Sassuolo – Match Report vs Cagliari 18/07/20

This match ended 1-1 in a fairly quiet game. Cagliari were happy to sit back and try to attack Sassuolo on the break, which is where Sassuolo are also most dangerous with their direct, fast front three. However with Cagliari sitting back De Zerbi’s team hardly had the chance to attack with speed and struggled to break down the deep opposition side. They slowly built up, largely down the wings and ended the game with 77% possession and only allowed Cagliari 2 shots. Cagliari also got a red card early into the second half which slowed the game further.


  • 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

The deep lying playmaker had a good game and showed his technical quality but against a side that sat back a lot he didn’t impact the game as much in possession that he is able to in a more open game when he can play players into space and over the top with his range of passing. He grew into the game and found good positions in the buildup to receive the ball in pockets if space and look to play forwards. He has great passing technique, wrapping his foot round the ball well and with good accuracy. He wasn’t able to show his passing range much but did play good passes to players between the lines and spread play to the wings well.

He scans constantly in midfield, received the ball well and protected it very well. He’s calm under pressure and showed good press resistance with quick reactions to shift the ball away from pressure using both feet. He’s confident but took risks at times when he could have easily released the ball, but did well to hold onto it or draw fouls but could have easily gifted Cagliari chances.

Out of possession he made some great well-times slide tackled, he stayed very tight to his man, forced him wide and made tackles with good technique and aggression. He made some good interceptions and won possession but lurking behind the opposition and then pressing with good timing to win the ball before they could receive properly. He was good at getting tight and hassling the opposition, using his body well even if he isn’t the strongest. He’s fairly agile with okay pace and good changes of direction and speed even if he isn’t very explosive in his movement.

Rating – A1

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

Santos produced an excellent performance for Sassuolo as the right centre back. He took the leading role in buildup and got a lot of the ball throughout the game. He was calm in possession, pushing in space in the opposition half and moving the ball calmly down the wing or into midfield with smooth passing with good top spin. He kept his passing mostly short and effective at moving the ball forwards. He rarely went long but did play a great long ball along the ground to break several lines and put a player behind through the CB-LB channel. His passing wasn’t expansive but he was comfortable and carried out his role in buildup well.

He was an excellent tackler with some key challenges where he really excelled. He stayed on his feet and although his body position could have been better, when players ran at him he made an very good tackles with good strength and timing to win the ball and stop the dribble. He is aggressive in the challenge and also squared up to an opposition player towards the end of the game. He is well built but not that tall at 182cm, but did well in the air with good strength and a good leap. He dealt with long balls well, comfortable defending in a high line, didn’t get dragged out of position but also in this game he didn’t have much defending to do due to the domination of possession his side had.

Overall, I was very impressed by the defender who did well in possession and made a few outstanding tackles in important moments to stop Cagliari. He’s strong and showed decent pace but height could be a barrier to playing a lot higher. I’d like to see him challenges more and have to defend in a low position but he did well under the circumstances of this match.

Rating – A2

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, Boga received the ball between the lines either out wide or in the half spaces. He was a good dribbler and able to beat his man using bursts of speed and tight control at speed. He used feints well to create space and made a few runs behind the opposition line but didn’t have the chance to do this much today due to their deep line. He regularly was able to get into wide areas of the box but Cagliari constantly doubled-up on him which meant he wasn’t able to drive at goal or cross the ball in, forced backwards or lost the ball. His left back didn’t overlap that much but gave an outlet but not enough and therefore left him isolated in 1v2s, at times forcing him inside but he wasn’t able to play the direct style he wants to and to attack goal.

He is a great athlete with a muscular build, great balance and changes of pace. He’s explosive and can carry the ball at speed comfortably. He received the ball well and played some okay layoffs but didn’t have runners off him. He got a lot fo the ball but was largely limited to short passes and although he got into good areas and looked dangerous he was too isolated and unable to have the attacking impact he was capable of.

Rating – A2

Mert Muldur

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Turkish
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 03/04/1999
  • Current club: Sassuolo
  • Career: Rapid Vienna, Sassuolo
  • Position: Right Back
  • Secondary Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

A quiet game for the Turkish defender who has broken into the side more recently so I don’t have much to say. Sassuolo’s buildup was quite slow and down the wings, he varied his position quite a lot and got a lot of touches but struggled to progress the ball. His winger was also wide and quite static so didn’t do much with it, largely going back to Santos and a few times inside to midfielders. He had good passing technique with good speed on his passes. He moved into a narrower position a few times and passed out to his winger but then dropped as an outlet rather than making forward runs. He carried the ball in space and was able to carry on one quick break and passed into the striker, carrying on to make a decent run into the box which wasn’t met.

He’s tall at 6’1″ with a very slim, wirey frame and would benefit a lot from adding more muscle. Wasn’t challenged much in defence and overall had a very uneventful game despite seeing a lot of the ball. A promising player who I need to see more of.

Rating – B2

Hamed Junior Traore

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Ivorian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 16/02/2000
  • Current club: Sassuolo
  • Career: Empoli, Sassuolo
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Either

The midfielder had a decent but mixed game, although he struggled with the physicality of the game and lacks strength. He’s 5’10” with a slight frame and needs to develop more physically. He had decent acceleration however with a low centre of gravity and was elegant on the ball, able to carry into space but didn’t take on his man in midfield or particularly break lines with his dribbling.

Before being subbed off in the 71st, he was too happy to go backwards and didn’t turn enough and try to progress the ball. One of his short backwards passes was easily intercepted as well. When he received facing goal he did well to open his hips and spread play, looking for players between the lines. But receiving deeper or with his back to goal he didn’t make enough effort to turn and open up to try and play forwards, slowing the tempo of the game at times and needed to improve on his awareness in midfield.

In the second half he pushed forwards more and played some good passes into the box, mainly to Boga. He also had some good set piece deliveries which was a useful tool and their goal came from a good corner delivery to the front post and was flicked to the back post to be scored. He also counter pressed quite well and was able to win the ball back a few times in tight spaces but was less effective in deeper areas but in this game they rarely sat in their block.

Rating – B2

Lukas Haraslin

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Polish
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 26/05/1996
  • Current club: Sassuolo
  • Career: Bratislava (Y), Parma (Y), Lechia Gdansk, Sassuolo
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary Position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Playing on the right wing, the Polish winger largely maintained a wide position on the sideline and in the buildup I thought he could have offered more. He made a few good rotations with the 10 and got into some good positions. In the final third he dribbled well with good acceleration and directness with good ball control. He didn’t get into crossing positions though and struggled to do much against the block and was too static, not offering much or giving an outlet.

Although he pressed well and made a good tackle high up the pitch, it felt like his game IQ was quite low. He was static too much and was given offside too easily at one point. He didn’t look particularly comfortable but did show a decent level of technical ability and decent athleticism but possibly struggled to implement it at this level. Was subbed off in the 71st.

Rating – D

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