It has been a blistering start to the Serie A season with a lorry load of goals and exciting action. AC Milan are the surprise early leaders with 16 points from their first six games. However, what is even more surprising is the side sat in second place – Sassuolo.
It has been a wonderful start to the season for Sassuolo. The Neroverdi are absolutely flying with 14 points gained from their six matches so far. They are unbeaten and playing some slick, stylish football under Roberto De Zerbi.
Their flying start has caught the eye and they are becoming Serie A’s surprise package this season. Goals are flying, results are flowing and the football is of the highest quality. Consistency will be key as Sassuolo target a place in Europe.
A Flying Start to the Season for Sassuolo
De Zerbi Has Created a Perfectly Balanced Sassuolo Team
The Nero Verdi are enjoying a flying start to the campaign. Their run of results is impressive but the manner of their performances have really caught the eye. De Zerbi’s side have found a great habit of coming back and scoring goals. Their most recent derby clash with Bologna saw them go 3-1 down but they fought back to secure a stunning 4-3 win. A win down to commitment, hard work and determination – that brilliant win highlights their eagerness for success.
Huge credit for their terrific start must go to De Zerbi. He has taken time to put his team together playing how he wants and its paying dividends. In De Zerbi’s two years in charge, he has been putting the foundations down for success. He replaced the experienced Giuseppe Iachini who managed to steer Sassuolo from relegation in the 2017/18 season.
De Zerbi is becoming one of Serie A’s brightest and talented coaches and his hard work is reaping rewards. Since taking over in 2018, De Zerbi has instilled a 3-4-3 formation designed to be solid defensively and dangerous going forward. Sassuolo are perfectly balanced and their enterprising style of play has made one of the teams to watch this season.
They are dynamic, energetic, and brilliant in transition which makes them one of the most dangerous sides to play against. De Zerbi is doing a terrific job and perhaps his greatest night as Sassuolo boss was their dominant win in Naples on Sunday against a rampant Napoli side. The Neroverdi dominated proceedings and kept Gennaro Gattuso’s side very quiet.
The Sassuolo Players Deserve Huge Credit
While De Zerbi is receiving all the plaudits for Sassuolo’s wonderful start, the players deserve immense credit of their own. They have a balanced team filled with talented players both young and old.
Club captain Domenico Berardi is the man who leads by example. The talented attacker has been with the club since the age of 16 and epitomises what De Zerbi wants from his team. He has grown from a young player into the leader both the players and fans look up to. He is the talisman of the team and a wonderful ambassador for his club. Berardi has been part of past success, including the team which reached the group stages of the Europa League in 2016. However, he is very much at the forefront of the club’s determination for success this campaign.
One man who has slotted seamlessly into the Sassuolo team since his arrival in 2019 is striker Francesco Caputo. The Italian striker is well travelled, plying his trade in the lower levels of Italian football. However, the 33-year-old has firmly found a home at Sassuolo. He is a technically gifted striker who scores all sorts of goals. And like many Sassuolo players, he has made an excellent start to the campaign scoring five goals in six league games – only Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andrea Belotti have scored more than Caputo this season.
Another star in this talented team is midfielder Manuel Locatelli. He is the orchestrator in the heart of the midfield breaking down attacks and getting Sassuolo moving forward. The 22-year-old is the voice controlling the centre of the park and De Zerbi has rewarded his leadership qualities on several occasions. He captained the team when Berardi is unavailable and certainly he has a bright future for both club and country.
Roberto De Zerbi Has Been Shrewd in the Transfer Window
With Sassuolo determined to progress, De Zerbi has been a very good operator in the transfer window. He is a coach who explores all avenues when it comes to strengthening his team. Whether that be experienced players or young, raw talent, De Zerbi looks for players who will fit his team.
With Serie A sides liking loan deals with obligations to buy, many players make these kinds of moves. Sassuolo do get involved in deals like this. Gregoire Defrel, Jeremy Toljan, Giorgios Kyriakopoulous and Vlad Chiriches are examples of these deals. All four are now permanent, important members of the squad after initial loan deals.
They are not the only signings to impress. Defender Kaan Ayhan has slotted brilliantly into the back three. The Turkish international is slowly coming into his prime and arrives with a point prove after enduring a difficult season with Fortuna Dusseldorf. Ayhan was relegated with the German side but arrives in Italy determined to show his abilities. He has impressed De Zerbi and the fans with a string of excellent performances.
Perhaps the shrewdest signing made in the recent transfer was talented French midfielder Maxime Lopez. The 22-year-old is highly thought off in his native France and arrives after failing to agree on a new contract with Marseille. He joined Sassuolo on an initial loan but the deal becomes permanent should Lopez make 25 appearances. He has already become a firm fixture in the midfield and has adapted brilliantly to De Zerbi’s tactics and Sassuolo’s style of play. More importantly, he has formed a great partnership with Manuel Locatelli in the heart of the midfield. All positive signs for a player with plenty of talent and potential.
The Dream of European Football Can Become a Reality
Sassuolo’s flying start to the season has been sensational and Europa League football is very much a realistic target. However, should they maintain this kind of form for the rest of the season, the Neroverdi will believe a top-four finish isn’t off the table.
Sassuolo’s brilliant start has put them in the mix and with five points separating Serie A’s top eight, there is real belief this could be a special season for the club. Their fantastic start has defied all expectations and the Neroverdi will be determined to keep it going.