So just a little update on our preseason. We have been training at Malles and it seems to be going pretty well by all accounts. We've played two friendlies, in which we won 8-0 against a local selection from Malles and we tied 1-1 against the Greek side Kerkyra, though the game was called off at half-time due to a freak thunderstorm. Our remaining schedule is:
August 2: Vicenza (a)
August 9: Fulham (a)
August 13: Ivrea (a)
August 19: TBD (h)
The August 19 friendly is against a team to be determined and will be the presentation of the squad to the fans at the Olimpico.
Vicenza tomorrow in the Memorial Alfonso Santagiuliana (their version of one of those preseason trophies). Should be our best test yet before Fulham. One thing of note is that Ogbonna has started in central defense both against Malles and Kerkyra. I wonder if this is an indication that De Biasi plans to include him in his plans this season.
Also, since the friendly with Kerkyra was called off we played a short intra-squad friendly 'Red vs. Blue' for 20 minutes with Red defeating Blue 1-0 thanks to a Barone screamer.
Natali and Marco Moro are currently injured, but nothing long term, but that could be the reason Ogbonna is starting.
Zanetti and Di Michele are both injured and won't make it to London. No explanation for Natali though. Small squad (18 players), six subs allowed according to an agreement between the clubs. My starting XI:
2-2 is the final score in London. We came back from 2-0 down only in the closing minutes of the game, which says alot about our fitness levels. Abbruscato scored a wicked left footed strike and Ogbonna added another.
Highlights from the Fulham, Sommariva Perno, and Ivrea games have been added to the Fixtures and Results thread.
Some news updates on our preseason:
-Last week we moved our training from Malles, in the Alps of Bolzano to Sommariva Perno, about 40 km southeast of Turin in the Cuneo province of Piemonte.
-Our last scheduled friendly will not be the presentation of the squad at the Olimpico but instead we will travel to Switzerland to face Lugano.
-Natali is recovering from injury and should probably be available for the Coppa Italia in a week. (Wow, that soon?)
Some comments on the preseason:
-Abbruscato has been in good form this preseason. There is a certain sector of fans urging the club to keep him in the fold for this season. De Biasi has also stated that he would like to see Elvis stay if possible. There has been interest from Atalanta and Catania, but I think alot of it rests with which striker we end up buying. I personally would like to keep him, though if he is third or fourth in the pecking order, he may want to move elsewhere.
-De Biasi experimented with a 4-2-3-1 in the second half of the Ivrea game, which led to much better offensive production than in the first half. I hope GDB continues to experiment with this formation in the preseason as I think it gives us better attacking options. I don't think he should use it exclusively, but to have an extra option is always good.
Attaccanti: Abbruscato, Amoruso, Di Michele, Malonga, Stellone, Ventola.
No Grella, as he is surely headed to Fulham today or tomorrow. Tuttomercatoweb is saying all that remains is the signature and an official announcement. It will be interesting to see if Rolandone, whom we signed from Pro Vercelli this summer, gets any playing time. I'm always up for our youngsters getting a chance, especially in games like these.
Also, Abate is out for six weeks thanks to an injury sustained in the Olympics, so we likely won't have him until the beginning of October.