Sassuolo Club Focus: Glimmers of survival hope… and that’s no bull
Finally it has happened, Sassuolo are officially a Serie A club having played their first game against Torino in Italy’s top flight.
All the emotion and tension that coach Eusebio di Francesco had spoken about before the match against the Granata has been exorcised and the players can now relax and concentrate on remaining in Italy’s premier division.
Unfortunately, the game ended in disappointment, the debutants going down 2-0, but despite the result Sassuolo showed more than enough courage and strategy to suggest that they could defy their critics and stay out of bottom three come next May.
Sure, there are issues that the club need to address sooner rather than later. The squad is in desperately crying out for more quality options in all areas. The midfield particularly needs extra steel to allow the wide forwards license to remain in advanced positions, even when the team is out of possession.
Both Gaetano Masucci and Diego Farias were forced to leave Simone Zaza all too isolated for most of the match. Zaza showed flashes of ability and we have no doubt that he has a great future in Serie A but he will need much more support than he was offered on Sunday evening.
Marius Alexe also looked an excellent talent when he came on as a substitute and will push both Farias and Masucci for a starting shirt alongside the mohawked Zaza.
Certainly some experience is also lacking from the starting line-up, whether that be in age as or in Serie A maturity. The team will need the kind of ‘old head’ that understands the rigours of fighting for survival and to have the commanding presence that can keep the youth element focused in times of trouble.
However, the Neroverdi gave Toro plenty to think about throughout the 90 minutes. They had good possession during the game and were unfortunate that the two home team goals came just as Sassuolo were dominating the match.
The 4-3-3 formation will give them the opportunity to win games as opposed to trying not to lose, if they can convert the chances that they create. This tactic will serve them well over the course of a season when you consider that winning once every three games is mathematically better than drawing twice and losing your third.
Sometimes it is not just about avoiding defeat.
It was undoubtedly a decent display by the club that took just under 100 fans to Turin. They will certainly be hoping for a much vociferous support this weekend, as the club announced that it had surpassed 6500 sales of season tickets.
This weekend the focus for the team from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy are fellow strugglers Livorno, for what will be their first home game.
Young starlet Domenico Berardi, who was badly missed on Sunday due to suspension, has a further two games to sit out because of a red card in his last game in Serie B, and will watch from the stands. Assuming no new signings arrive, di Francesco will probably use the bulk of the starting eleven that faced Torino.
There is a minor doubt over Francesco Magnanelli, who came off injured on Sunday and could be replaced by Ghanaian Yussie Chibsah in midfield. The only other possible change is in defence, where Luca Antei is now available after a ban and could come in for Jonathan Rossini.
A quick glance at the weekend schedule and you might be inclined to think that the tie of the round is Juventus against Lazio. Do not be fooled as it has to be one of the earliest ‘six pointers’ in the history of football with Sassuolo taking on the Amaranto.
Here at Club Focus we urge you to drape yourself in green and black, cheer on Eusebio di Francesco’s men and follow the newest addition to the Serie A fold by shouting… Forza Sasol!!!