Sassuolo may not be the first team that spring to mind when you think of sides that are easy on the eye, but they are doing their best to be seen and in doing so reminding us why we all love Serie A.
Unbeaten in eight Serie A games, Roberto De Zerbi’s boys are the highest scorers outside of Italy’s top four after Saturday evening’s 1-1 draw with Cagliari, in Sardinia.
Francesco Caputo headed home to register the 1000th Serie A goal of the season, his 18th and his side’s 63rd in a campaign that has lasted a lifetime, or so it seems.
Italy’s top flight is the only of Europe’s major leagues that is yet to be officially concluded, in terms of having a named champion, although it looks ever-increasingly likely to be the usual suspects from Turin.
Yet, the league still seems to be handed the ‘boring’ tag by those who gave up watching Italian football a decade or so ago.
Take second placed Atalanta and their 94 Serie A goals for example. Now, everyone knows of the work that the Bergamaschi are doing this season but what about the likes of Sassuolo?
The Neroverdi have their aforementioned forward Caputo to thank, as well as their other two tricky wide-men, Domenico Berardi and the box-of-tricks that is Jeremie Boga for their complete turnaround.
The front three have scored exactly two thirds of their team’s goals, 42 to be precise, and were only denied more by a super-defensive Cagliari display on Saturday.
The outfit from Emilia-Romagna were languishing in 15th place after 20 games and only seven points clear of relegation but have lost only two of their last 15 league games as they continue to keep their Europa League qualification dreams alive, just.
Their football was slick and precise as they tried to find a way through Walter Zenga’s back-ten, but they were eventually held at arm’s length after the hosts smash-and-grab equaliser in the second half.
As for the Isolani, they had their own talisman to thank for their perhaps undeserved leveller when Joao Pedro once again drew himself level with Caputo on 18 goals for the season.
Zenga’s 3-5-2 of recent weeks was evidently a more conservative 5-3-2 from the off with captain Radja Nainggolan watching on from the stands.
The Sardinians were so negative in the first half that they failed to register a single shot on goal, mainly because Pedro and fellow strike partner Gaston Pereiro were deployed deep to try and subdue Manuel Locatelli in midfield.
Marko Rog shone in the second half as he continues to put himself forward as a contender for the Casteddu’s player of the season with an aggressive, all-action display as always and was probably the reason that his side managed to scrape a point.