Players to Watch at Euro 2020: Matteo Pessina - Scouting Report
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Four years ago he was a Serie C player after three years between Monza, two unsuccessful experiences between Catania and Lecce, and the relaunch at Como. Four years ago Pessina left Lario and dreamed of Serie B. Which came as a surprise through Atalanta: he was not ready and so he was sent to Spezia, finally in B. Then his return to Bergamo in the summer of 2018.

 

Just three years ago the new hero of the Italian national team dreamed of making his debut in Serie A. With the Goddess he actually realizes another double dream because Gian Piero Gasperini launches him in the Europa League preliminaries against Sarajevo and then to the second series in July. A at the Olimpico against Roma, in a scorching 3-3 on 27 August 2018.

 

The injury to Stefano Sensi has (re) opened the doors of the national team to Matteo Pessina. The midfielder under Atalanta, despite the initial exclusion from the list of 26 drawn up by the coach Roberto Mancini, was still attached to the group, unlike those who had been forced to pack their bags and abandoned the retreat.

 

His stay in the group under the heading 'reserves', if it can be defined as such, lasted just under twenty-four hours. The umpteenth knockout of his Inter team mate has consequently pushed him into the tricolor group that will make his debut in Rome against Turkey on Friday 11 June.

 

For Matteo Pessina this is the culmination of a high-profile season, seasoned with important performances that highlighted the exponential growth of the 1997 born in Monza. Returning to Bergamo - after a more than positive season on loan at Verona - the half-winger from Brianza showed up at the starting line of the last championship with the degrees of 'alternative' within the middle department supplied to Gian Piero Gasperini .

 

Positioning and adaptation to the Gasperini system (3-4-2-1)

 

As for the position, Pessina is able to play anywhere in midfield, although he excels above all by playing in a position no. 10 behind the tips. Last season on loan at Hellas Verona, Pessina played in a similar formation, with Jurić fielding a 3-4-2-1, while Gasperini fielding a very similar 3-4-1-2 (the former Verona coach is a pupil of the Atalanta coach). Since returning to Atalanta, Pessina has been deployed in that number 10 position just behind the two forwards, usually Zapata and Iličič. This positioning allows Pessina the freedom to roam from one band to another to receive the ball. However, another thing Pessina does well in his position is to drop deep between the opposing defensive lines to receive the ball into space. This then allows him the time and space to turn around and find a teammate for a ride.

 

While Pessina is deployed in a position n. 10 in the Gasperini system, this positioning is fluid. Aside from his free-roaming tendencies, Atalanta's top three will constantly swap positions to get the best possible offensive scenarios. Often, Pessina moves up for a short time in a more advanced role, with one of the forwards (usually Iličić), falling into Pessina's position and building the game. Tactically, Pessina fits in perfectly with Gasperini's high octane attack system and could be the apparent natural heir in that position of Papu Gomez.

 

Out of the movement of the ball

 

As a creative and attacking midfielder, a lot is expected of you when moving without the ball during a given game. Under Gian Piero Gasperini, this expectation skyrockets. As already briefly mentioned, Pessina will often exchange with the first two, and will also move between the lines to find space to receive a pass. This section will describe these movements in more detail.

 

As for moving often between the lines, whenever Atalanta is in possession of the ball with their three-man defense, Pessina enjoys going deep into midfield and usually positions herself between the opposing lines. This allows him to receive the ball with all the time and space to turn around and find a teammate with his great range of passing, which we will discuss later. As the ball moves forward without Pessina's involvement, he will move wide to the left or right, depending on the position of the ball, and will also move centrally. This is if Atalanta are taking the field in a more methodical way. In counter-attack situations on the break, Pessina likes to stay on the edge of the 18-yard area for a possible cutting opportunity.

 

When it comes to his involvement in Atalanta's anterior three fluid, Pessina fits into the system like a glove on a hand. No matter who gets placed in the three ahead of Gasperini, they are always expected to constantly swap positions and confuse opposing defenders. Often, Pessina will alternate positions with Josip Iličić, or will form a three-way front with Iličić and Zapata. When it comes to how Pessina moves, the move of him is that of a much more experienced player, not one who has had multiple loan periods, and is now entering his first full season with a parent company.

 

Range of steps and creativity

 

Another thing that stands out in Matteo Pessina's game is the range of passes he has. He also has an innate ability to be able to pass the ball in tight spaces and also enjoys playing one-two with his teammates. When Pessina goes deeper into space to receive the ball, he constantly looks over his shoulder to make sure he has room to make a turn. Once he is able to turn around, he scans and looks for the correct passage to play with a teammate. Whether it's a 5-yard pass to his left, a 15-yard pass forward, or a game pass to a teammate on the opposite wing, Pessina has everything in his arsenal. With 86% passing accuracy so far even this season, Pessina's passing range has been a valuable addition to this Atalanta side.

 

A Megaphone in the pitch

 

Another trait that Pessina possesses are his communication skills on the pitch. Just watching any Atalanta match he played Pessina in will help this sound true. In moments when Pessina has found space between the lines to receive a pass, Pessina will point out where he wants the ball and will occasionally shout if he is not noticed. Furthermore, he is not afraid to call teammates who are in the wrong position. He was seen on an opponent's lineout in Atalanta's match against Sassuolo. One of Pessina's teammates was not marking the right man, and Pessina pointed him out and told him where to go. These qualities that Pessina possesses could make him a good choice of captain for Atalanta in the future.

 

Defensive work rate

 

When it comes to his work rate, Pessina is a player who constantly moves up and down the pitch to defend or press the opposing player in possession of the ball. Among the top three, Pessina is the player who will give up the most to try to regain possession of the ball. He only presses occasionally, and that's only when he sees an opportunity that requires a press. When it comes to defending in the offensive third, Pessina will nip the ball away from the opposing player if possible, but still lack some polish in the defensive part of her game. With a dueling success rate of only 36% this season and a dogfighting success rate of only 47%, these are two areas of the game of him that could improve.

 


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