Leonardo Semplici: Tasked With Saving a Sinking Cagliari Side

Semplici Cagliari

It has been a season of pure disappointment at Cagliari. The Sardinian based side sinking towards Serie B after a run of 16 league games without a win and just three wins all season. Unsurprisingly, Eusebio Di Francesco was finally relieved of his duties and in comes Leonardo Semplici as his replacement at Cagliari.

Semplici built Spal up from the bottom and stabilised them in Serie A before leaving the club last year. However, he is facing a tough challenge in just his second Serie A job.

He must ignite a Cagliari side who are desperately struggling for goals and points. Semplici has plenty of work to do and that must start with stopping the rot.

Leonardo Semplici Tasked With Saving a Sinking Cagliari

16 Games Without a Win

Despite possessing plenty of quality inside a very talented team, Cagliari just haven’t performed this season. Their season did start well with three wins from the first seven but since then it’s 16 matches and counting since they tasted success. The 7th of November was the last time they collected three points in Serie A.

That winless streak has yielded just five points with a total of 11 defeats. They have lost eight of their last nine games which has seen them plummet into deep trouble. Only Sassuolo have failed to collect three points from Cagliari in 2021. It’s been a damaging season in more ways than one. The start of their streak did start with four draws from six but their competitiveness has disappeared in recent times.

Eusebio Di Francesco only took over in the summer but struggled to put his ideas across and, ultimately, a season of struggle has occurred.

Bizarrely, Di Francesco, in the midst of this poor run, was handed a new contract until 2023 but Friday’s defeat to fellow strugglers Torino proved too much for the board. Out goes Di Francesco as well as all his coaching staff and the sporting director.

Semplici arrives ready to save the club while Stefano Capozucca has returned as sporting director. They need to form a good relationship and ensure Cagliari are playing top-flight football next season.

Leonardo Semplici Inherits a Side in Desperate Need of Change

If he isn’t already aware of the task at hand, Semplici will be fully aware of the tough job on his hands once he assesses their situation.

Nothing has worked on the pitch and it’s a case of starting from scratch for the new manager. Stopping the rot is the top priority for Semplici – his new side are dealing with some damaging statistics.

A losing mentality has been slapped across the whole football club. Only basement side Crotone have lost more than Cagliari. 14 defeats and counting for the Sardinian side has coincided with their defence failing to perform. Only Benevento and the two sides directly below them, Parma and Crotone, have conceded more than Cagliari’s 41.

Scoring goals is also proving a big problem. Cagliari have only managed 24, again only worsened by Parma and Crotone. Brazilian attacker Joao Pedro has 11 of those but even he has struggled to turn his goals into the vital points they need. Their rotten run has also yielded a small number of goals. Cagliari have drawn a blank in six of their last seven league games.

Adding to Semplici’s problems, his new side’s home form is pretty abject too. The Sardinians have lost five of their last six home games. Nine of their 15 points have, in fact, been collected at home but not in recent times. They have to use their home as an advantage because several sides have to travel to the island off the Italian coast.

Unsurprisingly, their away form is no better. Just six points have been collected on their travels which has coincided with their slide towards relegation. One win all season on the road is another problem Semplici must address if he is to be successful. It’s a big mess Semplici has inherited and turning this around will be an even tougher task.

A Quality Squad Which Has Majorly Underperformed

While blame will be placed at the feet of Eusebio Di Francesco, the players have to take responsibility for their part in Cagliari’s demise. Di Francesco assembled a talented squad in the summer but, for one reason or another, their season hasn’t taken off.

Their best performers have been Joao Pedro and goalkeeper Alessio Cragno. Pedro has tried to keep Cagliari competitive in the attacking areas and his 11 goals emphasise his importance. If Semplici can continue to get goals out of him, their chances of survival certainly increase.

Goalkeeper Alessio Cragno has been a consistent performer despite their struggles. His saves have kept score lines respectable. His efforts have yielded just two clean sheets but a tighter defence in front of him in the coming matches should protect him and increase their chances of picking up points.

Joao Pedro has been the reliant figure for goals and others need to step up to keep Cagliari up. Giovanni Simeone has five but its not enough of a return for a player who has demonstrated plenty of quality. The midfielders need to chip in with goals, too, with only two scored between them. Nahitan Nandez and Razvan Marin have one each and that has to improve.

Cagliari also have plenty of experience in their ranks and these figures need to step. The likes of Ragnar Klavan, Diego Godin, Luca Ceppitelli and Radja Nainggolan need to step up. Nainggolan, in particular, knows how important top-flight football is to the club and the locals of Sardinia. This is his third spell with the club.

Semplici will need the likes of Nainggolan to step up in the final months of the season. The Belgian possesses so much quality and can be a game-changer if he is unlocked. It’s going to be a scrap for survival but Cagliari certainly have the players to put up a fight.

Semplici Faces Fellow Strugglers Crotone in First Game at Cagliari

Cagliari’s rotten run needs arresting and fas,  starting against fellow strugglers Crotone. Semplici welcomes Serie A’s bottom side in his first game in charge of Cagliari. A vital fixture for both sides in the relegation battle.

Cagliari start the game five points adrift of Torino in 17th while Crotone are eight points adrift of safety. Both teams are in desperate need of the points with both on rotten runs. Cagliari, as we know, are winless in 16 while Crotone have lost eight of their last nine. Something has got to give and this is certainly the perfect opportunity for one side to get a vital win.

Semplici’s new side then face two inconsistent teams back to back as Bologna and Sampdoria lie in wait. Two further opportunities for Semplici’s team to make up the ground and ignite their survival bid.

Semplici’s first six games conclude with games against Juventus, Spezia and Verona. It’s a good run of games for Semplici and provides a great chance for them to get some points on the board.

These run of fixtures are favourable and certainly, season-defining. Semplici will return to the basics and make Cagliari efficient in both boxes. Its crucial his reign starts well to ignite belief in the players and the fans. Semplici has worked miracles in six glorious years at Spal but keeping Cagliari in Serie A will certainly enhance his reputation as a coach further.

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