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Welcome to Serie A: SPAL

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A brief look into one of Serie A’s newest competitors

Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Hi, everyone! Before I begin introducing SPAL, I’d actually like to take some time to introduce myself: I’m Torin Walters, and I’m a new contributor here at Serpents of Madonnina. I’ve been a hardcore Interisti since 2012 (I’m a young guy, cut me some slack), and surely will be for life. Forza Inter!

Now to SPAL:

If you’re partial to an underdog story, SPAL may be your new favorite Serie A minnow. After a 49-year-long absence from Italy’s top flight, Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor, AKA S.P.A.L. 2013, are back in Serie A after being crowned Serie B Champions for the 2016/17 season.

Quite impressively, SPAL’s Serie B title comes just five years after the club went bankrupt in 2012 and were subsequently sent down to the lowly Serie D. They then merged with the former team Giacomense one year later to form **drum roll** S.P.A.L. 2013.

Coincidentally, this bankruptcy was only seven years after the club went bankrupt for the first time in 2005, and so I repeat: SPAL’s promotion is pretty eye-opening.

Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

In terms of sheer dominance on both sides of the ball, SPAL were relatively unmatched in the 2016/2017 Serie B campaign. Not only were the Biancazzurri the most prolific scoring team in the division, they also allowed the second fewest amount of goals. This was good for a 22-12-8 record and a +27 goal differential — first in the league. Former Leeds United man Mirco Antenucci finished with 18 league goals, good enough for third best in Serie B, and will be suiting up in the white & blue stripes once again come August.

The largest problem facing SPAL, however, is the risk of losing some of its most important talent. As of June 30th, crucial players on loan from clubs like Milan, Torino, and Udinese will see their loan spells ending.

Alex Meret, the Udinese loanee goalkeeper, is generally thought of as the gem of the lot. Whether those loans will be renewed or not remains to be seen.

As for the managerial situation, Leonardo Semplici remains at the helm of the club. Entering his fourth year at the Stadio Paolo Mazza, Semplici continues to employ a 3-5-2 flat formation. Grisly flashbacks to the Mazzarri days, no?

Oh, and as for the stadium, just look how tiny this thing is:

Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images for Lega Serie B

A capacity of 12,348 makes the Stadio Paolo Mazza the smallest ground in the top flight.

Personally, I can’t wait for the Nerazzurri to play here come the 2017/18 season.

Poll

Does SPAL get relegated in its first season back in Serie A?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Yeah, they don’t have a chance.
    (26 votes)
  • 58%
    They might be able to make it.
    (37 votes)
63 votes total Vote Now