Paulo Sousa and his Fiorentina charges sagged to a third consecutive draw away from home, this time against an energetic and determined Sassuolo. As blah as this game was, there's still some useful information to be mined from it. All the numbers are from WhoScored.com.
|Possession||Passes (short/long)||Passing success||Crosses/attempted||Dribbles/attempted||Shots (on target)||Shots inside/outside area||Tackles/attempted||Interceptions||Blocks||Clearances||Aerial duels won attempted||Fouls||Yellow/red cards||Corners||Offsides|
|Sassuolo||49%||501 (419/56)||73%||4/23||9/21||2 (16)||5/11||20/38||21||19||26||18/28||16||2/0||7||4|
|Fiorentina||51%||509 (429/55)||78%||5/19||18/24||4 (17)||7/10||23/32||24||26||26||10/28||16||1/0||4||2|
|Short passes/attempted||Long passes/attempted||Crosses/attempted||Dribbles/attempted||Shots (on target)||Shots inside/outside area||Touches||Possession lost||Tackles/attempted||Interceptions||Clearances||Successful aerial battles||Fouls committed/suffered||Yellow/red cards||Offsides||Saves||Goals||Assists||Minutes|
There are two major features of Paulo Sousa's tactics visible in this one. The first was obvious as soon as the lineups were announced: Paulo likes to rotate his squad. Unfortunately, a date against at the Stadio Mapei, where Sassuolo have yet to lose, is hardly a luxury match; with three points a must, his decision to use Giuseppe Rossi rather than Nikola Kalinic is a clear case of trying to keep a player happy rather than trying to win a crucial game.
The other feature of the match is that first Empoli and now Sassuolo have engineered a template for how to frustrate Fiorentina: play a 4-3-3, close down energetically with the forwards and midfielders, and try to flood the wide areas. Maybe it was a treacherously wet playing surface, and maybe it was Rossi being small and rather static, but Fiorentina's usual Plan B--bypassing the midfield to either let Kalinic hold the ball up or Khouma Babacar chase it into the channels--wasn't an option, so the match degenerated into a frantic back-and-forth (this is the first game Fiorentina have finished with eleven in which the opponent saw so much of the bal) with neither side able to gain a modicum of control.
Quick thoughts: Uh, can somebody teach Ciprian Tatarusanu how to kick a ball? That's some of the least effective goalkeeper distribution in recent memory. Good for Facundo Roncaglia, who bounced back from a real boneheaded maneuver against Basel to completely obliterate Nicola Sansone, who seemed likely to be the main Neroverdi threat; look at all those tackles. How weird was it that, in a game crying out for simple accurate passing and some drive from midfield, Joan Verdú was preferred for a cameo role over Matías Fernández? Boy, Pepino sure doesn't look like a world-class striker anymore; maybe he's got something left in the tank, but he hasn't shown it in a while.
That's all for today, folks. At least Sunday's match against Udinese is back at the Artemio Franchi. Until then, forza Viola.