Welcome to Part Two of my 2025-2026 season review. I left off last time at the end of December with us in 5th position in the league, out of the Champions League at the group stage but in the Europa League and last but not least in the Semi Final of the Coppa Italia. Our form in my opinion was a bit patchy but what was about to happen simply had me stunned and the very reason why the sub title this season is Helter Skelter.
A new year starts off with us winning the Supercoppa Italia against Milan after a pulsating game finished itn a 3-2 scoreline to us Vinícius Junior scored a first half brace with Patrick Cutrone grabbing the winning goal in the second half against his former club.
Up next was Brescia who visited the Franchi and it was Domenico Berardi and Patrick Cutrone who got the goals to give us a well deserved 2-0 win taking all 3 points. Another win followed next with a trip to Rome were we beat Roma by the the odd goal in five 3-2 with the goals coming by the way of a brace from Domenico Berardi and Alessandro Cortinovis. We are playing some good football and recorded our 5th straight victory (4th this year) against Palermo who we took to the cleaners with a 6-0 victory that left the boys from Sicily mesmerised.
Abdou Diakhate got the ball rolling with a thunderous effort in just the 2nd minute. We were all over the boys in Pink shirts and Black shorts and with only 15 minutes played Luca Pellegrini doubled our lead and things got better just before the break when Patrick Cutrone fired home to put us 3-0 up at the break. Things got even better in the 2nd half with us adding three more goals courtesy of Domenico Berardi , Gianluca Mancini and Fabio Gentile to give us a comprehensive 6-0 win.
We ended the month with another victory this time a 2-0 win against Lazio in the Franchi thanks to goals from Patrick Cutrone and Nicolo Barella giving us a 100% record in January with 5 wins from 5 games.
How do you follow a perfect month? Answer : with another perfect month with 7 games out of 7 won which all started with an impressive 2-0 win against Milan in the Coppa Italia Semi final 1st leg in the San Siro with two injury time goals from one of our development players Patrick Cipriani who stepped in to rescue us in a time of need with all 3 first team strikers on the injury table.
Next up was Serie A 3-1 win at Empoli with the goals coming from Diakhate, Cortinovis and Barella to seal the win. Europa League action next and the dreaded trip to face Shakhtar in the 1st knockout round which ended in a very commanding 2-0 victory with strikes from Berardi and Cortinovis two valuable away goals. A 2-1 win against Sassuolo followed with goals coming from Cutrone and Gentile before entertaining Shaktar for the 2nd leg of the Europa League which we won 1-0with a goal from Pellegrini that sets up a last 16 tie up against RB Salsburg.
A 4-0 win against Benevento kept us in touch at the top of the table thanks to a brace from Cutrone and goals from Tonali and Vinicius Junior. We end the month with a resounding 3-0 win over Milan in the 2nd leg of the Coppa Semi Final to set up a Final against Lazio thanks to goals from Gentile who grabbed a brace and Barella. The result takes us to 14 straight wins and 15 games unbeaten with us looking untouchable.
A 3-0 win against Sampdoria gets the month underway with Vinicius Junior, Diakhate and Cutrone all on target in a game which we dominated with 72% possession and no shots on target for Doria. Just four days later it was time for Europa League 2nd round action with the 1st leg in Austria against RB Salsburg who we beat 2-0 with both goals coming in the second half via Cortinovis and captain Mancini.
A 3-0 win against Chievo was our 17th win on the bounce and our last as a 2-2 draw against RB Salsburg ended the run however it sends us through to the quarter final stage yet again, we seem to like the Europa League and the night was a special one for one of our youth players Alessandro Romano who scored his first senior goal at the club. We ended the month with a 2-2 draw in Milan with goals coming from Cortinovis and Berardi extending our unbeaten run in all competitions to 20 games.
Now April was a fantastic month of football for all involved at the club with eight games of the highest order in terms of the football we played all started off by a resounding 4-0 win over Bologna with Cutrone netting a superb hat-trick in the first of three consecutive home games in Florence. The second of those games was a 3-0 win over Genoa that saw one of our other youth players Fabrizio Vitali grab his first senior goal.
With two solid home wins behind us the whole of Florence was waiting in
anticipation of the visit to the Franchi of Valencia for the 1st leg of the Europa League quarter final which we got off to the best possible start when Nicolo Barella shot us in to a 5th minute lead which was doubled just before the break with a piledriver from the big game player Abdou Diakhate who yet again stepped up to the plate in ensuring a 2-0 1st leg victory.
A Vinicius Junior goal gained us a point at Zinedine Zidane’s high flying Atalanta who are serious contenders for the title this season so a point in Bergamo was a welcome result before we flew to Spain for the 2nd leg against Valencia who must have wondered what hit them when the Velvet Revolution was in full swing a 3-0 win that could easily have been 5 or 6 with Cutrone showing why he leads our line and being chased by the big boys in Europe scoring another brace on the way to setting up a Semi Final clash with Arsenal.
We followed up the win in Spain with a 1-1 draw against Torino with a Sandro Tonali goal in the 21st minute. The Turin club are the draw specialists this season finishing the season with 21 draws come the end of May. A 2-0 win in Naples against a Napoli side who have struggled this season sets us up for the Europa League Semi Final 1st leg in Florence against Arsenal.
The visit to Florence of Premier League Arsenal for the Semi Final ended the month and a tremendous 4-0 win took our tally to 28 games unbeaten and put us in a good position going in to the last month of the season with one foot in the Europa League Final and fighting for the Serie A title and not forgetting the Coppa Italia Final.
Way back in August I would have snapped your hand off to know that entering the final month of the season on course for a treble but what was about to happen left me stunned so much so that I was thinking about how I would be spending the last few years of the save, yes I was really thinking that after 8 years service to this club that I may have played my last game with La Viola.
A 28 game unbeaten run came to an end in the Franchi against Cagliari with us going down 1-3 with Nicolo Barella getting our consolation goal. A trip to London to face Arsenal in the 2nd leg of the Semi Final with a 4-0 lead from the first leg should be simple enough shouldn’t it? No it was not that simple even with an 8th minute strike from Cortinovis putting us 5-0 up on aggregate could not have prepared us for what was to come, Arsenal hit us with 5 goals yes 5 fricking goals meaning we went in to the last few minutes of the game hanging on to an away goal that would take us in to the final but it was a tense situation eventually released by a Abdou Diakhate goal 5 minutes in to injury time to give us a 6-5 aggregate win but a damaging 2-5 defeat on the night.
A 0-1 defeat at the hands of Internazionale not only damages our slim chance of the title but hands Inter the title and makes it 3 defeats from 3 so far in the month. Our worst run in years continues when we lose 0-1 to Lazio in the Coppa Italia Final which despite the defeat we play a lot better but it’s 4 defeats on the bounce and leaves us with just the Europa League to play for but before the final we go to Juventus and fight out a 3-3 draw which should be enough to secure third place in the table.
The Final of the Europa League was against Chelsea and our last hope of any silverware this season but it was not to be our season losing 1-2 in extra time after finishing 1-1 at full time with our goal coming via a Fabio Gentile strike. We close the season with a 3-0 win against Frosinone with goals courtesy of Vinicius Junior, Marcelo Lelli and Marcello Borsani with both Lelli and Borsani coming through our youth development system. A crushing month for us going in to it looking at a potential quadruple and ending it with just the Supercoppa, I love this game.
Serie A Table
Patrick Cutrone ended the season as top scorer with 25 goals followed by Domenico Berardi with 18, Vinicius Junior with 14, Nicolo Barella with 13, Alessandro Cortinovis with 11 and Abdou Diakhate 10.
Both Nicolo Barella and Claud Adjapong both led the assists chart with 12 each.
What can I say a pure Helter Skelter of a season, a patchy start, 28 games unbeaten, 15 straight wins and a total collapse in the last month. The board despite our end of season collapse continue to be very pleased with my management of the team and continue to back me going in to our ninth season. During my time at the club we have lost six cup finals including 2 Europa League Final’s and 4 Coppa Italia Final’s which both frustrate and keep me determined to win the next one. After all it would be boring to be a winning machine wouldn’t it?
Looking back at this season it was the season that Nicolo Barella shown that he is a class player, playing in the Mezzala role he returned 13 goals and 12 assists and was pivotal in us being competitive in all competitions.
We go straight in to the summer looking to introduce more of our development squad in to the 1st team set up, something that will more than likely be a transitional season for us with us saying goodbye to one of my favourite all time players on any FM release, Abdou Diakhate will be leaving us to try his luck and build up his bank balance with a move to China in a move that we will receive £26m.
Florence And The Goal Machine The Story So Far :
2025-2026 Serie A 3rd / Europa Lge Runners Up / Coppa Italia Runners Up / Supercoppa Italia Winners 🏆
2024-2025 Serie A 1st 🏆/ Uefa Super Cup Winners 🏆 / Supercoppa Italia Winners 🏆
2023-2024 Serie A 2nd / Europa League Winners 🏆 / Coppa Italia Winners 🏆
2022-2023 Serie A 2nd / Europa League Runners Up / Coppa Italia Runners Up
2021-2022 Serie A 2nd / Supercoppa Italia Winners 🏆 / Coppa Italia Runners Up
2020-2021 Serie A 1st 🏆 / (Manager Of The Year)
2019-2020 Serie A 5th / Coppa Italia Runners Up
2018-2019 Serie A 3rd / (Manager Of The Year)
Coming Soon To ilpadrino.com
Looking ahead to FM20 many of you will notice that I have rebranded my blog from thewideplaymaker.com to ilpadrino.com and also brought my Twitter handle from the wideplaymaker to (il Padrino FM) and user name from totalfootball71 to (ilpadrinofm) in line with each other. It is no secret that I am one of the older members of the FM World so I think the rebrand fits nicely.
Twitter users will also notice the #TheItalianJobFM that both myself and @steinkelsson decided to create to bring the managers of Calcio together which seems to have taken off rather well.
Since the rebranding I have been approached by an Italian Clubs fan club asking me if we could collaborate on a save with their club and share media content on various platforms. They like the idea of Papa taking control of their club and making it in to a story. Talks are ongoing so watch this space for any news on this.
What I can confirm is that looking forward to FM20 I believe it will be a vintage year for us all within the blogging World.