Christopher Penn’s weekly column
Over here in the UK there is a popular property programme where the catch phrase is “location, location, location”. Well for Gattuso, this season could be all down to formation, formation, formation.
The transfer window is now firmly shut until January. Considering where we were two months, Leonardo and Maldini have given Gattuso, and us the fans, a competitive side for the next season.
I’m so excited. The new season is here. Admittedly I am disappointed that we have had to wait another week, but the people of Genoa have to be in our thoughts and prayers.
But this Saturday it is, and against Napoli – a real baptism of fire for our new signings. A total of eight in fact , bought across two regimes. But a question rages amongst fans – how can they be played?
I remain unconvinced on Gattuso. I feel his naivety to rotate cost us our Top 4 battle last season and got us humiliated in the Coppa Italia Final. It’s this reason that I can tell you what I believe the starting XI could be against Roma on Match Day 3 – when Hakan is back. I hope to be wrong. It has well documented that Bakayoko was his signing – someone I am not against as I think he can offer a lot as a different option to Biglia and Kessie. By my fear is that all three are played together – as suggested by the Gazetta. A powerful midfield trio for sure, but the side was crying out for creativity last season. This leaves Hakan to work the left wing, not a bad thing as his ball playing can be world class at times – but we again fall into the same tactics of last season where we lacked pace.
Playing Hakan deeper
I believe that signing a creative midfielder was unnecessary if we played Hakan deeper. As I mentioned last week, his confidence on the ball improves with every game. I would like to see him drop deeper into the midfield three, allowing for more pace to be added with Castillejo as a left winger, and Calhanoglu supporting the attack with late damaging runs into the area.
Two up top
This is why losing Andre Silva may hurt. I know a lot of fans called for us to use a 4-3-1-2 during last season with Calhanoglu playing trequartista to Kalinic and Silva – but this did negate Suso. I believe that this would allow Bonaventura have a free role to drift out wide, something that he can be very effective at doing on a good day. In a perfect world I would have loved to have seen Silva stay and we could have implemented this as a Plan B.
The addition of Castillejo and Bakayoko support the introduction of a 4-2-3-1 formation. It utilises Biglia, Bakayoko and Kessie as deep lying midfielders, freeing Calhanoglu to play as a trequartista with Castillejo to his left, Suso to his right and Higuain ahead of him.
With Calhanoglu set to return from suspension for Roma at the San Siro, that will probably be a could chance to understand how Gattuso intends to play with squad going forward. It’s just nice to sit here with a warm sense of optimism for the season ahead.