Sassuolo – Match Report vs Atalanta 22/06/20

Sassuolo, who are placed 12th in Serie A, were comfortably beaten 4-1 by 4th places, free scoring Atalanta. Atalanta scored three in the first half and got another in the second to seal the win before the Sassuolo get a deserved consolation goal through Bourabia in stoppage time. Sassuolo still pressed high, putting the Atalanta defence under a lot of pressure at times. They played a 4-2-3-1 with Caputo, Defrel, Berardi and Boga as their attacking quartet. They had a very pacey and dangerous attack who had chances throughout the game and were able to take advantage of Atalanta’s high line but unable to finish when it counted.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Manuel Locatelli

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Italian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 08/01/1998
  • Current club: Sassuolo
  • Career: AC Milan, Sassuolo
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Playing on the left side of the double pivot, Locatelli had a strong game. He showed great vision and awareness to play through the Atalanta press. He knew where his teammates were and were able to spread play wide with first time passes round the corner with both feet. He’s confident on the ball, very calm but at times a little casual but didn’t make mistakes or big risks on the ball, spreading play very well and also looking to play balls over the top for the attacking runners.

He received the ball really well but was rarely able to receive on the back foot and turn straight away. Locatelli also allowed the ball to run across him and away from pressure and was able to play his passes under pressure well. He showed good press resistance though, using feints and tight control to retain the ball and being able to turn away from pressure into space. He wasn’t the most mobile and didn’t really hit high gears or play with that much intensity, but he had sharp turns and good changes of direction under pressure with good control throughout. He didn’t carry that much but he rarely had to space to but was able to pass through the press effectively.

Despite not playing at a high intensity, he did have a decent work rate and did well defensively. He showed good anticipation and pressed out well at times to make interceptions. He covered the wide areas well and pressed the wing backs well but at times could have been more disciplined with his positioning to stay central where he was needed more, possibly not suited to a strict, organised block defence.

Rating – A1

Calm on the ball, Locatelli is good prospect who I could gain a lot of interest from bigger clubs soon. Very technical and able to receive and play under pressure is a great ability to have and at 22 could develop very well. I’d like to see him again to see more of his passing range and athletic ability.

Jeremie Boga

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Ivorian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 03/01/1997
  • Current club: Sassuolo
  • Career: Chelsea (Y), Rennes (L), Granada (L), Birmingham (L), Sassuolo
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Playing on the left wing before being subbed off in the 60th minute, Boga provided width to the Sassuolo side. He made some good diagonal runs behind his defender to get in behind Atalanta but took some slightly heavy touches with his chest and foot and could have done more with some of these attacks.

He’s 5’9″ with a bit of a stocky build with great acceleration, able to burst into space and change speeds well. He can carry the ball tightly at speed, showing good tight control and patience in 1v1s but wasn’t able to beat his man in slower 1v1 situations. He is stronger when he can drive at the defence but didn’t get the opportunity much in this match due to the high line. He’s right footed and therefore wanted to start wide but make runs into narrow areas or cut inside on the ball. He was a good technical player who wanted to dribble but struggled without large amounts of space to play in and wasn’t that direct. At times he ended up dribbling sideways and despite showing good technical ability, was a bit ineffective in possession.

He was however good in transitions, able to counter and look to drive into space. He pressed wide well with good positioning and used his acceleration to put defenders under a lot of pressure.

Boga wasn’t able to get any proper chances today due to a few offside runs which is something to work on to improve his timing in order to get into more dangerous positions. He could be a good direct winger but wasn’t that effective this game but showed promise on the ball. He didn’t show much in terms of his passing and creativity but I’d definitely like to watch him again.

Rating – A2

Marlon Santos

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 07/09/1995
  • Current club: VfL Wolfsburg
  • Career: Fluminense, Barcelona (Y), Nice (L), Sassuolo
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Marlon was playing as the right centre half in the back four before being subbed off in the 69th minute. He had smooth passing with a lot of top spin but not the most elegant technique and could have had a bit more speed on them at times. He passed into midfield when he could but largely circulated along the defence, he also went back to the keeper when he needed to and didn’t try to over play under pressure and after winning loose balls. He took some okay touches into space and travelled with the ball a little, but not with much speed. He dealt with pressure and awkward passes or loose balls well though and kept it simple.

He was strong in the tackle with good aggression, covering long balls and pressing wide well. He was patient in slow 1v1s with good body position and dealt with counters fairly well but his sliding tackles lacked timing a little but were decent. He’s 6’0″ with a good build and was strong in the air with a good leap, although his timing was slightly off once or twice.

He was slightly at fault for the first two goals however and concentration could be an issue. He lost concentration on the second phase of a set piece and didn’t stay with his man and instead watched the loose ball before it was crossed back in the box. He also got sucked towards the ball at times in and around the ball and need to scan more and remain calm rather than focusing on the ball and not the attackers around him. Overall a decent game for him and I quite liked him but I’d need to see him more before I though potentially increase to an A.

Rating – B2

Georgios Kyriakopoulos

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Greek
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 05/02/1996
  • Current club: VfL Wolfsburg
  • Career: Asteras Tripoli, PAS Lamia (L), Sassuolo
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

The Greek left back was okay but fairly quiet throughout the game, Sassuolo most played on the counter so he didn’t have that much of an opportunity to push forwards. When he did he provided width and made some good darted overlapping runs which created space but could have been used more.

He received the ball well, able to receive on the back foot and turn explosively or let the ball run and then play forwards. He played some good passes down the line into Boga and his passing technique was solid but some passes into midfield and his longer passes had less quality and rushed a little under pressure at times. He also didn’t tend to carry the ball but wasn’t allowed the space to do so really.

Defensively he showed good body shape and footwork in 1v1s but didn’t always close down the wide player quick enough and could have done more to stop a few crosses. He was well positioned in the high line though and made some good pressures and interceptions to stop attackers receiving or progressing the ball.

Rating – B1

A solid performance but I didn’t see enough from him today but definitely a player I’d like to watch again as defensively he seemed solid and reminded me of Cucurella a little.

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