Welcome to my end of season review ‘una stagione fantastica (A Fantastic Season). It was a fantastic season in many ways for me none less so than finding my way around the club and analysing in great detail the vast amount of youth players at the club. At the start of the season many of these players had already been loaned out but never the less I would be tracking them in great detail, in fact its more than likely the longest it has taken me to get through a season. I am actually further in to the save than this post covers which gives me more writing material that I can draft up during any given chance. So on to the season, my last post took us up to the winter break with us lying in 2nd place in the table after a cracking start to the season. As with every winter break the transfer window opened and to no surprise I spent the whole of January rejecting offers for a number of players and in turn talking to those players in a hope that I could keep them at the club. Kessie who was on African Cup duty had interest from a number of clubs however I managed to persuade him he could help us achieve our goals in Bergamo of qualifying for European Competition which he agreed and got on with his football, likewise Gómez was being chased by Monaco and the same chat and same outcome prevailed. I also rejected offers for Conti-Liverpool, D’Allesandro-Valencia and Atlético Madrid came after Tolòi. So come the end of the window I had managed to hang on to all of my squad.
We started the new year on the front foot beating Crotone 3-0 goals via Freuler, Conti and Paloschi at home followed by a 7-0 thrashing of Sassuolo in front of our own fans in Bergamo with both Gomez and Freuler getting an hat-trick each. Winger D’Allesandro also getting on the scoresheet. Next up was a trip to Milano for the Coppa Italia 1st rd game against Inter which we lost 0-1 despite having a good deal of the play. Bologna away next proved to be frustrating has we could not build on a Paloschi goal and ended the game with a 1-1 draw. With Remo Freuler injured for our final game of the month at home to Empoli I decided to bring young Simone Mazzocchi in to the starting line up playing as a shadow striker and after just 17 minutes in to the game Mazzocchi had scored his first goal in the senior squad after thundering a shot in to the roof of the net. We had to wait until late in the 2nd half to put the game to bed 2-0 courtesy of Paloschi.
Simone Mazzocchi kept his place in my starting XI for our trip to Udinese and he repaid my faith in him with another goal in a 3-2 win which came courtesy of an own goal and another Paloschi strike. Both Mazzocchi and Paloschi got on the scoresheet again in our next game against Zeman’s Pescara this time though a 2-3 defeat. A trip to Turin produced a 1-1 draw against Torino who played very well using a 3-5-2 formation, Alejandro Gómez netting our goal. Youngster Mazzocchi kept his place in the side along with two of his youth team mates in Centre Back Alessandro Bastoni and Deep Lying Playmaker Pippo Melegoni for the home game against Genoa which we won 3-1 with goals from Paloschi, Gómez and the talented youngster Mazzocchi who had now scored 4 in his first 5 starts in the first team, however it would be his last start for a while after picking up an injury late in the second period. We finish the month still in 2nd place on 55 points.
The month of March would start with us taking on 3rd place Inter which ment us returning to Milano to face the Nerazzurri again after they dumped us out of the Coppa. Well lightning struck twice as the team from Milan beat us 0-2 leapfrogging us in to 2nd place. We are starting to show signs of a tiring season with us picking up a few injuries has we battle to stay in the European places. The visit of Roma to the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia produced a top quality game of football which saw us come from 0-1 down at the break to win the points thanks to a double strike from our ever dependable front man Alberto Paloschi in a 2-1 win. Chievo away would close a short month for us and the boys in yellow inflicted a 0-2 defeat on us that took the club from Verona in to 5th place in the league. We stayed in 3rd spot with 9 games to play.
We started the penultimate month of the season by getting back to winning ways with a 2-1 win at home to Cagliari with goals coming from Paloschi and Gómez. Paloschi’s goal put him level with Fillipo Inzahgi’s record of 25 goals in all competitions in one season at Atalanta. An hard fought 2-2 draw followed in Naples against Marcelo Bielsa’s Napoli with our goals coming from Kessie and Gómez. Next up we travelled to Turin to take on league leaders Juventus who gave us a lesson in defending deep and counter attacking hammering us 0-4 which as allowed AC Milan to close the gap on us to just 2 points. The question now was could we keep our nerve and get over the line and qualify for the Champions League. We raised our our game for the visit of Palermo to Bergamo that saw us beat the team from Sicily 4-0 that included Paloschi grabbing an hat-trick that see’s him surpass Inzahgi’s record of most goals in a season in all competitions and also Giovanni Gaddoni’s 25 league goals in a season which as stood since 1940. Paloschi is the king of Bergamo. After all the hysteria Alejandro Gómez added our other goal. I am so pleased for Paloschi who struggled at Swansea. We ended the month in Florence against Fiorentina who believe it or not were battling to stay out of relegation and we didn’t help matters by beating them 2-0 thanks to yes you guessed it Paloschi and D’Alessandro. We end the month in 3rd spot just 2 points above Milan with them to play in the last month.
Excitement surrounded our next game in Bergamo against Sampdoria has we were now guaranteed European football next season thanks to results elsewhere across the Peninsula. The question was would it be Europa League or Champions League ? So back to the game and a rejuvenated Samp side beat us 1-2 which enabled Milan to go above us in 3rd place, Paloschi scored our consolation goal. Next up the showdown for Champions League football against AC Milan in the San Siro and we got off to a flier racing in to a 2-0 lead courtesy of the return from injury of Mazzocchi and Kessie. With 2 up at the break I told the boys to guard against complacency in the 2nd period. Milan put pressure on us from the restart and got their reward on 59 minutes with a goal from Bacca and just when we had weathered the storm the ever reliable Caldara up ends Bacca in our penalty area to give Milan a penalty in the dying moments of the game. Up stepped Bacca and 2-2 we had thrown away a 2 goal lead. The lads were down at the whistle but it was such a huge effort. Our next game was at home to Lazio who themselves were fighting for a Europa League spot. The game ended 0-0 and effectively ended our hopes of a Champions League spot and Lazio’s hope of a Europa League place. We had finished in 4th place a club record by the way with one game to go which would be away at bottom placed Crotone and ended in a 1-1 draw with our goal coming courtesy of an own goal.
We ended the season on a bit of a low however we had over achieved what we had set out to do and played some very entertaining football along the way whilst qualifying for the Europa League group stage.
Season Statistics All Competitions
- Paloschi 29
- Gómez 17
- Freuler 10
- D’Alessandro 10
- Gómez 12
- D’Alessandro 11
- Paloschi 10
- Conti 9
- Conti 7.44
- Dramè 7.43
- Gómez 7.40
Alberto Paloschi Makes History
The King Of Bergamo ended the season with 29 goals breaking a couple of records on the way.
Always interesting on youth intake day and we managed to bring in some very good potential stars of the future. I have now nicknamed our academy il futuro (The Future) and will be topic of conversation in a future post. Already the Spanish big boys are chasing Vincenzo Di Vaio.
No sooner had the season finished I turned my head to next season and the squad of players that will embark on the club’s European campaign. We have a number of players who will be returning to their club’s after spending the season on loan in Bergamo along with a number of players who are no longer required. This will open up a number of spaces in our first team squad for a good number of our youth players along with 2 or 3 players who have been on my radar during the last year who I think will complement our philosophy going forward which I am genuinely excited about bringing to Bergamo and who fall within our budget. After the introduction of Mazzocchi, Bastoni and Melegoni to the first team squad in the second half of last season I am very much looking forward to introducing around another 5 youth players in to the squad over the summer months. I have got a meeting scheduled with the board to discuss our season expectations and a few other things that I am considering bringing to the table. I have already started my pre season post so it should be live over the next few days.
A look at our academy ( il futuro ) and the system I am using to develop the boys from Bergamo.
The Boys From Bergamo ( The Story So Far )
2016-2017 Serie A 4th Coppa Italia 1st rd