martedì 14 gennaio 2014

Giampiero Ventura and Torino new 3-5-1-1 formation

Giampiero Ventura has decided to deploy a different shape on the pitch this season. While he opted for a 4-2-4 formation for much of last year, towards the end of the season Ventura was thinking a lot about it.  Since the match against Juventus in April, Ventura went switching it to a 3-5-2. It weren’t a decision made following Serie A trend to employ a 5-3-2 formation. The change was made considering the qualities of the squad. Following last season, Torino lost goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet, the man who started team’s ball retention in the previous shape, while central defender Angelo Ogbonna and iconic forward Rolando Bianchi was sold or let to go. As Torino coach has given new life to the 4-2-4 scheme the past seasons, lining up two holding midfielders, two wings forward and two forwards ready to bounce back in a deeper position without the ball, in the way to prevent opponents playing through the centre, some critics pointed the fingers against this tactical switch. But Ventura stayed more pragmatic than expected. Some tactical changes was made but the overall philosophy remained almost the same. He solidified the defence, anchored it around Polish Kamil Glik, but Ventura's side remained linked to the counterattacking tactics, playing with pace and few touches, absorbing pressure and trying to play forward as soon as possible, to get the best out from the speed of his two quick forwards. The wing-backs Matteo Darmian and  Danilo D'Ambrosio now sit higher up the pitch. D'Ambrosio benefited from the chance to play more high, contributing more towards the attacking and posting impressive performances that made him worth of a look by bigger clubs as Roma. Owner Urbano Cairo and Ventura added Swedish midfielder Alexander Farnerud and former Brescia starlet Omar El Kaddouri to Giuseppe Vives in the middle of the pitch, building a narrowed midfield trio to protect the three-man back line. But the real new Ventura has made and the move that left his 3-5-2 linked to his old 4-2-4 principles came up front, where the Granata paired Ciro Immobile to Alessio Cerci. They showed a great understanding with Cerci delivering the assists and Immobile able to convert…or vice versa. Ventura deployed Cerci as a second forward on his 3-5-2 formation, after fielded him wide right in the 4-2-4 he played last years to exploit Cerci’s left foot as an inverted winger. Although he’s playing higher than he did in the 4-2-4, Cerci still is employed starting from a wide right role and his movement inside was ever impressive in pulling defenders out of position. In fact, Ventura settled his team more in a 3-5-1-1 than in a classic 3-5-2 shape. It helped Immobile to flourish. After he scored 28 goals to help Pescara to be promoted under Zdenek Zeman two seasons ago, Immobile went to Genoa highly touted. But he had endured a hard season there, and looked uncomfortable playing as centre forward paired with another striker. Ventura knew it and built the Immobile - Cerci partnership fielding former Pescara striker as a lone forward and putting Cerci wide right. It did work and they both worked very effectively together as Cerci went to accumulate 9 goals and 7 assists through 18 appearances with Immobile recording 9 goals and 2 assists out from 13 games played. Ventura took a gamble changing his proved shape but until now it has paid off. As long as Immobile and Cerci continue to combine well, this 3-5-1-1 is workable. Torino stated this season with the goal to avoid the drop but if they will be able to maintain this shape until the end of the year, they could find themselves challenging for a place in the Europa League next May.

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