Cloudy Weather Report Ramallah, Palestine +4°C, Cloudy

The stats which show Rossi and Pazzini are the right men to lead Italy's front line

By Adam Scime

Jun 2, 2011 8:00:00 AM

Related Links



Going into its Euro 2012 qualifier with Estonia tomorrow and friendly against the Republic of Ireland next week, Italy has a plethora of talent in attack.

Coach Cesare Prandelli has called up six high-profile names (assuming we do not include playmaker Sebastian Giovinco as an out-and-out striker) who have a significant number of goals between them this season - making his decision on the structure of his strikeforce a difficult one.

Alberto Gilardino, Alessandro Matri, Antonio Cassano, Giampaolo Pazzini, Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Balotelli have all made their way into the squad, even though the latter is struggling with a knee injury that will at least rule him out of the match on June 3.

Nonetheless, Prandelli must consider a whole host of factors, even versus the rather modest opposition of Estonia, given that Italy could virtually ensure qualification to Euro 2012 with a victory as it leads Group C by five points with a game in hand over their nearest rivals, Serbia and Slovenia. analyses who warrants a spot in the starting XI as Prandelli continues to test a 4-3-1-2 formation in training this week:

ITALY'S STRIKE FORCE | The players staking their claim for a starting place
Balotelli Cassano
Pazzini Rossi

App: 17
Goals: 6
Goals p/g: 0.35
App: 17
Goals: 4
Goals p/g: 0.24
App: 35
Goals p/g: 0.34
App: 16
Goals p/g: 0.56
App: 17
Goals p/g: 0.65
App: 36
Goals p/g: 0.50
Caps: 2
Caps: 22
Goals: 5
Caps: 46
Goals: 17
Caps: 1
Goals: 1
Caps: 16
Goals: 1
Caps: 21
Goals: 5

From a purely statistical point of view, Matri, Pazzini and Rossi have the best goals-per-game ratio (in that order) based on their performances at club level, with all three scoring at least once every two matches. Matri and Pazzini have been in particularly good form since their winter transfers to Juventus and Inter respectively, while Rossi's excellent displays for the Yellow Submarine have seen him linked with a €30 million transfer to Champions League winners Barcelona.

But goals are not the only decisive stat: how a player fits into a tactical system, current form, and fitness will also play a key role.

Physical problems of course rule out Manchester City man Balotelli, who despite his undoubted talent had a relatively difficult year in England, and has only made two appearances under Prandelli due to constant injury and behavioural problems.

Cassano's role will be more difficult to decipher, while he has been a regular feature of


"Pazzini is more dependent on the service...but the better finisher of the two"

Prandelli's reign, his lack of playing time with AC Milan may push him out of contention, as the national team tactician recently hinted. Despite his nominal minutes played, Cassano is the one Azzurri player who can add a touch of magic and create something from nothing, shown by his eight assists since his January transfer to San Siro, so his presence cannot be totally discounted. Nonetheless, he is not a prime candidate for this tie for the above reasons.

Fiorentina's Alberto Gilardino may boast the most experience and goals of the six, but his form for club and country has dipped seriously this season and a starting spot is out of the question.

Conversely, it's been a coming-of-age season for Rossi and he should be included in the starting XI without hesitation. As a bonus to his exploits with his Spanish club, he also has scored in the Azzurri's last two matches against Germany and Ukraine. The New Jersey-born player is the man of the moment.

That leaves the final place to be decided between Matri and Pazzini. The former started his Italy career in impressive style, much like Pazzini did a few years ago, by scoring on his debut. However, Pazzini has failed to score for the Azzurri in 15 more appearances, and in contrast Matri still needs time on the pitch to prove his worth.

While Matri is a more complete player than the Inter star, Pazzini is more dependent on the service afforded to him but the better finisher of the two and deserves the nod ahead of the former Cagliari hitman for his proficiency in the area.

Should Cassano improve his consistency and time on the field and Balotelli live up to his potential then they are the front-runners - but form should be taken advantage of in this case, and that means Pazzini and Rossi need to be leading the Italian attack come Friday evening.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.

Related Articles

Liverpool FC sack Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers has been sacked as Liverpool manager. The Northern Irishman was told after Sunday's 1-1 draw with Everton that his three-and-a-half year reign in

Romney vs. Holyfield: Unlikely duo lace up gloves for boxing bout

Is the Stormin’ Mormon any match for the Real Deal? Political heavyweight Mitt Romney, 68, will face off against five-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 52, on

Poll: 34 percent of NBA fans think MJ could beat LeBron 1-on-1 *right now*

Public Policy Polling reported Thursday that 34 percent of NBA fans who participated in a recent national poll are pretty crazy (emphasis mine): There's no such

Most Watched Videos

View all posts

Nigeria vs Zambia 1-0 - (Video)

Watch the football match between Nigeria vs Zambia 1-0, shows  Extended Highlights from the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers on 7 October 2017

Amazing! This Pastor Claims to Heal by Kissing His Flocks - Video

Wonders shall never end.  This is a new one.... Ghanaian pastor based in South Africa claims to heal folks through kisses.  Yes, full blown tongue in

[Music] Radar X – Babylon (Prod. by E-Kelly)

by OG DEJI 1 hour ago0 BFN Records presents fresh talent Radar X with a massive single titled “Babylon“. Judging from this high-life and afro-pop fusion

[Music] Maire – Kau Kau

by OG DEJI 1 hour ago0 Maire returns with one of her best projects to date. She drops a new single titled ‘Kau Kau’. Produced by

We Must Marry - (Video)

This video is pretty hilarious. Watch and laugh, then leave a review below.

Best Response Ever to the Age-old Question - "What Will You Do If Your Partner Denies Paternity?"

Best Response Ever to the Age-old Question - "What Will You Do If Your Partner Denies Paternity?" Watch and share ...after you laugh!

Most Read News

View all posts

I won’t sponsor a successor in 2019 —Al-Makura

Governor Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State has said he will  not sponsor any candidate as his successor in 2019. Al-Makura stated this on Saturday when permanent

[UPDATED] World Cup: Ronaldo delivers again as Portugal down Morocco

Cristiano Ronaldo followed up his opening game heroics at the World Cup with the only goal in a 1-0 win for Portugal against Morocco as the European

Southeast senators raise alarm, allege N30bn was smuggled into power budget

- Southeast senators react over alleged slash of allocation for Enugu Airport Terminal- The chairman of the caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, says no Igbo man

Enugu West: Onyekwelu dares Ekweremadu

EkweremaduBy Emeka Mamah ENUGU—FORMER regent of Agbadala/Aham Kingdom in Achi, Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State, Chief Uche Onyekwelu has declared his interest to  to showcase Made-in-Nigeria goods online

By Emeka Aginam To close the huge gap in accessing made-in-Nigeria products and services online by global and local consumers, one Nigerian leading IT service provider, Hi-Impact