Spezia – Match Report vs Parma 25/10/20

In the fifth game of their debut Serie A season, Spezia surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Parma. Spezia deployed a 4-3-3 while Parma adopted a 4-3-1-2. Spezia were the better side in the opening exchanges and played their way through Parma who began the game sluggishly. However, Parma reacted well and began man marking Agoume with the aim of forcing Spezia to go long. Following this, the game swung in Parma’s favour who found joy out wide against Spezia’s narrow defensive set up. The half then burst into life with three goals in six minutes as Spezia sailed into a 2-0 lead before Parma pulled one back from a set piece.

Remarkably, there would not be another goal until the 92nd minute, despite the second half being awash with chances. Parma started the second period much stronger. They controlled the game better and moved the ball forward with far more purpose. Spezia seemed content to sit on their lead but they still looked dangerous on the counter and hit the post on three occasions. While Parma were thankful for the woodwork, Spezia were thankful to their goalkeeper, Provedel, who made a string of fine saves to preserve their slender lead. Parma continued to push for an equaliser, and in the dying moments of the game veteran defender and captain, Claudio Terzi, gave away a sloppy penalty which allowed Parma to level the score.

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, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Lucien Agoume

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 18
  • Date of Birth: 09/02/2002
  • Current Club: Spezia, on loan from Inter
  • Career: Sochaux, Inter, Spezia (L)
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Agoume played in the centre of Spezia’s midfield three today, operating as the team’s pivot. He regularly sought to take the ball from the centre backs, before progressing the ball through the midfield or spraying it out wide. Spezia’s early control of the game was largely due to the work of Agoume. Parma clearly realised this and so instructed to Kucka to man mark him in order to minimise his influence. Positionally, he moved well to find space to provide a safe option for his teammates, allowing Spezia to play their way out of trouble multiple times.

Furthermore, he proved resistant Parma’s pressure, demonstrating good awareness of what was going on around him by quickly checking his shoulder. He showed great composure in possession and was quick to release the ball before an opponent could reach him. Technically, he is a skillful player with neat touches and slick passing and as such, he attained an impressive 90% passing accuracy. In addition, he displayed his passing range with a series of impressive switches out to the right flank; one of his most favored passes today. These balls were generally accurate but at times they could have been played with more pace in order to catch Parma out of shape, but this was not an overbearing issue.

Physically, he is a solid 6ft tall and is fairly strong despite his slim build. He used his size well to shield the ball and was committed in challenges. It is also reasonable to assume that he will only get stronger with age as he continues to grow and work on his physique. He rarely vacated his space as the holding midfielder, but when he did he timed his movements well to break up play and put his side on the front foot. In 1v1 situations he was consistently reliable, keeping his eyes on the ball and not committing too early. On multiple occasions he contained and dispossessed Gervinho, who was probably the most skillful dribbler on the pitch.

As Spezia came under more pressure, in the second half, Agoume was unable to influence the game to the same degree he had earlier. However, he was still effective and was positive on the rare occasion he joined a counter attack. He struck the post with a thumping effort on his weaker left foot and demonstrated his versatility by dropping in as an auxiliary centre back for the final minutes. Overall, Agoume displayed many facets of his game today and at the age of only 18 was impressive today.

Rating – A2

Agoume’s whoscored.com touch map illustrates how he stuck to his role as the holding midfielder and shuttled across infront of the back 4

Kevin Agudelo

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Colombian
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 14/11/1998
  • Current Club: Spezia, on loan from Genoa
  • Career: Bogota, Atletico Hulia, Genoa, Fiorentina (L), Spezia (L)
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing, Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Left

Agudelo started today on the right side of Spezia’s front three and proved an effective attacking outlet in the first half. He is a short, fairly stocky player with a low centre of gravity that aids his style nicely. He is a quick runner both with and without the ball at his feet. This, along with with his technical ability, make him a skillful dribbler which he utilised today, by being very direct and driving at the Parma defence. Agudelo tends to take many small, quick touches while using bursts of pace to glide past defenders.

Moreover, he demonstrated some effective off the ball movement today. He was keen to drop deep and infield as a means to drag defenders out of position to create space for his teammates to exploit. When Agudelo received the ball in these deeper pockets of space he displayed his creativity, playing some cute dinked balls out wide and into the channels which tended to be weighted well.

His shooting also proved to be dangerous as he doubled Spezia’s lead on 31 minutes with a lovely driven strike from the edge of the box into the near post. He got both power and accuracy on his shot and it was lucky for Parama that he did not get similar opportunities. Evidently, Agudelo has somewhat of a wand of a left foot, but he is heavily reliant on his left. This can cause issues as it means he only ever has one option, which is to come inside onto his left. As dynamic as he is if a good defender shows him onto his right he could be nullified.

For a dynamic winger Agudelo showed a surprising amount of determination to track back and help his team out defensively. He worked hard throughout his time on the pitch and despite his size is a deceptively strong player. He was strong in the tackles he put in and clearly saw the bigger pitcher of the game and the need for him to help out defensively. But due to his size and lack of a noticeable jumping reach he is generally ineffective in the air.

Although he was unable to get on the ball as much in the second half, it was still surprising when he was substituted in the 61st minute. He looked threatening whenever he was in possession and with his pace is ideally suited to counter attacking football and so it was a shame he was removed on the hour.

Rating – B1

Aguelo’s whoscored.com touchmap shows the range of movement he made today

Julian Chabot

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: German
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth 12/02/1998
  • Current Club: Spezia, on loan from Sampdoria
  • Career: RB Leipzig, Sparta Rotterdam, Groningen, Sampdoria, Spezia (L)
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Chabot was deployed as the left centre back in Spezia’s back four and had a fairly inconsistent game. On the ball, neither centre back were as confident at progressing the ball as Agoume. However, once Parma began to shut him down there was more responsibility on Chabot to move the ball forward. He did play some nice cross field switches and has an eye for a long pass but was prone to making errors when the opposition put him under pressure or restricted his passing options.

Defensively, he was again rather inconsistent. Parma found a lot of joy from crosses and this seemed partly down to Chabot being uncomfortable in these situations. Positionally, he seemed to lose his bearings and the man he was marking. Likewise, on multiple occasions he misjudged the flight of the ball which resulting in him missing it completely or mishitting his clearance. Furthermore, for Parma’s first goal Chabot was on the ground appealing for a free kick while his man got a free header which resulted int he rebound that was poked home. This may be a one off error but was a highly avoidable one that cost his side a goal.

Despite this, at 6’4, Chabot is an imposing figure and so excels in physical battles with the opposition. He holds attackers of well and is strong into challenges, even if he had a tendency to commit rather early. Although, he may be poor positionally from crosses, when he does compete for a header he generally wins it. He was won all his aerial duels today and did a good job heading away any long balls played into Parma’s strikers. His heading ability was epitomised for the opener in which Chabot broke free of his marker before uses his neck well to direct a powerful header into the bottom corner.

Rating – B2

Tommaso Pobega

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Italian
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 15/07/1999
  • Current Club: Spezia, on loan from AC Milan
  • Career: AC Milan, Ternana (L), Pordenone (L), Spezia (L)
  • Position: Centre Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Both

Pobega began the game on the left side of Spezia’s midfield three and had minimal involvement on the game before being withdrawn in the 55th minute. He struggled to get on the ball in any meaningful areas and rarely made himself available to receive the ball from the centre backs. Also, in an attacking sense, he never made any kind of penetrative run and instead spent most of his time in the left half space being crowded out by opposition players.

When Pobega managed to get the ball at his feet he failed to make any sort of impression. His touches were poor and his passing was unremarkable, with the only silver lining being that he seemed confident to take the ball on either foot. He failed to display any sort of real pace and appeared slow to react to a turnover of possession and get back into the defensive shape.

At 6’2 he is a tall player but is not very physically imposing. Despite this, he did not shy away from a challenge and went in strongly on a few occasions. Although, he only had to compete so strongly in these challenges as he was chasing his loose touch; which summed up his afternoon really. He also appeared weak in shoulder to shoulder battles and generally came off second best in these situations. Today was a game to forget for Pobega and may provide a steep learning curve for a player who is just starting their first season in Serie A.

Rating – C

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