Alvini’s Cremonese makes us rediscover the virtues of man marking | First page

Penalized only by the result. Yesterday afternoon in Franchi the Cremonese made an excellent impression. The defeat came only for an own goal by goalkeeper Ionut Radu (so it should be transcribed on the scoreboard, other than Rolando Mandragora’s goal), but this does not in any way change the overall evaluation to be given on the game as a whole and on the performance of the gray and red team in particular . An assessment that was widespread among the purple people who evacuated from the stands of the Franks: victory of Fiorentina clearly above its merits, excellent judgment on Cremonese and clear tactical superiority of the grigiorosso coach Massimiliano Alvini (Tuscan from Fucecchio) over his colleague Vincenzo Italiano.

We like to talk about Alvini’s imprint and choices. Cremonese has always played her game, suffocating Fiorentina with pressing for the whole first half and never giving up to contend for the initiative in the second half. The red-gray team remained in 10 (expulsion of Escalante for unfortunate entry on Kouame) after 43 minutes, but from the progress of the match no one noticed that for more than a time he played with one less man. Twice behind, Alvini’s team was able to catch up with the game twice (and the 2-2 came in outnumbered condition). She was unable to remedy the third disadvantage just because there was no time left, but before the 3-2 arrived she had also broken the final siege of Fiorentina a couple of times, going close to a sensational 2-3. Furthermore, even the changes from the bench showed a very good quality, starting with Bonaiuto who ‘almost’ signed the 2-2 goal.

The race attitude on the part of Cremonese was intact despite the unfavorable turn after the expulsion of Escalante, but the tactical and form choices were much reworked. Until it was 11 against 11 the grigiorossa team adopted the 3-5-2. But having to play with one less man for the entire second half, he preferred to switch to the 4-man defense (with 3 midfielders and without giving up the 2 forwards), replacing his more uncertain central defender (Chiriches) and moving back on the defense line the two 5-a-side midfielders (Ghiglione on the right and Quagliata, who took over from Sernicola at the start of the second half, on the left). And so he held out until the end of the game, piloting it on par until a few seconds before the end of the 6 minutes of recovery.

But it is above all on the tactical aspects exhibited in the first half that it is worth dwelling on. Because, when he was able to play 11 against 11, Alvini chose to adopt some man scoring. Showing once more that, if adapted to the tactical modernization that has matured in the meantime, this choice can show surprising modernity. In the first half Alvini had Jovic followed by Chiriches in every area of ​​the pitch. But it is above all in the middle of the field that the most interesting choice has been seen. There the three Fiorentina midfielders (from right to left, Bonaventura, Amrabat and Maleh) were closely followed by Pickel, Zanimacchia and Escalante respectively. What sent the viola maneuver into continuous suffering and demonstrated how, adopted in the forward position of the field, the man marking can be an attack tool rather than a mere obstruction. Because more than once, on the trocar, the grigiorossi have conquered possession of the ball by advancing threateningly towards Gollini’s goal.

As is obvious, the contraindication of the man marking is that they are individual duels and therefore the team remedies the unfortunate outcome of a duel with a few more difficulties. In this sense, yesterday’s performance by Cremonese makes it clear that in contemporary football the man marking should preferably be adopted in midfield rather than in defense. Proof of this is the duel between Chiriches and Jovic. Against the Serbian striker still very physically packed, the Romanian defender immediately charged himself with a yellow card (8 ‘) and then grossly missed the advance on the 2-1 goal, which Jovic marked by turning practically in slow motion . The midfield scoring was more effective, especially those of Pickel on Maleh and Zanimacchia on Amrabat. As for Escalante, in addition to the expulsion savage, he was not impeccable on Bonaventura (goals apart). But if you go beyond the sum of the individual duels, in terms of the department the gray and red midfield put the purple one in serious pain throughout the first half.

Then the need to play 10 vs 11 for the entire second half led Alvini to put aside individual scoring (renunciation of Chiriches, left in the locker room during the interval, and failure to assign to the substitute Ascacibar the marking tasks that had been of Escalante). But the curiosity remains to see if this choice will be repeated in the next games.

One last note, referring to a group of Cremonese journalists present in a post close to ours: we understand the enthusiasm for the return to Serie A, but we should never forget that in the press gallery we behave like journalists, with due professional detachment. Therefore, no celebrations for the goals of ‘own team’ or recriminations on the occasion of unfavorable referee decisions. We are sure that the behavior will be different from the next race.


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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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