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Torino 1-1 Fiorentina: Statistical Review

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All stats suggest that Fiorentina were the slightly more dominant side of the match. There is nothing special here as the numbers are pretty much similar to those of the Sassuolo, Genoa and Atalanta matches except for a small increase in successful passing at the attacking third. Also, a look on how Montella managed his substitutions

These numbers became a routine on our blog now and so I will not be boring you with stating the obvious. A couple of things need to be addressed: There is a new bar in the passing graph showing backward attempted (I believe it is not as important to show this stat for the keeper and central defenders). Gonzalo has reached three yellow cards in the Sassuolo match and we all should be grateful he was not booked against Torino.

Many of you have been complaining about Montella’s substitutions. I am no tactical expert or a certified football manager or anything but this won’t hurt anyone and will probably drive a good discussion in the comments section.

The First Substitution: Pizarro for Badelj

Going down 1-0, my first thought was that Torino is going to put 10 men in the box and waste all the time they could. Pizarro instantly becomes the best man for the job with his long balls accuracy and offenses driving abilities. Also Mati and Valero will have to stay on in order to keep the creativity and the attacking minds in the game and that leaves Badelj who will be less needed with Torino probably satisfied with one goal. This was a tactical change and had nothing to do with who is the worst player out there that must be changed. Subbing Ilicic out at that moment would not have the same effect.

The Second Substitution: Aquilani for Valero

In my opinion, Valero is experiencing a drop in performance. It is probably caused by the goal drought frustration or if we try to make more sense; pairing the bald man with his replacement and having to service a relatively new to the team tall-fast-precise Babacar then not to mention the usual winger on the right has become Kurtic or sometimes Serie C level Ilicic while on the left backward pass happy Pasqual. This is not the best setting for a player like Valero. Pizarro came on a few minutes earlier and including Aquaman could have been the push that leads Valero to create magic against Torino, but as a team manager you have to think about fatigue, best line up for the next match, who needs to rest the most, who is doing better currently, and most importantly the mentality of the player which is something we cannot really fathom during the match well except on Ilicic’s face.

The Final Substitution: Bernardeschi for Richards

As much as I agree with the first two changes, I found it really tough to hop on the wagon with this one. As a family man, it is normal to keep calm during game in order not to frighten the kids or seed doubts in your wife’s head about your mental stability but Ilicic’s performance was so bad that my 18 months old had to watch whatever upsetting dad was!

Getting Bernardeschi in is a no brainer and his stature as the savior from the bench will only continue to grow until certain people understand that this guy is a must starter for the team sooner or later. Taking Richards off can be only attributed to one thing and that is Montella decided to suddenly rest him to play in Belarus mid-week. Even this one thing might not be popular with most of Viola fans as we want to see Micah against Inter at home. With all due respect Montella, I have all the reasons in the world to remove Ilicic from that particular match:

1) His total passes were nearly half of how many Fernandez and Valero attempted in total but his backward passes were almost as much. In other words, he was the least midfielder or even player to support the offense.

2) Defensively, all midfielders contributed with at least two tackles and two clearances or ariel duel here and there but have you seen Ilicic running at the keeper? I swear I could hear him say "I am running at you so you clear the ball back into our possession, here, I am slowing down and giving you clearing way".

3) The rest is shown in the table below comparing Ilicic with the other midfielders that started the match

Stat/Player

Fernandez

Valero

Kurtic

Badelj

Ilicic

Attacking third passes

27/33 (82%)

15/18 (83%)

14/17 (82%)

10/14 (71%)

15/21 (71%)

Chances Created

3

3

1

3

0

Shots off target

1

0

1

0

2

Shots on target

0

0

2

0

0

Blocked shots

2

0

0

0

3

Crosses

0/5

0/1

0/5

0

0/3

Corners

0/2

0

0

0

0/1

Take-on

3/5

0/2

0/1

0

4/5

P.S. Three of Ilicic’s successful take-ons ended up way off target and one turned into a poor cross while Fernandez created two important chances after two of his take-ons.