Over the course of the week and leading up to the Derby D’Italia, Inter Worldwide will bring you a series of articles outlining our direct rivals for the final UEFA Champions League places. In this edition, Anthony takes us through the surprise package of the season, Walter Mazzarri’s Torino.
That famous water bottle incident…remember that?
What about the ‘Great Wall’ of Rannochia, Juan & Campagnaro? With Nagatomo & Jonathan as wingers? Or, was it the constant inclusion of the mighty Kuzmanovic every fixture that was the final straw in the ‘Pazzarri’ coffin?
Whatever it was that lead interesti to despise their former manager, few if any would have predicted that Walter Mazzarri would have his 2018/19 Torino side staring forward at a potential Champions League place. Yet, here we sit, match day 34 & 35 have passed Torino by, and they have respectively beaten Milan 2-0 in front of their home fans as well as earning a precious point in the Turin derby to label themselves as ‘serious contenders’ for that final UCL spot.
Whether they coup that final spot, or just miss out in 5th or 6th, Torino’s eyes are firmly set on representing the nation in Europe next season. So let’s take a look at how it all went down, and how they can close this campaign out to reach their objectives.
How did they get here?
Torino were quite active during the summer, adding defenders Armando Izzo from Genoa & Bremer from Atletico Mineiro in Brazil for a total of 14 million Euro’s. Additionally, a loan move for Valencia striker Simeone Zaza was cemented with a 12 million redemption tag come seasons end. But its the on field form of Mazzarri’s side that his caught the attention of the peninsula.
After winning only 1 of their opening 6 matches, Torino were down in the dumps in 15th position by match day 7, with whispers that Walter Mazzarri was the most likely man to be shown the door first managerial wise in 2018/19. Back to back victories against poorer sides Chievo & Frosinone got the Turin side back on track before a 1-4 thrashing away to Sampdoria had them back where they wanted to be, in the mix for a European place finish.
Fast forward to the back end of the season, and Walter has oiled his engine to the point where his side are now virtually in control of their own destiny. 5 wins in 7 from match day 21-27 truly cemented Torino as a side to be concerned about for the other European contenders, and if they weren’t concerned before, a 2-0 home win against Milan yesterday was the official, belated arrival of Torino to the competitive plate this season.
RECORD: W14, D15, L6 – 57 Points
LEAGUE POSITION: 6th
DISTANCE BEHIND INTER: 5 points with Inter having a game in hand at the present moment (half way through match day 35). Torino also hold the tie breaker.
REMAINING FIXTURES: Sassuolo (H), Empoli (A), Lazio (H)
PREDICTED POINTS AND LEAGUE STANDING: 6 points, finishing the season with 63 points, about 9 behind Inter.
Do you agree / disagree with the above prediction?
Let us know your thoughts below!
–Written by Anthony Privetera