Cagliari vs Brescia: Can Super Mario boost Brescia? 
 Mario Balotelli signs for Brescia. (Image: FILIPPO VENEZIA/EPA-EFE/REX)

Behind the Match

The last time these sides faced each other in competitive play was in the 2015/16 season, both clubs were in Serie B. The two league fixtures that season resulted in high-scoring affairs, a 4-0 win for Brescia at their Stadio Rigamonti, and a 6-0 win for Cagliari at the Sardegna Arena. Cagliari won the Serie B championship that season, with Brescia finishing 11th. 

The most recent fixture between the two clubs to date came in 2017 in a pre-season match. It ended in a 2-2 draw. 

Both teams most recent matches have come in the Coppa ItaliaBrescia travelled to Perugia in a frustrating 2-1 loss, seeing both of Perugia's drawing and winning goals come in the 93rd and 98th minutes after Alfredo Donnaruma scored in the first half. Cagliari won 2-1 at home against Chievo Verona. Marko Rog and Joao Pedro scored. 

Summer Affairs

Both Brescia and Cagliari have had good summers in the transfer market. While Brescia has been adding components with the objective of staying in the top-division, Cagliari has made several marquee signings with the aim of competing with the elite clubs in Serie A.

Cagliari's 2019 Summer Arrivals: 

  • Nahitan Nández, Central Midfield, 23, Boca Juniors, 18,00 Mill. €

  • Alberto Cerri, Centre-Forward, 23, Juventus, 9,00 Mill. €

  • Christian Oliva, Defensive Midfield, 23, Nacional, 5,00 Mill. €

  • Marko Rog, Central Midfield, 24, SSC Napoli, Loan fee: 2,00 Mill. €

  • Fabrizio Cacciatore, Right-Back 32 Chievo Verona, 800 Th. €

  • Federico Mattiello, Right-Back, 23, Atalanta, Loan fee: 600 Th. €

  • Radja Nainggolan, Attacking Midfield, 31, Inter, Loan

  • Luca Pellegrini, Left-Back, 20, Juventus, Loan

  • Guglielmo Vicario, Goalkeeper, 22, Venezia, Undisclosed Fee

Brescia's 2019 Summer Arrivals:

  • Jesse Joronen, Goalkeeper, 26, FC Copenhagen, 5,00 Mill. €

  • Jaromir Zmrhal, Left Midfield, 26, Slavia Prag, 3,75 Mill. €

  • Florian Ayé, Centre-Forward, 22, Clermont Foot, 2,00 Mill. €

  • Jhon Chancellor, Centre-Back, 27, Al Ahli, 1,60 Mill. €

  • Luca Tremolada, Attacking Midfield, 27, Virtus Entella, 900 Th. €

  • Bruno Martella, Left-Back, 26, Crotone, 800 Th. €

  • Mario Balotelli, Centre-Forward, 29, Marseille, Free Transfer

  • Giangiacomo Magnani, Centre-Back, 23, Sassuolo, Loan

  • Ales Mateju, Right-Back, 23, Brighton, Undisclosed Fee

Both teams summer business has secured depth and talented assets for the upcoming season.

Cagliari surprised many with the signing of Nahitan Nandez, an Uruguay international and highly sought after talent, courted by many top European clubs. Radja Nainggolan, Luca Pellegrini, and Marko Rog are all as well highly regarded talents in Italian football.

Mario Balotelli on a free is an excellent piece of business from Brescia. Joining his hometown club, Balotelli will likely play in a two-man strike force with Alfredo Donnaruma, last season's Capocannionare of the Serie B. An exciting combination to keep an eye on for Serie A viewers. 

Predicted Line-Ups

Brescia, 4-3-1-2: Joronen, Magnani, Chancellor, Martella, Sabelli, Tonali, Zmrhal, Bisoli, Spalek, Donnarumma, Torregrossa.

Cagliari, 4-3-1-2: Pinna, Ceppiteli, Klavan, Lykogiannis, Rog, Nainggolan, Ioniță, Birsa, Pavoletti, Pedro.

Key Clashes 

Sandro Tonali vs Radja Nainggolan 

Born in 2000, Tonali has been the centrepiece to Brescia's midfield for over a season now. His regista qualities have seen him draw comparisons to Andrea Pirlo, and while his talent has attracted interest from top clubs such as Liverpool and AC Milan, he decided to stay with Brescia for the upcoming Serie A season to continue asserting himself as a top-division player. Since 2015, Radja Nainggolan has been one of Serie A's most well-rounded midfielders,  originally playing as more of a ball-winning midfielder, Nainggolan has become a valuable attacking asset as well since the 2014/15 Serie A season, notching 34 goals and 22 assists since then. 

Magnani/Chancellor vs Pavoletti/Joao Pedro

Brescia's main centre-back partnership consists of new signings: Giangiacomo Magnani, a promising young Italian on loan from Sassuolo, and Jhon Chancellor, a 6'6" or two metre-tall Venezuelan with long-time experience in Venezuela's national set up. This duo will be challenged by one of Serie A's most seasoned target-men, Leandro Pavoletti, and his quicker, more creative counterpart, Joao Pedro.