Novara look to build from positive start

September 20th, 2011, represented an important date in the history of Novara Calcio. The player strike destined it to be the Biancoazzurri’s first home Serie A encounter since 1955/56. Scheduled to host Palermo first-up, they instead faced two matches on the road before a historic clash with Inter.
In Lega Pro Prima Divisione as recently as 2009, Novara would unbelievably host a Serie A giant at their recently renovated Stadio Silvio Piola. A goal from Riccardo Meggiorini and a Marco Rigoni brace meant the 15,596 who packed into the 17,000 capacity stadium witnessed the shock of the season thus-far.
Novara took the 3-1 win in their stride, aware that it is merely the continuation of their journey. Coach Attilio Tesser commented: “We are happy about the victory and our performance. But three points are just three points, regardless who you beat. We can get good results against any team if we play with this spirit.”
While five rounds in it is their only victory, their start has nonetheless been positive. Novara has showed they can compete at the highest level, drawing upon a high work ethic and never-say-die attitude. Twice they have fought back from a deficit, including their first match against Chievo. The hosts were two goals to the good but Novara clawed back and Massimo Paci equalised with five minutes remaining. On Sunday they played out an entertaining 3-3 draw with Catania, twice drawing level. Their comeback was nearly complete when Jeda made it 3-2. However the visitors salvaged a draw in injury time.
Even when Novara tasted defeat the match was closely fought. Cagliari won a tight contest 2-1, while Atalanta triumphed by the same score, but only after Novara had an equaliser incorrectly chalked off.
Tesser has his side playing the same high-octane football which won plaudits and Serie B promotion last season. He favours 4-3-1-2 with quick, vertical passing and width stemming from the advancing full-backs. Defensively, Novara press and harass, with the strikers acting as the first line of defence.
Their fixtures so far have seen action at both ends. Novara has scored ten and conceded the same number. However, unlike last season’s attacking duo of Cristian Bertani and Pablo Gonzalez, Tesser lacks a clinical finisher in the ranks. Pablo Granoche, Meggiorini, Jeda and Takayuki Morimoto are not prolific strikers. Rather than rely on one or two for goals, the team has shared the duties, with seven different goalscorers so far. Defensively there have been frailties, notably the inability to hold on in the dying minutes against Catania. They may need to add quality to their spirit and work ethic in January and must ensure their home form is strong.
Novara will look to build on their start following the international break, commencing at home against struggling Bologna. Following a trip to Udinese are successive matches against fellow relegation candidates, Siena (home) and Lecce (away). The Piemonte side faces a tough period thereafter, including games against Roma, Juventus and Napoli, so having a solid platform will be crucial.

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