SPAL come into Saturday's game in 19th place in the table, tied on 3 points with Sampdoria in last position, with one win and four defeats after the first five games. However, their one win is an impressive one, a 2-1 victory against Lazio on 15 September.
Opposition Watch: SPAL
In the summer, SPAL went through a few changes in the transfer market, although the team still remain tied to the 3-5-2 formation of tactician, Leonardo Semplici - now in his sixth consecutive season on the SPAL bench.
In the door came Albanian goalkeeper, Etrit Berisha, who last season alternated in the Atalanta goal as helped the side to win a place in the UEFA Champions League. Also, from the Bergamo club came Polish international midfielder, Arkadiusz Reca. Whilst, Brazilian, Igor arrived from Austria Vienna, capable of playing on the left of the midfield.
One of their most important arrivals is that of Federico Di Francesco, on loan from Sassuolo, who has scored twice so far in the league. The side now have an attack that is based both on physicality and positioning, with strike-partner, Andrea Petagna who was the team's topscorer last season with 16 goals and has netted twice already this term.
Of the outgoings, right-back Manuel Lazzari went to Lazio, whilst striker, Mirco Antenucci ended up at Bari. Torino recruited defender, Kevin Bonifazi and Benevento signed midfielder, Pasquale Schiattarella and finally Dijon in France acquired Senegalese goalkeeper, Alfred Gomis.
The loss of some key players of last season has meant that SPAL are still finding their new identity. The formation is still that of the 3-5-2, but the new arrivals still have still not managed to best express themselves in this system. Especially the two wing-backs, fundamental elements of 3-5-2. Five goals have been scored (none in their two away games played so far), compared to 11 conceded, 66 total shots (only 15 away from Ferrara), and 84 shots against: Numbers that atest to a strong attack but not a very solid defence.
The experience of Semplici will certainly allow SPAL to grow in the various departments, considering that the squad at his disposal does not present any particular gaps. Especially in attack, with Petagna, Alberto Paloschi and Sergio Floccari, all players of great experience, in addition to the young Di Francesco. Options that will allow the coach the choice of a possible variant by switching to 3-4-3 with the on-loan Sassuolo forward, higher on the line of attackers.