US Sassuolo – Empoli FC: One half of good football enough for Sassuolo against Empoli’s 4-3-1-2 (3-1)

Empoli scored after eighteen seconds and managed to press Sassuolo effectively for the entire first half, but came up short nonetheless. Despite their good pressing, Empoli lacked an effective method of defending on their own half. A decent second half by Sassuolo sealed the deal.

Sassuolo came into this game having had a fairly good Serie A start. They stood firm in the top half with seven points from four matches – with their only loss coming against Juventus. Manager Roberto de Zerbi favours a style that includes short passing and long spells of possession. Against Empoli, he opted for a 4-3-3 formation with former AC Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng as central striker, accompanied by captain Domenico Berardi as right winger and Frederico di Francesco on the left.

Aurelio Andreazzoli is Empoli’s manager. The 64 year-old has been coaching since 1989 and has been assistant to household names like Luciano Spalletti, Zdeněk Zeman and Rudi Garcia. In December 2017, he took his first job as head coach at Empoli (apart from being AS Roma’s interim-coach in 2013). Six months later, he could add the Serie B title to his prize cabinet and earned his new club a promotion.

Ever since he took over, Andreazzoli lets his team play in a 4-3-1-2 formation. Last season’s Serie B title was mostly based on the insane production of his striking duo Francesco Caputo and Alfredo Donnarumma, who racked up 49 goals together and were first and second on the list of Serie B’s capocannoniere. Caputo is still around, and an extremely useful striker for a lower Serie A side.

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Erik Elias (25) is co-founder and chief editor of Between The Posts. Dutch, so admires Johan Cruijff and his football principles, but enjoys writing about other styles as well. Former youth coach. Scout. 'Quality without results is pointless. Results without quality is boring.' [ View all posts ]

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