Sassuolo 1 – 1 Napoli : 5 Things we learned

5 thoughts from Sassuolo v. Napoli

Well that was not good. One of our worst performances of the season from i ragazzi and I should imagine Mr Ancelotti will be fuming with several of the players. These sorts of performances can tell us a lot about the state of things at the club and here are some quick thoughts about what I’ve learnt from the game:-


  1. It’s great having Chiriches back: We haven’t seen him start a match since May and, despite only being on for 45 minutes, he seriously impressed me with his intelligence and, surprisingly, pace. I have failed to register the fact that Vlad can move around quite quickly. Not only does this bode well for Thursday it is also really useful in the season run-in with Albiol having his worst season for us to date.


2.     Ounas, Diawara and Verdi need more, rather than less minutes on the pitch: Lots of you were understandably frustrated by the performance of this trio – often we’ve all called for them to have more game time and this was a massive missed opportunity. Ounas was selfish, unintelligent and clumsy (that sounds like a text from my ex girlfriend), Diawara failed to imposed himself at all on the game and Verdi was snatching at things and lacked his usual composure and silky touch. This, for me, doesn’t mean that they are suddenly terrible players – rather that they are seriously rusty. The 4-4-2 system doesn’t help either. Talking of which…


3.     Please can we put the 4-4-2 to bed: This formation really played into Sassuolo’s hands and we look very weak with such spaces in front of our back four – particularly on the break. Diawara has the potential to be a masterful regista and slotting him there will give us so much more balance. Verdi isn’t an out and out winger, either and Ounas has looked his best for me as more of a wide forward. This system does, however, really suit Callejon who has been our Mr Reliable in terms of performances (if not goals). Hopefully, when Carlo has shaped the squad more in the summer, this formation can be phased out.


4. Insigne is Captain Clutch: some idiots on twitter made a video when they talked about Lorenzo not being a ‘big game player’. What a load of nonsense – ok – away at Sassuolo isn’t exactly the Champions’ League final but he came up for us when it counted. I thought he did well today – his fellow forwards constantly missed his runs and contributions and, aside from a few choice words, he kept his head up and got the vital equaliser. At other times this season, that wouldn’t have happened. Maybe the new responsibility is good for him.

5. De Zerbi continues to impress me Every time I’ve seen Sassuolo this season, I’ve liked what I’ve seen. I greatly dislike them as a club but De Zerbi outmanoeuvred Ancelotti today – that’s an excellent tactical scalp for the young manager. If he keeps this up, I see him as a candidate to lead the national team perhaps after an intelligent managerial next step. His fast paced, dynamic counter attacking system could really work in international football.

by Frank Sidekick

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