Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughVincenzo Montella, The New Guardiola? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Vincenzo Montella, The New Guardiola? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Vincenzo Montella, The New Guardiola?

While Pep Guardiola continues to relax in his New York apartment and every top European club chases his signature, there is a relatively unknown manager in Serie A making a pretty good impact.

Former Italy striker Vincenzo Montella is now head coach at Fiorentina and is sparking a lot of comparison’s to Spaniard Guradiola with the way his side set up and play.

Montella started his coaching career as youth team coach at Roma, where he played over 200 games before retiring, and in 2011 Monetlla replaced the departing Claudio Ranieri to take over as interim head coach of the first team. In his first spell as a first team coach Montella, having only taken charge of the side in February, led Roma to a 6th placed finish in Serie A.

Despite impressing in his 5 months at the helm in Rome, Montella was released in favour of the new owner’s first choice, Luis Enrique. Montella subsequently took the vacant role as manager at Catania for the 2011/12 season and led the Sicilian side to respectable mid-table finish, their first above rivals Palermo in 8 years.

Although impressing in charge of Catania, Montella, again, moved on. Despite being heavily linked with a return to manage Roma to take the job at Fiorentina for the 2012/13 Serie A season.

Montella made no hesitation in shaping the Fiorentina squad to his liking, the 25 man squad for this season contains 17 new players, 9 of which are considered key components to La Viola’s starting XI that has started the season brightly.

The preferred formation of Vincenzo Montella at Stadio Artemio Franchi is 5-3-2 which can adapt to 3-5-2 when his side are on the attack with two wing backs bombing forward to support the three central midfielders.

The players from Montella’s squad we may be familiar with from English football are; Stefan Savic, David Pizarro and Alberto Aquilani.

Stefan Savic moved to Fiorentina in the summer, as part of the deal for centre back Matija Nastasic, and has found Serie A infinitely more comfortable than the physical game of the Premier League. As part of a 3 man central defence, often with Facundo Roncaglia and Gonzalo Rodriguez, Savic has seen Fiorentina concede just 24 goals in the league.

The two midfielders at Fiorentina that have played in the Premier League, Aquilani and Pizarro, show what Montella’s side are all about; pass, pass, pass.

Aquilani failed to stamp his mark on English football but is certainly one of the better midfielder in Italy, probing long balls in between opposition defences and constantly picking the ball up and laying it off to teammates keeps Fiorentina’s ball retention high and works well with his midfield partners, Pizarro and, ex-Valencia midfielder, Borja Valero.

If Aquilani is the man for the long balls then Pizarro is the complete opposite, playing just in front of the his fellow Italian, he plays the neat intricate balls for the striker’s to drop off and receive or play on the shoulder of the last defender.

The front men receiving the passes from the playmaking midfielders are, Liverpool’s tormenter in the Champions League a few years ago, Stevan Jovetic, Italian World Cup winner Luca Toni and new recruit Giuseppe Rossi, who is yet to play because of a knee injury suffered with former side Villareal.

Stevan Jovetic, dare I say it, plays a similar role to Lionel Messi under Guardiola, and now Tito Villanova, at Barcelona. Jovetic drops off from the front in to the midfield to make dazzling runs with the balls drawing defenders out and creating room for goal scoring machine Luca Toni to find the back of the net. Jovetic has been spotlighted as a star for the future since he scored against Liverpool in the Champions League in 2009.

The flaw in Montella’s squad is the lack of a holding midfielder that will do the ‘dirty work’, breaking up opposition play in order for Pizarro and Aquilani to pull the strings. the lack of anybody in the role Claude Makelele made his own is most evident when La Viola lose possession and are caught with both wing backs pushed forward and Aquilani and Pizarro, being hardly the most defensive minded players, left in front of play meaning the three centre backs are left under pressure from opposition attacks.

No doubt Montella will be looking to add some depth to his squad this January in order to maintain his side’s charge for one of 3 Champions League places, which until this weekend’s defeat they had been occupying.

Vincenzo Montella is certainly showing his coaching promise in the Italian league and the 38-year-old has plenty years ahead of him to become a great coach.


Sam Jewell