The beginning of a new cycle for Genoa involves some softer and expected changes, with Gian Piero Gasperini leaving his spot on the bench to his brightest pupil, Ivan Juric. Both love the 3-4-3 formation and a playing style based on high pace and intensity, aggressive and vertical. It is easy to see the influence that Gasperini’s ideas have had on Juric. And yet, after only two matches, the differences that the Croatian coach has implemented can be seen, for example in the movement of his trident.

For his first two Serie A matches, Juric set up an asymmetrical 3-4-3 formation: on the left an outside player who can work the entire line like Diego Laxalt, on the right a reconverted winger beside the midfield, Darko Lazovic, who is entrusted with the entire right side in the offensive phase, but without the restriction of having to line up with the defenders in phases without ball possession as Laxalt is expected to do. Consequently, the movements required of the two wingers are different: the left winger, Lucas Ocampos, coordinates with Laxalt for the classic underlapping and overlapping expected in a 3-4-3 formation. The right winger helps to develop the play by moving inside and forming a triangle with the two central midfielders, leaving Lazovic with the task of keeping the play spread out and going towards the goal-line to cross. Below are two examples:

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Although they have different qualities, similar tasks have been assigned to Goran Pandev and Olivier Ntcham, the two starting right wingers against Cagliari and Crotone. Pandev let his personality as a manoeuvring forward shine through, staying deeper behind Pavoletti, whereas Ntcham let his midfielder personality come through, dropping back closer to Rincón and Veloso. In the image below you can see the difference with the left side: Ocampos stays very wide, allowing Laxalt to move to the inside with the ball.

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Even the movements in the defensive phase are different. The left winger moves up to the defender on his side, whereas the right winger marks the opposing midfielder, countering a possible numerical inferiority against teams with a 3-man midfield. Even against Crotone, lined up with a 3-4-3 formation, Juric still preferred centring Ntcham and moving his midfielders and defenders back in order to gain numerical superiority for his two centre backs against the opposing centre-forward , Simy.

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Ntcham follows and marks one of the two Crotone central midfielders, Salzano, whereas Burdisso and Muñoz are nearby to better take care of Simy

Only two league matches have been played, but that was enough to see that Genoa is one of the most tactically interesting teams in Serie A this year.

Federico Aquè

Federico Aquè is the editor-in-chief of La Giocata. With a degree in Literature, he has collaborated with Sprint&Sport, Datasport and Sportmediaset. He founded Calcio Critico and writes for L’Ultimo Uomo