Hello folks! #TheMatelianoMission hit the rocks slightly yesterday as we started our title defence with one point from six, not something we are used to at Malfa!
I started the day with one of the frustrating three week breaks that we get several of over here. I know we have to spread an 18 match league season out, but why give me three games in a week at the start of the season when we are about to have three weeks off? Still, it gave us some time to reflect as a group and hopefully get some players back and fit.
Our first game after the break was against our old rivals, Calcio. Remember when I mused that we might end up being the Barca and Real of Mateliano after the cash injections we received for doing so well last season? We line up 9th and 10th in a ten team league today. I decided to change the formation slightly, moving towards my second choice CM93/94 tactic where I remember playing a back four from time to time. So, in effect the shape is now a 4-2-1-3 with some full backs, a ball winning midfielder and a DLP. No more central wingers for the time being, I am going to try and stabilise this ship for a while.
13 minutes in and we were ahead, a classy little move leading to Forbes finishing well. Just before half time the new youngster, Bunoncore, thumped home number two. This was feeling decent! It wasn’t feeling as decent four minutes later when they pulled one back, dammit. We notched a third from a corner midway the second half and it was clear we were going to have another win against our big rivals. The tactic didn’t feel very revolutionary though, there has to be a happy medium with the original way of playing that gives us some stability but attacks beautifully. It was great to win though, and we were out of the relegation zone.
We had another two week break to refresh, and again the formation got tweaked. I did away with the full backs again and put in a sweeper and made my DLP/D start from the DM position. Fiola came to the Malfa and took the lead early on. Forbes got us level before half time with another deft finish. I switched back to the original tactic at half time and was rewarded with a peach of a strike from Buono. An injury time penalty saw us get back to back wins for the first time this season, US Soregno are on the rise.
We sailed through the local derby in the next match, beating AC Soregno 4-2 which saw us just one point of the top of the table. Next was the start of our FA-Cupen defence against ASD Fiordalisi. We overcame the banana skin, winning 5-2. Roma was in excellent form, creating three and scoring once. The defensive shape was still causing me concern though!
I tinkered a little in midfield, my two CM/A became BBM/S. It needed to work as we were playing Inter Villa, the league leaders, away. It certainly did, as we ran away with it 4-0! Finally, a clean sheet – it was a pretty perfect performance.
Gibelina gave us a bit of a fright. We were cruising at 4-0, then they fought back to 4-3, and then we finally killed them in injury time to seal it 5-3. The win put us top of the Prima Divizione for the first time in the season.
As I am not a very good tactical analyst, I don’t really know if the team have improved from my tactical tweak – I think really what is becoming clear to me is that three at the back is always going to ship goals so I just have to keep scoring more than the other team. If anyone has any ideas how the shape below can stay in the same shape but be a little more defensively solid without losing it’s attacking flair I would love to know.