Sassuolo Club Focus: They don’t care about us…
The late and great Michael Jackson knew all about being an outsider and battling against the odds. This week’s headline, taken directly from one of his well known songs, is exactly the feeling most Sassuolo fans must be experiencing after their second successive defeat in Serie A.
All the pre-season talk that put the Neroverdi in the category of certain relegation candidates is being vindicated and nobody is all that surprised with the losses to both Torino and now at home to fellow newly promoted side, Livorno.
An air of ‘we told you so’ is certainly circulating around journalistic offices the length and breadth of the peninsula.
The 4-1 ‘battering’ handed out by the Amaranto was especially difficult to swallow given that these are the games Eusebio di Francesco would have hoped could bring points towards their salvation and maintain their topflight status for more than just one season.
Not so, or at least, not yet.
Sassuolo fans know different. The game against Torino was not such a bad performance and against Livorno the team dominated huge swathes of the match. Each time however, they were hit by the sucker punch counter attack and suffered greatly for it, but this will not be the case in every game as the players acclamatise. It’s a learning curve not only for the squad but for the supporters as they adjust to the rigors and injustice of playing in Italy’s premier division.
It’s a well known concept that the better team does not always win and this should give them solace over the international break as they take stock of their first two matches of the new campaign.
The reality is that Sassuolo have some very capable players in their squad and the closing of the transfer window has gone some way to addressing the issues that we highlighted after week one which should now stand them in good stead for the ensuing months.
On deadline day, di Francesco was handed well travelled striker Antonio Floro Flores, goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo and midfield man Luca Marrone to fit into his Serie A survival back pack as well as having secured Ezequiel Schelotto a few days earlier.
Pegolo, previously with Siena, was desperately needed given the performance of Antonio Rosati last Sunday. The former Napoli keeper’s howler was just a mistake waiting to happen, given his previous outings playing for the Partenopei.
The goalie that made Morgan de Sanctis look like the ‘safest hands in soccer’ was a curious purchase for a side that needed solidity as well as experience between the posts. Pegolo is a much more accomplished custodian and will hopefully give the Neroverdi that confidence so desperately needed in its last line of defence.
It’s harsh on Rosati that he takes the fall for the 4-1 loss but the reality is that he was poor and at this level you cannot make those kind of mistakes and not expect repercussions.
The second new arrival, Juventus youngster Marrone, was the ‘steel’ that we also discussed last week, with quality and the adaptability to move into defence if necessary. The addition of the Italian U21 star should give the front three forwards slightly more freedom to support Simone Zaza when the Neroverdi attack. All too often in both of their opening two games, the young striker was left isolated, when a helping hand could so easily have converted a half chance into a goal.
The above-mentioned Zaza will go down in history, despite the weekend loss, as the club’s first ever scorer in Serie A. Admittedly, the mohawked hit man could and should have bagged a hat-trick given the opportunities created, but hopefully this is a sign of things to come.
Schelotto is a much more curious signing and one that we are still scratching our heads as to how he can fit into a 433 formation. Will the former Inter player be used as a full back or a wide attacker? Surely he cannot play in central midfield? Unfortunately here at Sassuolo Club Focus we have absolutely no clue!
So, in anticipation of the Neroverdi’s next game away to Hellas Verona when hopefully this question will be answered, we will leave you with something that perhaps Michael Jackson should have sung when he was at the height of his musical powers and at the very top of his superstar lungs…Forza Sasol!