In the 29th round of the Italian Serie A Fiorentina welcomed Torino in the tough mid-table fixture. The home team weren’t in a great run of form before this match since they hadn’t won in five rounds. Walter Mazzarri’s team came to the Artemio Franchi after the home loss to Bologna with hopes that they could come one step closer to the Europa League spot.
This tactical analysis will show you how both teams went into this game with a well-prepared plan and how they struggled to carry out their ideas due to a good match preparation by their opponents.
Both teams started the match in the 3-4-1-2 formations with wing-backs as a main attacking force. Fiorentina played without their star player Federico Chiesa, so Muriel stepped up and took the majority of young Italian’s responsibilities. The Colombian had the support of Giovanni Simeone who played up front with him and captain Benassi who was the most creative player for Fiorentina.
The visitors tried to play their passing game in Florence depending mostly on their midfield trio that was made up by Lukić, Baselli and Rincon. They went into the game with two strikers – their main player and captain Andrea Belotti and Iago Falque who helped him in the final third.
Good defensive blocks
Fiorentina tried to get in control of the game in the starting minutes positioning their defensive line very high up the pitch. Their idea was to man-mark their opponents on the opposition’s half in order to prevent them to the play passing game they used to play throughout the whole season.
Stefano Pioli’s team made pressing traps for Torino’s players on the flanks, basing their press to Ansaldi and De Silvestri when the two of them got the ball from the centre-backs. Those passes were triggers for the home team to go all in and try to gain possession in the dangerous zones from which they could threaten their opponent’s goal.
That resulted in a quick goal that took the home team into an advantage so they changed their approach and lowered themselves in the central block letting Torino have the ball. The away team played out of defence without any fear and tried to find space between Fiorentina’s lines in the slow tempo game.
The Viola were very well-organised in defence, especially in the central and inner corridors of the pitch and they were waiting for their opponent to misplace a pass in the middle and to counter out of those situations. Simeone, Muriel and Benassi were good in transition, searching for the space between the centre-backs who were positioned very high up the pitch when Fiorentina got the ball in their possession.
As we can see in the picture above the home team exploited the bad organisation of Torino’s defensive line when they lose the ball in the central areas of the field. The fast attackers of Pioli’s team caused a lot of trouble for visitors’ centre-backs who were positioned very high and couldn’t cope with the pace of their opponents.
Torino were also good in their defensive organisation when it came to Fiorentina’s positional attack. They were always near their opponents leaving them no room for manoeuvre and pushing them away from their goal.
Torino’s positional play
Mazzarri’s team were allowed to win the possession battle in this match. The home team concentrated on good counter-attacking out from their narrow central 5-3-2 block which created plenty of good scoring chances.
Since Fiorentina were mainly oriented on protecting the central and inner corridors, Torino were left with the flanks-based attacks as their only option. Their wing-backs were positioned very high up the pitch threatening the home team’s defence both with crosses and run-ins.
In the picture, there are both Ansaldi and De Silvestri who were positioned high which made Fiorentina’s defenders keep an eye on them and not guard the central area that well. The midfielders failed to provide good support so Torino had an unguarded player in the dangerous zone. In those situations, Rincon and Falque used the free space to get the ball and provide the chances for their team.
The Spanish attacker played an important role in the progress of Torino’s attacks. Unlike Belotti, he was the striker that was free to move wherever he wanted. Falque searched for the gaps that were left between Fiorentina’s lines due to their slow transformation from their counter-attacks.
Torino looked to overload flanks in order to empty the room in the central areas of the pitch in which the Spaniard dropped into. Also, Falque’s movements confused the home team’s defenders and dragged them out of their position creating gaps in their defence in which the away players could run in.
Fiorentina’s transitional progress
Pioli’s team relied on good transformations from defence to offence in which Muriel was a key player for their chance creation. The colombian played the main role in the fast progress of Viola’s attacks. He positioned himself on the flanks trying to drag the defender out of his position and to empty the space in the inner corridor for his team-mates to run in.
Same as Torino, Fiorentina depended on the attacks through the outer corridors due to a high concentration of the players in the middle. Their attackers tended to position themselves on the sidelines so they could get the ball without pressure.
Both of the home team’s strikers searched for the spaces between the opponents’ wing-backs and centre-backs because they had an advantage in pace against them and could easily threaten Sirigu’s goal from those situations.
The strikers tended to pull defenders deeper and to overrun them in the wider space. Simeone did the same thing on the other side of the pitch which resulted in a few chances for his team.
Muriel provided his team with an option to break through the lines in the opponent’s half positioning himself lower. He tried to find room in the half-spaces, searching from the gaps from which he could both make play progress and assist to his team-mates.
As it stands in the image above the Colombian striker was the one that successfully exploited the space between Torino’s lines and made possible for his team to create great goal-scoring opportunities.
Fiorentina’s playmaker Marco Benassi was also an important part of the play in their positional attack. The captain created chances for his team by positioning in the pockets in the Torino’s defence at the edge of the box.
Even though Fiorentina’s players came into good positions for scoring they didn’t manage to take their chances. Sirigu protected his net very well and secured a point for his team in this tough fixture.
Fiorentina and Torino weren’t able to put their plans that were prepared before the game into action because both teams did good scouting of their opponent. The home team let the visitors have the ball and controlled the tempo of the match with their good block and well-organised defence. They were the team with the better opportunities for a win but Sirigu and a bit of luck for Mazzarri’s team prevented that to happen.
Both teams could be happy with the one point they got out of this game since the match was pretty physical and tough to play. Fiorentina could be sorry for the number of chances they missed, but at the end of the day, a draw was the fair result for both of them.
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