Monday October 30 2017
Wk11: Not everyone has a Higuain

Week 11 showcased how important it is to have a top-class centre-forward and, notes Susy Campanale, not just for the goals they score.

Gonzalo Higuain was the sole real difference between Juventus and Milan at San Siro, but his skill-set proved decisive. Where Nikola Kalinic floundered and Suso struggled, Pipita created two goals out of nothing to win 2-0. It was awfully reminiscent of when Mauro Icardi’s hat-trick decided the derby, or Ciro Immobile ran riot for Lazio. Vincenzo Montella confessed “not everyone has a Higuain.”

The Rossoneri invested over €220m this summer, but have been sorely missing a real hitman, someone who can simply bang in the goals. Patrick Cutrone has done the best job of that role so far, while Andre Silva is seemingly used only for the Europa League. Kalinic was not that man, as his history shows he has never been particularly prolific.

It's not as if Kalinic and Andre Silva were cheap either, costing a combined €63m. The real target was Andrea Belotti and he showed on his comeback after a month out just how important he is to Torino. Il Gallo didn’t score, but a great centre-forward doesn’t necessarily have to find the net every time.

Just look at Immobile: he was on target in the 5-1 victory away to Benevento, but he also provided three assists and was back defending on set plays. Can he maintain this pace after 14 goals in 11 Serie A games? Icardi, Mertens and Paulo Dybala aren’t far behind, so the Capocannoniere race might be worth a flutter.

We cannot underestimate the importance of Immobile’s form to Lazio, especially at the moment when Felipe Anderson is out and Luis Nani getting to grips with Serie A. If Simone Inzaghi’s men are doing this well with key players nowhere near full fitness, then they can be allowed to dream for the future.

Dries Mertens marked the one-year anniversary of his conversion to a centre-forward and that Napoli tactical masterstroke born from an emergency situation is still paying dividends. Since switching from winger to that very different role, the little Belgian has scored 42 goals in 52 competitive games. The 3-1 win over Sassuolo was his 200th appearance in a Partenopei jersey and these last 12 months have genuinely transformed his entire career.

Roma were so reliant on Edin Dzeko last season, which is why he eventually took the Capocannoniere title, but they’ve moved beyond that now. Few expected former Sassuolo boss Eusebio Di Francesco to bring such defensive solidity to the team, but that’s precisely what he has done. It seems odd to have a disciple of Zdenek Zeman and the 4-3-3 formation notch up three consecutive 1-0 wins, but these are the results you need to stay in the running for silverware.

Much of Crotone’s turnaround in the final months of that miracle season was down to Diego Falcinelli’s goals, but Ante Budimir hasn’t taken up the slack after the striker’s move back to Sassuolo. There were signs of the old Squali when beating Fiorentina, although they can also thank Davide Astori having one of his extremely off days.

SPAL’s victory took them out of the drop zone and plunged Genoa into the bottom three, a seemingly implausible position for such a big club. Ivan Juric is paying a heavy price for the lack of goals, as Gianluca Lapadula hasn’t found his confidence yet in the centre-forward role. Benevento continue to play really quite attractive football and create chances, but Pietro Iemmello is not going to keep this team in Serie A. If Le Streghe find a real hitman in the January transfer window, watch those 11 opening defeats fade into memory.

Atalanta continue to live and die by late penalties: rescued by a save on Paulo Dybala, now failing to get the equaliser in Udine with a weak Bryan Cristante spot-kick. It’s those little unpredictable moments that can make or break a season.

Have your say...
Juventus need Higuain to keep up this recent uplift in form because Dybala is a ghost at the moment & his ill disciple is unpalatable. Higuain is an instinct finisher & is at his most deadly when he doesn't have to think too much. I'm a Juventino & have never been a big fan of Pipita, before or after he signed for La Vecchia Signora, but you can't really argue with the fact that he scores 30+ goals every season & given the service he will destroy many teams. We need him more than ever right now.
on the 2nd November, 2017 at 10:43pm
@Beppe Rossi
You'd sign Icardi? I'd sooner re-sign Matri than him, even if he scores 1000 goals more.
And I strongly disagree with this article. Having a Higuain or any prolific striker is not necessary to win close league matches. Either blame Milan's gameplan for not scoring a goal from the one chance they had or failing to make the most of their transfers.
on the 31st October, 2017 at 8:31pm
@maldini Heir
Montella could make Messi and Ronaldo on the same team FAIL! Montella is useless. The sooner milan rid themselves of this waste of space the better.
on the 31st October, 2017 at 12:21pm
@beepe Rossi
Totally agree. 75mil for inconsistence. Messi must be worth 1bil by now!
on the 31st October, 2017 at 12:18pm
Update: Inter do not have Higuain....
on the 31st October, 2017 at 1:12am
Cant believe the abuse the writer gets for all the good work they do. Always produce interesting articles and content, and it is free!

Advice to the moaners and whingers:
on the 30th October, 2017 at 11:10pm
Higuain, for some of the good he does, makes some many mistakes during a match, and looks clueless most times with the ball at his feet. His gift is taking the ball with his back to goal inside the box and turning to shoot. Very effective. But he's one dimensional. Compare him to Cavani, or Lewandowski. It's night and day. If I wanted to see a box poacher who is the most clinical, I'd sign Icardi.
on the 30th October, 2017 at 11:04pm
why are you not posting my comments. u better do soon
or there is a complaint on way to the regulator. this website is
unbelievabley biased and discriminatory with favouritism at its core.
either you need to be neutral which your readers deserve or
change your name as it is anything but football italia. its more
like ac milan fan base. very misleading.
on the 30th October, 2017 at 9:19pm
@ observer. Why so sensitive? I hope the Inter lose so you have something real to be sooky and prickly about.
I think you have been observing your navel too much and for too long and have lost perspective. Stop sulking over nothing.
on the 30th October, 2017 at 2:05pm
Susy, are you going to write an other article by tomorrow when actually week 11 is finished? or is it your last day at FI office? Well, I thought despite all your hatred towards Inter, I didn't think you would go down as low as this. This is not nice and is actually very disrespectful.
on the 30th October, 2017 at 11:43am
Higuain was a top player who was sleeping...

So what opposition fans do? Poke him with a stick!!!

Kalinic, like Bacca before him, are excellent forwards but without a consistent service they struggle whereas Icardi needs just half a chance to get things done, as does Higuain when he is fit.
on the 30th October, 2017 at 11:43am
Gigio didn't cover his left side very well especially for the first goal. There was no where else Higuain could've shot. With more experience he will develop intuition over text book.
on the 30th October, 2017 at 9:45am
It'd be interesting to see if Higuain, Icardi, Immobile and Mertens would produce the goods under Montella. Each have struggled at periods in their careers but seemed to have found managers and formations that can get the best out of them. A large part of course is the number of games they've played. For some reason these guys can start nearly every game for their respective clubs whereas Milan strikers have to be rotated. Strangely the more games you start the more goals you score.
on the 30th October, 2017 at 7:17am
Week 11 is not over yet, Susy comes accross pretty ignorant... Anyways better like this than to hear her usual anti-inter soundbites...
on the 30th October, 2017 at 6:08am

Post new comment

Your email address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here.
Maximum 500 characters.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Your responses will be moderated, and sometimes edited, by Football Italia before appearing on the site. Your data may be made public and you accept our Privacy Policy. Please keep your comments clean and try to keep them relevant to the blog above. We reserve the right to reject views that we deem unsuitable for publication.