigerian forward impressed last season, scoring 20 Serie A goals for Crotone and his goals could be important if the Serie A newcomers are to avoid the drop.
Last summer, Fabrizio Castori returned for his third spell as head coach, and he successfully guided his side to promotion. He will take his team to Bologna for their first game of the season this weekend. The aim this season will be survival.
Venezia: The Venetians Have Finally Returned to Serie A
The team from Venice are back in Serie A for the first time since 2002. Venezia’s last trip to Serie A lasted only one season. The Venetians finished bottom of the table after accumulating a measly 18 points. Since that relegation, the club has gone through bankruptcy numerous times. Further to that, the club has been re-founded a couple of times.
Their rise over the last few seasons has been phenomenal. Over the last five years, they have risen from Serie D all the way to Serie A.
Venezia did have to come up the hard way though, after finishing last season in fifth place. The Venetians entered the play-offs at the preliminary stage and saw off Chievo, Lecce and Cittadella to achieve that desired promotion. After the arduous play-off campaign, the team celebrated in style with a boat parade through the city.
Last season’s top scorer Francesco Forte will be crucial to the Serie A newcomer’s survival efforts. In addition, they will be looking for new recruits to hit the ground running. The club has recruited nine players over the summer on permanent and loan deals. That includes midfielder Gianluca Busio who joins permanently from Sporting KC and defender Mattia Caldara and forward David Okereke who join on loan from AC Milan and Club Brugge respectively.
Manager Paolo Zanetti will begin his quest to help Venezia avoid relegation on Sunday. They start their season with a tough away trip to Napoli.
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