Bonjourno! Welcome to quarta parte of
Berlusconi’s Musto’s Dream. When I left you last time, we had been trending upwards in our “promote or bust” season in Serie C. Well, I have news on that:
We cleaned up setting records with number of wins, goals scored, (fewest) goals conceded and total points. We played basically the same tactic throughout (thanks again, CJ). Impressively, the following also happened:
So we won promotion into Serie B. Musto was delighted and subsequently jacked up our wage budget to about 100k/week (not that we really needed that). I had re-signed my best players in December and so we looked pretty good and happy with the target of achieving “avoid a relegation battle” as required by the board. We also made three signings to help us with a bit of depth:
So our tactic and starting eleven was set ahead of our opening Serie B game at Pescara. I was optimistic of a decent season; finishing somewhere around 12th would have been satisfactory. Then I clicked “continue”. Then I was told that I could have no more than 4 over-22 players in my starting 11. And I couldn’t have any more than 4 throughout the entire match.
We promptly fielded a very unprepared 11 that went out and got gubbed 1-4 by Pescara. Adding to the ignominy was our first goal of the season, something that normally is to be celebrated, came when the game was already over and was in fact an own goal. Fantastic.
It’s not all doom and gloom however. We rebounded with a convincing 3-1 win at visiting Catania (also promoted from Serie C) and then delivered a gubbing of our own, dispatching Venezia in the 1st Round of the Coppa Italia 4-1.
As you can see, inconsistency has been the order of the day. October and November were particularly bleak as we struggled to create decent scoring chances and my strikers missed almost every chance that was created. That forced me into a tactical change; I didn’t mind the inconsistency in results but I really needed to start finding the back of net more. My best player, Mattia Finotto, was mis-firing something terrible and I needed him to help secure our future here. The game against Spezia on the 27th of November was the first were we employed a 5-4-1 WB Wide:
This formation enables me to prioritise my over-22 players a little better. While the lineup above doesn’t necessarily demonstrate that, Bellusci and Scaglia are two of my best; I was previously only playing Bellusci alongside a 20y/o who wasn’t Serie B-capable. I can also squeeze in Finotto up top and the better of my left backs or my Captain, D’Errico, at left inside forward. I’ve been regularly ravaged by injury so there has been plenty of rotation.
So you can see we won 3-straight before we met Napoli in the 3rd Round of the Coppa; I was delighted with the performance, taking them into extra time. As it was a mid-week game and we had Perugia only a few days later, a 0-1 loss at home was all too predictable as we couldn’t field a full-strength side. Frustrating, but we reach the winter break in 9th which is, honestly, pretty excellent; the media had us pegged for 15th at the start of the season.
We’re safe from relegation, I’m comfortable in saying and amazingly, with a bit of a run, are genuinely in striking distance of third. 8 points is nothing if you can be consistent!
A Bright Spark
Gabriel Casasola has been my player of the first half. At 17y/o he’s the youngest in my first team and also our hottest prospect. He was playing AMC in the original tactic and once he was settled, banged in 4 goals. The move to 5-4-1 has forced me to play him out on the right as an Inside Forward and he’s done well enough there as he becomes familiar with the role. He scored a 92nd minute equaliser in the Napoli game.
So there we are. Tracking along reasonably well. A little inconsistent but not unexpected. Looking forward to some more defensive stability and goal-scoring from the 5-4-1. Stay up to date with me on Twitter (@ZeGermanFM) and I’ll post up again next week with the latest from Monza. Thanks for reading!