Coppa Italia: Third Round / Team rating: 6.5 / Top scorer: Paloschi (8)
After keeping Chievo up last season, Rolando Maran has continued to inspire a revival, writes Ian Kerr.
Chievo came into this season with their target being to stay in Serie A and to try to improve on their 14th-place finish under Rolando Maran.
After achieving the fourth-best goals against record in the league last term, the Gialloblu did well to keep their defence together, only losing full-back Ervin Zukanovic in the Summer.
The defensively solid unit of Fabrizio Cacciatore, Bostjan Cesar, Alessandro Gamberini and Massimo Gobbi did well to concede just two goals more than last year (45) considering Chievo’s injury problems which ruled out club captain Dario Dainelli and Federico Mattiello for large swathes of the season.
Maran changed from his usual 4-4-2 formation to a 4-3-1-2 system with Lucas Castro, Perparim Hetemaj, Nicola Rigoni, Ivan Radovanovic and Simone Pepe all seeing significant playing time in midfield along with Paul-Jose Mpoku and Valter Birsa taking up the trequartista role.
Up top Riccardo Meggiorini, Roberto Inglese and Sergio Pellissier were Chievo’s go-to-men for goals after the departure of top scorer Alberto Paloschi, who joined Swansea City in January.
The Veronese were the lowest scorers last season with 28, but managed to net a whopping 15 more goals this time round.
Rolando Maran will point to injuries in the side from Week 20 to Week 29 where they lost Meggiorini, Inglese, Pepe, Hetemaj and Gamberini, with the Gialloblu only picking up nine points in 10 games.
However, from Week 30 the Flying Donkeys flew up the table with 15 points from their last nine fixtures to finish the season on 50 points, their best league finish since the 2005-06 season when they finished seventh (albeit raised to fourth after the Calciopoli scandal).
The 52-year-old former Chievo player has revived the Veronese making them defensively solid, gritty and tough to beat. While they aren’t always pretty to watch, their play is very effective, and Maran will be left thinking what could have been if it weren’t for their run of injuries.
After losing top-scorer Alberto Paloschi to Swansea in January, Birsa took on the vital roles of scorer and creator. The Slovenian trequartista finished the campaign with six goals and seven assists. He had scored just four goals in the previous five Serie A seasons put together.
- Chievo finished the season with the third-worst disciplinary record in the league with 103 yellow and four red cards.
- The Flying Donkeys record of 11.2 shots per game over the entire campaign is the third-worst in the division after Palermo (10.8) and Bologna (10.1).
- Chievo led the league statistics at catching their opponents offside with their defence on average winning 3.1 offside calls per game.
|29||D||Fabrizio Cacciatore||29 (4)||1||3|
|2||D||Nicolas Spolli||10 (2)||-||-|
|12||D||Bostjan Cesar||31 (1)||1||-|
|21||D||Nicolas Frey||19 (2)||-||-|
|3||D||Dario Dainelli||18 (3)||1||-|
|36||D||Filippo Costa||6 (6)||-||-|
|18||D||Massimo Gobbi||34 (3)||-||1|
|20||D||Gennaro Sardo||6 (3)||1||-|
|19||M||Lucas Castro||34 (2)||3||2|
|56||M||Perparim Hetemaj||28 (2)||1||1|
|23||M||Valter Birsa||35 (3)||6||7|
|8||M||Ivan Radovanovic||26 (1)||-||-|
|4||M||Nicola Rigoni||28 (6)||3||2|
|10||M||Nikola Ninkovic||1 (1)||-||-|
|7||M||Simone Pepe||22 (16)||3||3|
|6||M||Giampiero Pinzi||18 (9)||-||-|
|43||A||Alberto Paloschi||21 (2)||8||1|
|40||A||Paul-Jose Mpoku||20 (14)||-||-|
|69||A||Riccardo Meggiorini||26 (7)||5||8|
|83||A||Antonio Floro Flores||14 (6)||1||-|
|45||A||Roberto Inglese||26 (12)||3||3|
|31||A||Sergio Pellissier||19 (9)||5||-|