Our first installment brought you some names that re-appear in this post, but we’ll keep it limited to the Italian lower leagues in this installment.
Some players’ fortunes remain the same, but there’s a positive turn below for both Elio Capradossi and Mirko Antonucci in Serie B.
GK - Andrea Romagnoli (Renate)
There is no change for Romagnoli since our last update on him at Renate. He is still mired in the wilderness, but here are some highlights of his penalty save (in the shootout at the end - Renate are the team in blue and black) in his last appearance below.
GK - Lorenzo Crisanto (Pistoiese)
We covered Crisanto’s surreal end to last season; he turned out to be the hometown villain, coming back to his family city to play a crucial role in victory against the local team. He stayed home in Tuscany for 18/19, moving onto Pistoiese on loan, and played down talk of seeking personal “revenge” for being snubbed by other local clubs.
Like Romagnoli, Crisanto started in both cup competitions for the Arancioni and lost both. Crisanto also started the league season in goal for the first couple of Serie C games, lost both and finds himself relegated to the bench since.
RB - Andrea Paolelli (Gubbio)
Paolelli stayed at Gubbio for a second season and remains a rotation player for the Serie C side. The former Primavera-titled winner is in his last year of contract with Roma, so it looks like Gubbio or bust for Paolelli by next summer.
CB - Elio Capradossi (Spezia)
Capradossi has turned things around at Spezia in a big way (by Serie B standards) this past December. He stepped into the side against Padova at the end of October, and we thought it was just a flash-in-the-pan thing for 3 games.
But a further 5 games followed until Capradossi scored his first senior goal, helping his side equalize in a home draw to league-leaders Palermo. The Spezia official site now writes of Capradossi as confermatissimo - a sure thing in the Spezia backline - and they booked Elio for an appearance at the official club store before Christmas to sell shirts and sign autographs. He hasn’t missed a single minute of first team action from the end of October until now.
Things are looking all right for Elio even if he is, however, no longer an Italian U-21 player. The 22-year old has 2 years left on his Roma contract and he’d do well to keep helping Spezia compete for an outside shot at Serie B promotion to have maximum offers in his inbox by next summer.
LB and LW - Lorenzo Valeau and Keba Coly (Ascoli)
Both Valeau and Coly’s joint loan-with-option-to-buy deal at Ascoli has been a complete non-starter so far. Valeau picked up a long-term injury last summer and has struggled to come back from it since, picking up several recurring injuries on the way, Perotti-style.
Meanwhile, Coly has simply gone from one minor injury to the next, and both players haven’t played a single Serie B minute for the 10th-placed side.
CM - Emanuelle Spinozzi (Piacenza)
Spinozzi is coming off the bench for Piacenza, limited to just six appearances so far. Piacenza were leading Serie C/A until two damaging home losses in the last week of December. One of which came against another Roma loanee playing for Siena...
CM - Lorenzo Di Livio (Siena)
Angelo Di Livio’s son wasn’t an immediate hit in Siena, but he’s since carved out 12 appearances in the winter for the Tuscan outfit and the wins have followed. In the big clash away to Piacenza, Di Livio wins the penalty (video above) that brought home the 3 points for his side.
“We lost too many points at the beginning of the season,” Di Livio told the Radio Siena after the Piacenza game, “but now we’re getting results and our goal for the rest of the season is just to win game after game, then we’ll see.”
LW - Mirko Antonucci (Pescara)
On the surface, Antonucci hasn’t done much since our last update if you went by stats alone. The left winger still has just one assist and no goals in 14 appearances, and went through an injury spell in early December from which he took a couple of weeks to recover.
However, when you dig deeper, the Abruzzese and Serie B press love his performances.
Pescara News claim Antonucci’s late December comeback from injury “brought a refreshing vitality” to Pescara’s attack “not seen since the beginning of the season”.
Antonucci has excelled in making himself difficult to mark, giving defenders no points of reference and forcing the opposition to double up on his wing before he switches the ball to the opposing wing for Pescara to hit opponents on the weak side, similar to Kolarov’s influence on Roma’s left wing this season.
Antonucci’s own influence has liberated 25-year old Manuel Marras down the opposite wing, who racks up the final assists (5 so far) to feed the Pescara frontline. If Squawka and Understat did Serie B coverage, you’d probably find Antonucci’s best stats in the xG passing chain buildup and key passes leading to assists.
It’s easy to forget Antonucci has a Champions League semi-final appearance to his name; he’s made the jump to Italy U-20 international level and remains #9 in our Roma U-23 countdown.
Serie B News’ feature on the Top 5 Serie B Players Under 23 reports that Roma somewhat outrageously claim a 20 million euro valuation on the player.
That might be fanciful and Antonucci may be diminituve in stature, but you can’t shake the feeling he’ll have a future in Serie A yet. His first task is to keep helping third-placed Pescara secure promotion to Italy’s top flight.