Torino Club Focus: The Granata’s Season In Review
Torino can be pleased with how last season fared because despite a frightening dip in form and results at the business end of the campaign, the club achieved the main objective which was Serie A survival.
They did so refreshingly too with coach Giampiero Ventura refusing to part with his attacking 4-2-4 formation that had led them to the promised land only until the final few weeks of the season and were involved in some of the league’s best games over the course of the year.
Players like Alessio Cerci, Kamil Glik, Rolando Bianchi and Danilo A’Ambrosio were all crucial to the cause this season and Toro will be hoping to keep hold of at least three of them with captain Bianchi departing.
The season did start well for Torino if not spectacularly (the incredible 5-1 thrashing of Atalanta away aside) as they picked up important points from games against Pescara, Udinese and Palermo before showing they were not a team to be underestimated by taking a point from top teams Lazio, Napoli and Fiorentina.
Derby disappointment did hurt this season though with fans furious at the lack of passion shown by the player’s in a 3-0 loss at Juventus Stadium before the turn of the year (showing up at the training ground to tell them so) and two late goals in the return game in April mean Toro’s long wait for not only a win but a goal in this fixture will go on for some time yet.
It was Torino’s winter form though that undoubtedly kept the club safe this season as they embarked on a seven game unbeaten run from mid-December (galvanised by their humiliation against the Bianconeri) until early February saw them pick up an impressive 13 points which would be vital throughout the tough time that followed.
Inevitably, the Granata never do things the easy way and tried their utmost it seemed to self-implode after this confidence boosting sequence of results.
Just two wins followed for the rest of the season and only three points picked up from draws in each of their final three games saw them managed to beat the drop but it should have been so much more comfortable.
Nevertheless it was mission accomplished and top-flight football will be taking place at the Olimpico again next season.
There were some fine individual seasons for a few of the men in claret over the course of the campaign but one man stands easily above all of the rest and that is wing wizard Cerci.
The former Roma man was phenomenal out wide on the right for Toro this season, picking up points almost single-handedly in certain fixtures (home wins against Siena and Atalanta in particular stick out) and he has been a revelation.
Cesare Prandelli took note of his performances too and he has been called up to the Italy squad as a result, highlighting how excellent he has been this season in a country that finds it increasingly difficult to produce quality wingers.
Unfortunately, old club Fiorentina are also believed to have taken note of his eye-catching displays and could try to tempt him back to the Artemio Franchi next season as Vincenzo Montella is a big fan of the 25-year-old.
This once divisive talent silenced all of the critics with eight goals and eight assists to his name in 32 starts do not tell the whole story because as valuable as his contributions in this sense were, invaluable was the excitement and entertainment he brought to watching Torino this season with his electric ability when he has the ball at his feet.
Goal of the Season
It has not been a season of overwhelming quality on the goals front for Torino with few real stand outs from the season but Cerci’s run and finish winner to secure three priceless points at home to Siena was something special.
A hopeful D’Ambrosio clearance forward from a Robur corner was raced on to by the winger who showed breathtaking speed and skill in driving from his own half towards the Siena goal and coolly rounding the goalkeeper before slotting home.
Four touches was all he needed to go from defending a corner to celebrating wildly with the ultras.
Best and Worst Signings
No surprises for guessing that Cerci makes the best signings list too after he was acquired from Fiorentina last summer but who else joins him on the list? It is hard to tell which of the categories Matteo Brighi fits into as he was fantastic at the heart of the Torino midfield when he played although unfortunately he only did started less than half of the club’s games.
Gazzi was a consistent performer throughout while defensively the signings of Jean Francois Gillet in goal and experienced defender Guillermo Rodriguez added much need stability at the back and both proved astute signings.
Not so popular on the arrivals front are Pablo Caceres (a frustratingly poor full-back), Mario Santana who failed to deliver much of what was expected from him and Riccardo Meggiorini whose signing remains a mystery.