Serie A Predictions for 2011-12 Season: Fifth Place – S.S. Lazio
This season’s Serie A campaign looks to be one of the most competitive in recent memory. With the top clubs from the last few seasons getting older, and upstarts gaining more experience, the gap seems to be closing and fans of Italian soccer have much to look forward to.
For this reason, predicting the team who will place fifth in the table during this upcoming season was perhaps the most difficult selection to make. Outside of the star-studded, high-priced squads playing for Milan’s two rivals, there are at least a half-dozen or more teams that can all finish anywhere within the top half of the table. But after analyzing all the new signings, coaching changes and differing squads, our choice might seem a bit obvious We predict last’s year’s fifth place team, Lazio, will finish in the same spot this year.
The Biancocelesti have had a terrific transfer window so far this summer, making some quality signings to improve their squad. The most significant splash has been the signing of an entirely new big-name strike-force. The club acquired Germany international Miroslav Klose on a free transfer, and purchased flashy French striker Djibril Cisse from Panathinaikos. While it is true these two players may both be a few years off of their prime, they are undoubtedly proven goal-scorers. Assuming they stay healthy, both Klose and Cisse have the experience and finishing ability to greatly improve the club’s scoring.
But perhaps the best move this summer was actually a move not made at all, holding on to Brazilian playmaker Hernanes. In his debut season in Europe, the attacking midfielder was one of Serie A’s most exciting talents and many expected one of the continent’s big spending clubs to swoop in with bags full of cash for him. But Hernanes will remain in the capitol, and now he has two experienced international strikers to feed, a prospect that should have supporters drooling with excitement.
Last season Lazio were solid in the back, but fullback Stephan Lichsteiner and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera have been sold. The team hopes them have signed able replacements in Abdoualay Konko and Federico Marchetti, but only time will tell. If those two fail to improve the squad, Lazio may struggle to repeat their fifth place performance.
After a terrific start to the season, Lazio dropped away from any race for the scudetto. But they seemed to have improved their squad enough this year to be a bit more consistent and keep up with the competition. But despite some good business and quality acquisitions, it is hard to see Lazio climbing any further than fifth. The teams above them just have too much talent and too much money.