seasonTwo.episodeTwo | Andata
We were not battered…
While preseason was a bit of a formality, where we kept the same system for all of the matches, it’s fair to say that the first half of the season wasn’t. I must surely have taken the title of ‘Tinkerman’ off Ranieri.
Given the context of our expectations, and the fact the board are expecting immediate relegation before we’ve even kicked a ball, these results are not too bad. After the 3-1 loss to Lazio where their final two goals came in the last 10 minutes, I pushed up two of the three defensive midfielders to play a more orthodox 4-1-2-3 WIDE.
This new system may have secured a win against Pescara but a 92+2 minute goal for Torino stole all the points in a match we really deserved more from. I was happy with the new system, so stuck with it for the battering we delivered Sampdoria. Sassuolo we will skip over, we were poor and deserved nothing less. Fiorentina then showed me why I was right to change the system. Then we had the big boys. Inter, Napoli, Roma, and Juventus in the space of six games.
Inter were 2-0 up after 11 minutes and I was beginning to fear for our morale. However, we somehow managed to pull a goal back, and the fact that we almost went level it at the death made this a little easier to swallow.
We then earned two points in the next three games, including a well-deserved point against Roma.
The match against Spal was crazy, I’ll just leave the numbers next to us because you wouldn’t believe me if I told you how it played out.
We fell behind but then levelled it. Before pulling ahead only to be pulled back three minutes later. Then 10 minutes later, and with little of the match remaining, we take the lead, 3-2 should be the final score, but Spal level it at the death on 89 minutes.
I hadn’t had time to stop throwing expletives at my laptop before we scored yet again, Lasik with a beauty to win the match! If ever there was a fitting way to win a game it is by launching a powerful counter-attack via your Ball Playing Defender and smashing a volley into the net!
The euphoria was short-lived. Back to back defeats against Juventus and Genoa sent us back down the table, but we were still in 14th place.
Despite the results, I decided to tinker again, and dropped the wide attacking midfielders down to the next strata, to go with a 4-1-4-1 system. I needed more stability defensively.
To a degree, it worked, but we are still finding out feet in this league. Another 9 points collected and we finish up the first half of the season comfortably outside the relegation zone. And until now, I’ve only just noticed we’re closer to European places than we are relegation, so that’s a positive.
Unfortunately, despite the great league position we have just lost out two strikers to long-term injuries. Rossi out for 7 weeks, and our top marksman, Ceravolo, out for 3-5 months.
THE PLAYER STATS
For those of you who like to see these, I’ve included the stats for the season so far. You’ll need to click this to enlarge.
The standout performers for me are Central Defender Riccardo Gagliolo, who has the most key tackles, tackles per 90 and interceptions per 90 and Advanced Forward Fabio Ceravolo. Fabio has 8 goals so far this season, which considering our stature in the league is quite a good record.
You may remember the projections in my opening post, where it was believed we would be €20m in debt in three-seasons, well that has changed. Our three-year projection has us at a €34m profit. Most of this is predicated on us maintaining our league status.
Because of the tight control over the wages, we’re making money most months. Out balance has increased to almost €8m now. We should be able to get to the end of the season with around €10m in the bank. It will be interesting to see what sort of budget we get for next season.
For now, I don’t think I will be bringing in any other players. Despite having no strikers. We have no cash for loans or transfers, so unless we can get someone in without having to make a payment, then we will have to try to get through the season with what we have.
Until next time, arrivederci.