Torino 2-0 Sassuolo
Giampiero Ventura’s new 3-5-2 formation worked a treat in the Granata’s season opener at the Stadio Olimpico as his side picked up all three points against newly-promoted Sassuolo. Ex-Juve man Matteo Brighi got Torino’s first goal of 2013/14 with a shot from distance that barely had any power but was seen late by Antonio Rosati and ended up rolling past him at the far post. The second from Alessio Cerci was a wonderful finish, curling round a group of Sassuolo players in the box into the far corner from a good way outside the area.
Atalanta 2-0 Torino
The Granata were unable to avoid defeat in their first away fixture of the season at the hands of Atalanta, with both the Nerazzurri goals scored by defenders despite their attacking 3-4-2-1 formation. The first came from an extraordinarily scrappy goalmouth scramble, which was eventually ended when Guglielmo Stendardo stuck the ball home from close range. The second from Stefano Lucchini was a much purer goal, a clear header from a corner that Daniele Padelli got a hand to but was unable to prevent from flying in.
Torino 2-2 Milan
Torino's next result showed a significant improvement: a draw against Italian football giants Milan. The first goal was excellent, with Danilo D’Ambrosio teasing and turning before putting a powerful shot past Christian Abbiati at the near post with just two minutes played. The second showed the goalscoring prowess of Cerci, who latched on to a through ball and clipped it over the Milan goalkeeper into the corner. The Granata were unlucky to concede when Sulley Muntari’s slow shot caught Padelli out of position and he was forced to watch it roll agonisingly past him, and the late comeback was complete when Mario Balotelli dispatched a penalty. In reality, though, it was Torino who played the better game and might justifiably have felt frustrated not to have won it.
Bologna 1-2 Torino
The Granata continued their good form with an away win at Bologna, taking an early lead through a pacey counter attacking move finished off with a D’Ambrosio header. Bologna got one back at the Stadio Dall’Ara when Cesare Natali bundled in a free kick, but Cerci finished the Rossoblu off with a decisive penalty that arose from his excellent long-range free kick. The momentum was all Torino’s off the back of such a good result against Milan and it proved telling here.
Torino 2-2 Hellas Verona
Cerci, a revelation so far this season, netted a double at the Stadio Olimpico to add another important point to the Granata’s tally. A handball in the box gave the Italian international the chance to open the scoring and he duly converted his spot-kick. But Torino had to contend with the return of Luca Toni for this game, and it was the ex-Juve man whose acrobatic touch set up Juanito to tap home the equaliser. Cerci’s second to put Ventura’s men in front was a little scrappy in truth, but he did well to turn and shoot, putting an end to a goalmouth scramble. With captain Kamil Glik and striker Ciro Immobile rested on the bench with the derby looming, Torino perhaps lacked the necessary edge to see the game out, and it was a moment of carelessness that allowed Verona to draw level through a penalty.
Torino are an interesting side tactically this season, as manager Giampiero Ventura has radically changed the way they play for the 2013/14 campaign.
Their main threat last season was the aerial ability of Rolando Bianchi, but with their former captain now playing for Bologna, they have abandoned their previous 4-2-4 system and worked on a new way to hurt their opposition
Ventura’s solution has been a switch to Antonio Conte’s favoured 3-5-2 formation, with natural winger Alessio Cerci deployed in a number 10 role to great success. His replacement on the flank, Danilo D’Ambrosio, has been in good goalscoring form himself, with two strikes so far this season.
The Granata had the better of the possession in terms of time spent on the ball in their opening game against Sassuolo, slowing down the play and retaining well to preserve their advantage against the newly-promoted side, but played 122 less passes than Milan at the Stadio Olimpico as the Rossoneri came back from two goals behind to secure a share of the spoils.
The territorial supremacy stats show that Torino retreat to a deeper position on gaining an advantage at home, spending less time in the opposition half than Sassuolo, Milan and Hellas Verona.