Coppa Italia: Round of 16 / Team rating: 8 / Top scorer: Falque (13)
Gian Piero Gasperini united his side and disproved the theory Coaches should never go back to where they were once successful, writes Paul Hill.
When owner Enrico Preziosi decided to sell Genoa’s most promising youngster (Stefano Sturaro), top goal scorer (Alessandro Matri) and club captain (Luca Antonelli) in January, most observers believed that spelt the end of the Rossoblu’s up until then successful season.
However, Gian Piero Gasperini had other ideas and managed his side to one of the club’s most prosperous campaigns in recent memory. Sticking to his exciting trademark 3-4-3 in most home matches, the club lit up Marassi with a scintillating attacking style and gained a top six position.
The team’s final home game, a 3-2 victory against an improving Inter, was a microcosm of its season. Daring, inventive, but all above all else committed, Il Grifone came from behind twice to win in what was one of the matches of the season.
Between the sticks, Mattia Perin has shown maturity beyond his years that will surely see him play for a championship chasing side in the future. In front of him, the likes of Sebastien De Maio, Nicolas Burdisso and slightly further forward Tomas Rincon were a stable influence that let the creative hub of Andrea Bertolacci, Diego Perotti and Iago Falque make this one of the most prolific Genoa sides in history.
The fact that unproven and normally not very high scoring M’Baye Niang and Leonardo Pavoletti were able to arrive mid-season and reach double figures between them speaks volumes for the team spirit at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, with both players finding it seemingly easy to adapt and ingratiate themselves straight away.
Whether Italy’s oldest club can keep hold of their highest performers and replicate this form into next term is another question, but with Gasperini’s fondness for doing well amid a chaos of changes, you wouldn’t put it past The Old Fool.
After not being given a fair crack of the whip at Inter, the returning hero came back to Genoa and performed exceptionally well in a season where most expected his side to float around mid-table at best. The relationship between Preziosi and Gasperini seems to work perfectly, with the tactician finding it easy to cope with the owner’s continued need to remould the squad.
An Italy call-up and links with Champions League clubs, 2014-15 has been a dream season for the playmaker co-owned with Roma. With six goals and eight assists to his name, the 24 year-old has proven that he can start and finish moves at the highest level. The only question now is how much he can improve, especially if, as expected, he moves to a bigger club and is surrounded by even better players.
- Genoa managed to win their final five home matches in a row, averaging three goals per game in the process.
- The season total of 62 goals is the most ever scored by a Rossoblu side in a 20-team League, only bettering it in 1929-30 with 63 and 68 in 1947-48.
- With only 1.2 on average per game, Gasperini’s men had the lowest amount of long key passes in the entire division over the course of the season.
|23||GK||Eugenio Lamanna||6 (2)||-||-|
|4||D||Sebastien De Maio||31 (2)||1||1|
|-||D||Luca Antonelli||18 (1)||3||1|
|5||D||Armando Izzo||11 (9)||1||-|
|15||D||Giovanni Marchese||10 (1)||1||2|
|18||D||Zakarya Bergdich||9 (2)||-||-|
|3||D||Luca Antonini||3 (4)||1||-|
|-||D||Aleandro Rosi||4 (3)||-||-|
|2||D||Alassane Tambe||2 (4)||-||-|
|91||M||Andrea Bertolacci||31 (3)||6||8|
|88||M||Tomas Rincon||27 (2)||-||2|
|24||M||Iago Falque||28 (4)||13||3|
|33||M||Juraq Kucka||19 (15)||2||-|
|16||M||Maxime Lestienne||10 (13)||1||2|
|-||M||Leandro Greco||3 (4)||-||-|
|22||M||Marco Boriello||3 (5)||-||2|
|20||M||Tino Costa||2 (4)||2||1|
|93||M||Diego Laxalt||1 (7)||-||1|
|38||M||Rolando Mandragora||2 (3)||-||-|
|-||M||Franco Mussis||0 (1)||-||-|
|-||A||Alesandro Matri||12 (4)||7||5|
|11||A||M'Baye Niang||12 (2)||5||2|
|-||A||Mauricio Pinilla||6 (6)||3||-|
|19||A||Leonardo Pavoletti||4 (6)||6||3|
|-||A||Ioannis Fetfatzidis||2 (3)||2||-|
|-||A||Antonino Ragusa||0 (1)||-||-|
|37||A||Giuseppe Panico||0 (1)||-||-|