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Two Italian Giants Set to Attack Their Way to the Top

I am sure you have heard all the old and tired descriptions of Italian football before. The coaches play too defensively, employing the dreaded Catanaccio, and therefore too boring for the rest of the spectating soccer world. While I never have agreed with those in the media who perpetuate these stereotypes, it appears this season we may finally have the ammunition to combat these views and change the perception of Italian football.

Two new coaches, employed with some considerable risk by two of the biggest clubs on the peninsula, are set to exert an attacking influence on Serie A, as Antonio Conte takes over at Juventus and Inter Milan will hand the reigns to Gian Piero Gasperini. Both coaches are known for attacking football, and both will undoubtably bring that style to these two hugely influential teams.

Gasperini is nothing short of a fascinating and courageous hire by the Nerazzurri. He lead Genoa from Serie B to the verge of the Champions League, and he did it by employing an attacking style that featured an ever-increasingly rare three-man back-line. Using mostly a 3-4-3, Genoa finished fifth in Serie A in 2008-09. Now Gasperini will most likely bring a similar system to the very club credited with inventing Catenaccio. It is a radical change for Inter, who have achieved great success in recent years. There is no doubt Gasperini will be under the microscope and, like Rafael Benitez before him, must produce positive results early in the season. But if he should succeed, Inter Milan will look very little like the Inter Milan we have been used to.

In Turin, Italy’s slumping giant will take a similar risk on attacking football as Juventus appoint club-legend Antonio Conte as manager. In 2010-11 Conte piloted Siena to promotion using a very different tactical approach from Gasperini, but often just as attack-minded. Conte’s 4-4-2 more often appeared like a 4-2-4, with wide midfielders playing very high up the pitch. It won’t be as drastic a tactical change for the Old Lady as we can expect from Inter, but Conte will demand a much more cavaliering attacking attitude than his predecessor. The pressure is on Conte to lead Juventus back to the top, and the fact that he plans to achieve that goal by pushing forward should prove exciting to watch.

Management at both clubs must recognize the magnitude of the changes they are making to their team’s on-field approach. And financial support in the form of new players to fit these systems is required if success is to be achieved. But the greatest challenge to both managers, probably more so for Gasperini, will be incorporating the existing roster into the new attacking mindset. Either way, fans should be ready for quite an entertaining season from these two colossal clubs.

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0 Comments

  1. Robert Hay

    July 1, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Conte also brought Bari up to Serie A four years ago now and was let go due to money arguments with ownership. He is a really good manager and Juve will definitely benefit from having him.

  2. Alan

    June 30, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    You forgot Roma’s new coach, Luis Enrique. He says that he is going to bring an attacking style to Roma this season. As a Roma fan, I am excited for this.

    • BD

      July 1, 2011 at 11:32 am

      Agreed. He should also have been mentioned as Roma have a chance to take it this year. FORZA ROMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • David

      July 1, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      Excellent point Alan! I left him out because quite frankly I don’t know for certain what he will bring since I have not seen much of the Barca B Team. But let’s hope you are correct! Cheers!

      • Alan

        July 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

        I hope I am correct. He claims to be bringing a 4-3-3 attacking-style and he wants to bring some Barca to Roma. I hope so. Roma is my team!

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