Roberto de Zerbi’s team show us one of the most interesting positional play approaches recently. The concept of positional play became very popular these days, still a lot of coaches and teams misinterpret it and just throwing the concept around without a deeper understanding. Although, Sassuolo is a good example for the opposite.
Just by looking at the numbers, we can see that Atalanta is 3rd (70) in goals scored – after PSG (75) and Bayern (73)- amongst the top 5 league teams, and 1st in shots per game, leading with 20,1 attempts -just for comparison, Barcelona have 12,7 (scored 63), Dortmund have 13,8 (scored 68), Juventus have 17,5 (scored 50), and the closest is Manchester City with 19,4 (scored 68). As these numbers looks very intriguing, this analysis will focus on their strategy in possession (link can be found at the end of the article).
Two of Italy’s best teams clashed in a game of contrasting playing styles.
Allegri’s Juventus hosted Sarri’s Napoli in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final on Tuesday night. With both sides and coaches being amongst the strongest in Europe tactically, the clash was eagerly anticipated. What followed was a high class encounter, in keeping with the clashes between the teams over the last two seasons.
Atalanta continued their excellent season last night with a surprise win over Napoli. Their pressing was key in restricting their hosts’ excellent left side, which helped to reduce the dynamic of their attacks.
Napoli reach the semi-final of the Coppa Italia after overcoming Fiorentina. It was a typical performance of the hosts, whose left side was prominent. They shaped-up in their typical 4-3-3 against a less-orthodox 4-4-1-1 from Fiorentina, which featured a lop-sided first line during build-up.
Napoli hosted Internazionale in Serie A’s first gameweek 15 fixture. With the stature of the two clubs this has often been a top of the table clash. However, the two sides came into this game in 7th and 8th spots respectively. Milik-less Napoli have struggled to utilise some of their usual offensive approach play, and have thus experienced an inconsistent attacking output in addition to a generous defence. Inter on the other hand have had inconsistent results from the start, with highs such as a home victory over Juventus marred by defeats to the likes of Cagliari.
Stefano Pioli took charge of his first game for Inter on Sunday night. Having taken over from Frank de Boer less than two weeks prior, his first game was none other than the Milan derby. With Milan sitting unexpectedly near the top of the table – a testament to the work Vincenzo Montella has done in Italy’s second city – the task was to be a formidable one.
Napoli travelled to the home of the champions for the eagerly anticipated clash with rivals Juventus on Saturday evening. While adjusting to life without Milik the Neapolitan side experienced a wobble but have since begun to stabilise with consecutive wins over Crotone and Empoli. As for Juventus a strong start to the season was slightly punctured by defeat to Milan last week, but a midweek win over Sampdoria ensured their 2 point cushion at the summit.
In the midst of the busy season, there are several good matches that initially pass under the radar due to the sheer number of fixtures. In this series, our authors analyse some of their favourite games from the 2015/2016 season.