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Torino 4-0 Fiorentina: Player grades and 3 things we learned

Midfield, midfield, midfield. Oh yes, the MIDFIELD needs to be fixed

Torino FC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Player grades

Pietro Terracciano—4: Pietro has had a very good spell in Florence, up until the last month. Recently his time with the Viola has been less than stellar, today did nothing to change this recent trend. His team did little to help help him, some actually should have suited up for Torino, but his positioning on goal opportunities did not help his cause. Where is Dragowski? We need Dragowski.

Biraghi—4: Bad positioning throughout. Crosses lacked direction, let alone accuracy. As the captain, he never got the team back on track. Team lacked direction and accountability. This falls on the feet of Biraghi once in game.

LMQ —4: This was one of LMQ’s worst performances to date, who had been in very good form prior to vacation. What concerned me most was watching his lackadaisical passing, which to this point has been a strength of his. I am sure the early yellow hurt his normal aggression, it sure didn’t help. Subbed off at half seemed right, but I expect him to bounce right back. He needs to though, since we have no alternatives.

Nikola Milenković—5: Wasn’t terribly awful, but that is the best I can say. He was often seen running back on mistakes made by the midfield and many times put in bad situations. He did the best he could, and many times it simply was not good enough. Unfortunately he had to pay the price for very poor midfield play today.

Odriozola—5: To me Alvaro was the hardest to rate today. He offered the most moving forward of anyone behind the top three. He also struggled getting back in defense and left LMQ and Milenkovic on an island many times. In his defense though, many of these instances happened as he pushed high up and the midfield or Callejon gave the ball away.

Castrovilli—4: Positive - He did carry the ball up the pitch a couple of times. Negatives... he gave away the ball far too much. His idea of possession is flopping. He was well behind and gave up the first goal. He is not seen in defense. He offered very little to connect our backline and our top three. I question if he will take the promise we all saw two years ago and turn it into the star we all thought we’d see. Right now, I don’t see it.

Lucas Torreira—4.5: He is who he is. He is what we need, but he cannot be that playing alongside Jack and a listless Castrovilli. Playing him in this trio provides gaps in both going forward as well as defense. These gaps proved insurmountable far too many times.

Giacomo Bonaventura—4.5: Jack isn’t the issue, but today he wasn’t the solution. Jack plays hard but was asked to do too much. What else can be said?

Callejon—3.5: He did assist Torino on their second goal. He created so many gaps that Torino were able to take advantage of. I question what purpose Callejon can play in going forward. That said, salvation is around the corner with Ikone now here. This should push Callejon down the pecking order, unless Sottil is sent on loan, which is a very real possibility.

Dušan Vlahović—5: He possessed the only chance of positive play, unfortunately the only service given to him was long passes from the back that required Dusan to practice his possession and hold up play. What can he do though when there is no play up through the midfield and out to the wings, which is what Italiano-ball is designed to do?

Nicolás González—4: I am going to be tough on Nico, maybe tougher than I should be. I think it is a good thing as I expect a lot from him. He ran around a lot, disrupted a lot, but really lacked any impact. This could be because most of the time he got distribution that it came around midfield and with his back to the goal. Just as Dusan, he suffered from very poor midfield play today.

Igor—3.5: I am convinced he is not a CB in Serie A. I am not sure if he can replace Biraghi at LB but I would like to see that.

Riccardo Saponara—4.5: Had 45 minutes on the pitch and didn’t do much to impact the game. Had a moment of near-brilliance, but lacked pace on his shot.

Kokorin—0: Why?

Youssef Maleh—n/a: Had 16 minutes. Can’t say much other than I would prefer to see him to Castrovilli at this point. There, I said it.

Ikone—n/a: Dribble, dribble, dribble. He can do that for days. Would have been nice to see him come on earlier, but clearly a lot of hope rests on his shoulders.

Three things we learned

1. Our midfield has many players, but lacks top of the table Serie A quality. Let me get right to the point. I like Torreira. I like Jack. I don’t see a suitable third midfielder to play with them on this team as is currently constructed. When you look at the priorities of needs coming into January I place a quality midfielder the 1b to the right winger’s 1a. We should thin out the roster and purchase one. Sell Castrovilli, Pulgar and Amrabat, then purchase one. Let’s stop the trend of our midfield breaking down our attacking game plan.

2. Italiano is in a slump. He still is the revelation of Serie A and should get all of the accolades, however, his pregame strategies and in-game changes have lacked recently. Why wait until half time when your team gives up three goals in thirty minutes? Why leave on Callejon so long? Why bring on Kokorin, unless that was Italiano throwing in the towel. In a game that presented us the opportunity to keep pace with Juventus and others for Europe and the Champions League, today was a very big miss. Italiano will quickly right this, but a slump is a slump.

3. We have a lot to look forward to with Prade’s recent moves. Sure, we are still paying for the sins of Prade-past, but the prospects of what Prade has been able to bring in recently are very promising. If he can work his magic the rest of this window to bring in two players - (1) a stud midfielder to place alongside Torreira and Jack and (2) a suitable backup at CB, allowing Igor to slide over to LB and in place of the always injured Nastasic - we will be in good shape to get to Europe, even in spite of today’s forgetful performance. Not all needs to be lost after a result like today’s. It sure is a wake up call to the holes in the team though. Can they be plugged in the mercato?