Ficcadenti sets Cagliari’s forecast to fair

In mid-August, many questioned whether this would be the year Cagliari returned to Serie B. After all, Roberto Donadoni had been axed before a ball had been kicked, the Isolani had lost and not replaced the key trio of Alessandro Matri, Robert Acquafresca and Andrea Lazzari while David Suazo re-joined the club, and then didn’t, in a bizarre twist while supporters protested outside the club’s headquarters on all of the above and the lack of progression regarding a new stadium.
Cagliari may still not survive relegation this season come May, but just a few weeks after that turbulent period in August, the outlook for the Rossoblu is much brighter.
The way in which Massimo Ficcadenti has brought an air of serenity to the club is remarkable, and what is more, the calmer waters created by his arrival has resulted in two victories that briefly had Cagliari sitting pretty on top of Serie A before Wednesday’s narrow defeat to Palermo in the Derby delle Isole.
Rumours of a stormy dressing room and unhappy players under Donadoni have evaporated, as has the thunderous atmosphere between Coach and President.
The boost of a win away at Roma in the first game of the season showed that Cagliari have the quality in the squad to survive the drop. Granted, it was probably a good time for the Rossoblu to play the Giallorossi so early on into Luis Enrique’s reign, however over 50,000 expectant Romans had turned up to see their beloved capital team put on a show. Party poopers Daniele Conti, incidentally Roma legend Bruno’s son, and new signing Moestafa El Kabir got the goals sealing an unlikely win.
Before the midweek defeat in Sicily, Cagliari had also despatched Serie A newboys Novara at the Stadio Sant’Elia, much to the relief of club President Massimo Cellino who had urged supporters to wear purple, like himself, in order to ward off bad luck given the fixture had fallen on September 17th with Cellino’s unlucky number being 17. Another admirable trait of Ficcadenti’s is his ability (so far) to get along with Cellino, one of few Presidents’ in Serie A who can rival Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini on the mad-ometer.
Ficcadenti can be pleased with the way life has started for him in Sardinia. He has adopted the 4-3-3 formation used so successfully at Cesena last season and fitted it to the Cagliari squad well, which allows Andrea Cossu in the freedom to often drop in the hole between midfield sand attack. While the defence may not be as water tight as he wants, he is getting the best out of influential captain Conti who already has two goals and an assist to his name.
The man from Marche appears to have the squad with him too, perhaps highlighted best by the fact that the Isolani are averaging two goals a game and five of the six goals scored have come in the last quarter of games, signalling that Ficcadenti’s players are willing to keep working for him throughout the whole 90 minutes. Of the Rossoblu’s strikers, new signings El Kabir and Thiago Ribeiro have already got winning goals to their name while the returning Joaquin Larrivey has netted too.
Tougher tests obviously lie ahead for Cagliari, but for the moment the club can be satisfied with the two victories and six points secured to date. Meatloaf once sang about somebody leaving on a stormy night. He went on to add that two out of three aint bad.

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