Genoa’s roller coaster Serie A season continued at the weekend, as they lost 4-1 away at Lazio.
Davide Ballardini’s side have enjoyed an inconsistent start to their 2018-19 campaign, with high scoring wins and losses so far, seeing them sitting in 11th place in the Serie A table.
After beginning the season with a 4-0 Coppa Italia win over Lecce, they then beat newly promoted Empoli, and Bologna, in the opening four games of the season.
However either side of the Bologna victory, there has been defeats to Sassulolo and Lazio, 5-3 and 4-1 respectively.
The main issue in these defeats appears to be a strict adherence to their attacking principles, which sees them score goals, but also concede them with a worrying regularity.
The key man so far has been Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek, who signed in the summer from Cracovia.
He has netted nine goals in all competitions so far, including five in Serie A, and he is currently the top scorer in the Italian top flight – ahead of some stellar names.
This form has seen him make his senior international debut for Poland in September in their friendly against the Republic of Ireland, and he already looks to be something of a bargain at €4 million.
The problem is that despite his efforts, Genoa have let in 10 league goals, keeping just one clean sheet so far this season.
After conceding five goals against Sassuolo, Ballardini looked to tweak his defence, by bringing in Koray Gunter in place of Ervin Zukanovic at left back, for the Bologna game.
The defensive improvement was immediate, with Bologna not registering a shot on target during the whole match.
For their clash against Lazio last weekend, Ballardini looked to tinker with his starting line up again, bringing Zukanovic back in, but as a wing back as part of a five man defence.
A first half injury to Nicolas Spolli upset the game plan, meaning the Genoa midfield had to be reshuffled to suit the new system, and Lazio took full advantage by scoring two second half goals to seal a home win.
The fixtures calendar has been kind to them for the next few weeks, as they face the bottom two sides in Serie A, Chievo and Frosinone Calcio, before a home game against Parma.
If they can tighten up defensively they have one of the best finishers in the league in their ranks, but if they continue to ship goals they could be in for a long season, regardless of Piatek’s impact.
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