In the recent years, Italian Serie A has been a “private affair” between four big clubs: Verona, Torres, Tavagnacco and Brescia; the last one, in particular, always very close to the trophy but still winning less.
Till this season, when Brescia has just gained the Serie A title; they don’t simply won, they crushed all the records: 29 wins in 30 matches, most points (87),most consecutive wins (27), most wins on the road (15 out of 15), most goals scored (112), biggest goals margin (+95). Only Torres kept their pace, but they lost in the final showdown 2-1 and dropped at 5 points distance, while Tavagnacco and Verona were never in contention, 9 and 19 points back.
Coach Milena Bertolini, throughout the entire season, remarked the great existing bonds in her roster and underlined the will and team culture of all her players. This is something unusual for Italian teams, where clans and small groups are the habit in the locker rooms.
Brescia roster is quite young, that could be the key point in explaining this different approach; no matter the age, they have very talented players, with 5 or 6 always in the national team line-up: Marchitelli the goalkeeper, Linari, D’Adda as center backs, Bonansea,Cernoia, Rosucci at midfield and Girelli who is the first replacement for the starting duo, in World Cup qualifiers, Gabbiadini-Panico.
The team played a 3-5-1-1 system, coach Bertolini choose it in order to take out the best from her players: many good technical midfielders, good defenders who are not either typical center backs or lateral backs and like to start offensive actions, a point forward with a great goal instinct who uses spaces in the penalty box to cut and search for balls, good external players that create numerical advantage either in offensive phase or in defensive one. They put lot of attention in set pieces and many goals in the season came out from these, using the great kicking skills of Cernoia: even in the final match versus Torres, the first goal came from a corner kick and the second from a penalty.
This would not be remembered as a spectacular team because they don’t have an astonishing way of playing, but coach Bertolini, wisely, got back to the basics of the game in order to use at best the characteristics of her players, so the playing system of Brescia is mainly based on Nasuti and Cernoia, who thanks to their ball distributions- passing and game vision skills, are able to create situations of defensive mismatches or wrong displacements, in which “Leonesse” players have been merciless all season long. Girelli and Bonansea with their dribbling and passing skills served lot of assists for Sabatino and Rosucci, great in entering the penalty area coming from behind at the right time.
While on defense the team is very closed and ready to duplicate covers or markings in dangerous situations, keeping 10 players behind the ball line and using their superior physical conditions and skills to put pressure on opponents and win lot of contested balls especially in the air. In defensive situations Brescia is more like a 5-3-1-1, closing all the spaces in the most dangerous zones of the pitch.
Next year Champions League would be a great test for this team, we will see how the Brescia playing system will work out versus bigger, stronger, more technical and talented opponents.
Authors: Massimo Migliorini and Katia Serra
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.