Cesena’s project yet to produce worthy performances

Having been subjected to taunts from their own crowd, demanding they ‘wake up’ to play an effective game of football, the Cesena players knew they had to step up their game in the second half against Chievo. However, they were once again left frustrated at their failure to be incisive in front of goal and, after wasting a precious penalty, they were forced to walk away with only one point – their first of the season.
Having invested both time and money into their exciting new project, Cesena have produced few performances worthy of all the effort. Offensively impotent and lacking in cohesion, Marco Giampaolo’s Cesena bear a striking resemblance to his mediocre Catania side last season – eager, compact and brimming with potential but susceptible to individual errors, lapses in concentration and a yo-yoing tempo.
Despite the creative talent they boast, their recent performances sees them yearning for a clinical striker able to exploit the opportunities created, leaving many to question their success with regards to the transfer market campaign. Whilst Adrian Mutu is technically gifted, he lacks power and intensity to be Cesena’s answer in front of goal and his performance against Chievo demonstrated his inability to deliver the only thing that appears to be missing – goals. This leaves the club reliant on Erjon Bogdani and Abdelkader Ghezzal – good strikers but by no means men to rely on for consistent goal-scoring performances
Against both Chievo and Napoli, Cesena showed grit and determination as they pushed down the right flank, attacked en masse and attempted to hold possession. Their hunger is purely visible at times and yet they appear to suffer in maintaining that drive for the full 90 minutes, as witnessed so far this season, forcing the fans to chant from the side-lines.
Pundits have pointed out the formation is not exploiting Mutu’s skills effectively whilst the Coach’s inability to affect the game through substitutions has also provoked further criticisms. Giampaolo has agreed to play Mutu back in his preferred role but the lack of balance within the side has often left the team exposed defensively, especially when faced by a squad adept at counter-attacking football.
Often found playing a 4-3-3 formation, the teams lacks the tactical discipline required to change from offence to defence seamlessly. By Giampaolo’s own admission, both wing-forwards of the attacking trident rarely track back to contribute to the team’s defensive play whilst the midfield including the likes of Robert Guana, are often caught too far up the pitch when they lose possession. When one considers the lack of chemistry in the back-line, it becomes even more vital the midfield players improve their tactical positioning so they may exploit their strength and defensive skills to halt the opponent.
Giampaolo has often been hailed as an intelligent tactician and Cesena President, Igor Campedelli, has seemingly offered his unconditional support, praising the work ethic of the players and blaming the referees for their poor officiating. “The fact is that a failure to penalise a foul against a large team raises a fuss, but if [a decision] goes against a small team it is unnoticed. Ultimately it weighs the same, and we are last.”
Whether or not the Coach can resolve the offensive conundrum remains to be seen but to be fair to him, the side did face a tough start to the campaign and patience is required before a fair judgement can be made.

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