February 25, 2024


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Rice as master craftsman of English coronation, Italian defensive swings … tops and flops of C4 final

Rice as master craftsman of English coronation, Italian defensive swings … tops and flops of C4 final

Rice shines and Milenkovic is disappointed Reuters / David W Cerny / Reuters / Bernadette Szabo

West Ham won the Europa League conference final against Fiorentina on Wednesday evening (1-2). Tops and flops after this suspenseful encounter.


Declan Rice Pack and Mill

Without him the British Confederation would have perished. Loved by almost all Premier League players, Declan Rice once again produced a brilliant performance tonight. Although he wasn’t involved in two of his team’s goals, he was a fundamental, central element at the heart of David Moyes’ coaching game. Just as valuable on defense was his interception against Nicolas Gonzalez (4th). The English international finished the tournament with 82% successful passes and won five duels in his seven matches. He lost only seven balls in 90 minutes. Symbolically, he lifted the trophy as captain in his likely last game at the Hammers.

Hammers attack sub

If Declan Rice covers a clean and regular distiller, several attacking elements have presented themselves, which are not consistently dangerous, but more realistic in front of the cages. West Ham only attempted 8 strikes and made five shots to win the final 2–1. They know how to take the slightest chance, the slightest opportunity, to make Viola suspicious. They also didn’t hesitate to make contact in attack to win a penalty in one hand. On several occasions, Sait Penhrama and Jarrod Bowen came on for the Italian defenders in the hope of securing a free kick, corner or penalty. All for set pieces. A brutally effective recipe.


Defensive oscillations of the viola

How terrible for Fiorentina … Vincenzo Italiano’s supporters believed it but made more than a few regrettable mistakes. This last defensive move is a great symbol. Goalkeeper Pietro Terraciano asked all his players to come up, and on his clearance, the Viola lost the ball in the air, leaving Jarrod Bowen all the space to take the depth and deceive the Italian goalkeeper. Collectively the Tuscans have sunk to the back of their block without making any real big individual mistakes. Nikola Milenkovic looked less consistent than usual, Luca Ranieri was at times too rigid in his decisions and veteran Cristiano Bragi was sometimes involved in avoidable mistakes. It is no coincidence that rare English opportunities are precious.

Fiorentina’s lack of realism

But that’s not just defense for debate. How did the Viola win this encounter, making only four shots in 17 attempts? In an already classic match, that’s unlikely. In a high-stakes final where every ball matters, it’s an almost impossible quest. The rest of the Viola lack a true goalscorer, apart from the active and effective wingers who have made sure to fill in with Nicolas Gonzalez and Christian Kwame. Neither Luka Jovic nor Arthur Cabral could be as dangerous, realistic and efficient as usual this season. Yes, Fiorentina can have upsets, lots of upsets.

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