Serie A Review: The Derby della Lanterna exploited Genoa’s weaknesses

The ‘Derby della Lanterna’ between Genoa and Sampdoria  was a clash between two poor sides involved in the relegation battle. Heading into Sunday’s game at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, both clubs were in poor form making the game have the potential for a classic derby. One major failing at Genoa was the appointment of  Gigi Del Neri to replace Luigi De Canio, who lost four games out of four since taking over.

After a troubled season last year, with three managerial changes and an extremist salvation, Genoa’s president Enrico Preziosi made signification movements through the offseason, as he sold off prized assets such as Miguel Veloso to Dynamo Kiev and Palacio to Inter and purchased foreign, unproven youths like Daniel Toszer from Genk, along with decent Serie A veterans such as Michele Canini and Juan Manuel Vargas. The result was relatively unproven team, with a lot of inexperienced and few decent individuals.

The tactical matchup

Against Ciro Ferrara’s 4-5-1, Del Neri stayed with his favourite 4-4-2, the system he successfully used during his stints with Chievo and Atalanta, featuring Marco Borriello up front alongside Ciro Immobile while Bosko Jankovic and Luca Antonelli played wide.

In the first half, the 4-4-2, which changed to a 4-2-4 during attacking play barely produced any scoring chances.  Jankovic was the classic No. 10 employed in a flat-four midfield: he tasked with coming inside, moving himself behind the forward, in the way to exploit gap spaces between Sampdoria defensive and midfield’s lines.

Genoa’s defense was structured as every Del Neri’s teams did in the past: a four-men back line applying classic zonal marking. As always with Del Neri’s sides, the man between the lines is covered by a centre-back moving forward, not by a central midfielder collapsing behind. A defensive line that played very high in the way to keep team tight and short.

Defensive wall

Borriello was the forward charged to chase Sampdoria’s deep-lying playamker, Enzo Maresca, but that didn’t happen often and Borriello stopped chasing him in his own half. Genoa attempted slow build-up, but in truth played poorly against a very defensive Sampdoria unit, with them playing a very flat, defensive back four.

Second half

Things remained unchanged during the second half in which Del Neri opted to take off the abashed Cesare Bovo, dropping Emiliano Moretti t centre-back and inserting Vargas at left wing and Andrea Bertolacci as central, attacking, midfielder, switching his system from a 4-4-2 to a 4-2-4. The gameplan in the second half was entirely based on direct, high tempo passes to the forwards, supporting them with Bertolacci in the middle and with both Jankovic and Vargas attacking up and down the flanks. In that way, Del Neri had two-men less on the defensive phase but two in free positions ready to fast-breaks.

At the end, Sampdoria were far to be the better side throughout the game but they exploited their counter-attacking potential against a Genoa that played so badly.


2 comments for “Serie A Review: The Derby della Lanterna exploited Genoa’s weaknesses

  1. Mikkel R
    November 25, 2012 at 21:36

    Unfortunately not the best of articles on this site. It seems to be lacking the actual description of the game and basically this article could have been written just on basis of the line-ups and the final score, which is quite unsatisfying considering the long time since the game was played and how many important matches were played in the meantime.

    You should consider a more clear focus to the article and of course work a lot more on the language, because you are quite right in your descriptions of especially Mr. del Neri’s tactical philosophy and how it plays out.

    And in a game like this – which in pure sporting terms was hardly exciting at all – you should incorporate more of the surrounding experience, which is still so magnificent about Italian football. Surely such a derby has more interesting stories than how poor the current Genoa side is?

    All the best

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