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Old 01-09-2017, 12:35   #462
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Post-mercato thoughts:

Starting formation should be a 4-man defence to be offensive enough to do well in Serie A. We aren't Juventus with a borderline madman shouting at the players from the touchline for 90 minutes or with a gifted 25 goal striker upfront. Getting offensive returns out of 3-5-2 needs special qualities like that.

The lopsided attack: This to me is crucial, and I think Montella prioritizes this too. We have different qualities on the two vertical sides. This naturally gives us the option to play in a different style on both sides which makes the attack flexible and allows us to transition better from attack to defense.

For now, Cutrone looks like the goalscoring lead man upfront. This could of course change later to Andre Silva, but I see this as Cutrone for now.

Supporting him, left side in offense is as follows: Borini, Calhanoglu/Bonaventura, Rodriguez. Borini does the hard work, moving inward with the ball, making space for the others, drawing fouls. Bona/Hakan looks to thread the ball ahead, always looking up for someone with space, Rodriguez does the running and the crossing. This is on paper really good in terms of qualities. Keeps the defence occupied, gives space to Cutrone and the right flank.

The alternate that I want to see here is: Kalinic, Hakan, Rodriguez. Only change being Kalinic comes behind and to the left of Cutrone instead of Borini. Now the style changes here. Kalinic's qualities aren't actually very different from Borini's except he will burst forward more and try to score as well, and will win high balls - which gives Bonucci another option to aim for. I dont think playing Kalinic instead of Borini will lead to any defensive problem as he is as industrious and selfless as anyone else. He won't lose the shape of the team by needlessly going forward.

Right side - Instantly flashier and more flamboyant, this will look more natural to the binge FM players. Suso is dynamic and sharp when the goal is sighted, Kessie is a proper world-class b2b, Conti is possibly the most offensive wingback in the world right now. In addition, Kessie and Conti have a natural understanding with each other too. Suso needs to improve the way he utilizes Conti. In the last few matches, there were several occasions when Conti was free and Suso didn't understand it. But this will come as he gets used to a fullback who actually wants to score goals.

The conventional right side allows Montella to focus more of his attacks down that side, while the left side holds fort. Left side however will have potential to 'shock and awe'. Kalinic instead of Borini will also lead to a more even spread of attacks between both sides.

Winning freekicks will be a very valuable tool for us this season, considering Hakan, Rodriguez and Suso's strengths in dispatching them to the goal. Conti, Borini and Kessie can all draw fouls well. Even Cutrone perhaps with what we've seen so far.

Biglia should really stay injury-free for us to successfully get the most out of these players in this style. If we lose Biglia, we need alternatives. That is also why trying out 3-5-2 whenever we get a chance is important.

Goals: Needless to say, we will not finish in the top 4 if we do not score goals. Since Ibra left, we have not scored goals properly. Serie A is becoming more and more a high-scoring league as each season passes. Last season, Roma and Napoli both scored over 90, Juve had 77, Lazio 74, Inter 72, Torino 71.. we had 57. It's very unlikely that we'll finish 4th without scoring at least 70 goals. It's not impossible, like Atalanta did, but it is unlikely. So where will the goals come from?

If playing style remains as we think, this is my best case scenario for Serie A goals:

Cutrone + Andre Silva (together): 15 goals.
Kalinic: 15
Suso: 10
Conti + Kessie: 10
Rodriguez + Calhanoglu + Borini (including freekicks): 10
Bonaventura: 5
Central defenders: 5
Biglia + Montolivo + Locatelli: 5

And that leaves us with 75 goals. Which might be enough if the defense remains tight.

In the winter, we might actually need a Cassano 2011 type signing to shore up the attack. Currently the attack is undeniably thin. If we play Kalinic, Cutrone and Suso, the bench is just Andre Silva and Borini. I'd really like to see one more wide attacker signed in the winter to help us reach our goals.

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