Artwork by @chapulana

Serie B winners Brescia are ready to play their first Serie A season in the last nine years; the “Rondinelle” are looking forward to starting the season aiming to confirm most of the team that won the league last year. One of the stars of the team is Ernesto Torregrossa, the 27-year-old forward who plays as a striker in Eugenio Corini’s tactics.
In the last year, he has proven to be a great finisher and an excellent partner for Alfredo Donnarumma. In this tactical analysis, I will study the stats, skills, and movements that Torregrossa presents in his style of play, at his debut season in the Italian top flight.

Career and stats

Ernesto Torregrossa has spent his whole career between Lega Pro and Serie B, arriving in Brescia three years ago; the former Crotone and Trapani striker has scored 27 goals in the last three seasons (12 in the last one), but he is fundamental in Corini’s tactics for his style of play. In Brescia’s 4-3-1-2, Torregrossa starts as the right striker, sharing the attack line with Brescia’s first finisher Donnarumma (25 goals last season, even thanks to Torregrossa’s assists), but he is free to move where he wants, lowering himself on the flank to receive the ball and attack the goal, freeing himself from the markers.

Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Torregrossa is the right striker of a 4-3-1-2. He can enter the are even from the center or the left side, but he prefers to stay on the right, to cut inside and shoot with his left foot.

In his last season, Torregrossa has scored 0,36 goals per 90 mins with just 2,41 shots on target (above 40% of his total shots), being continuous during the whole year; he was a good finisher because he had 0,37 xG per 90 mins, so he has scored what he can, without overperforming (that’s good because we can infer that he can continue on this way with those stats). So Torregrossa shot many times and he often strikes the goal.

But he isn’t focused only on scoring goals; he made 4,19 dribbles and 7,09 aerial duels per match, becoming fundamental for holding the ball and make the offensive phase continue.

Torregrossa’s heading skills

Torregrossa is a very physically structured player, able to protect and hold the ball to allow the team to raise up the line and accompany him in the offensive phase; he is dominant in the air and a constant threat for the opponent’s defences on crosses from the flanks, and on set pieces.

Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Tonali swings the ball from the left, with a long and lifted cross. It’s really difficult to hit the ball with a header trying to score.
Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
He is dominant in the air, and even on a weak cross from behind, he can attack over the opponent wing-back and hit the post with a really powerful header.

But he isn’t only a totem able to take long throws and to score with headers, he has got even a great left foot to inspire the attacking phase of Corini’s tactics. With an analysis of his skills, it’s easy to detect a great tactical ability, and he has plenty of offensive solutions when he has got the ball on his left foot.

Sometimes he protects the ball with his body and then uses his left foot to switch play to the opponent’s weak side, where Brescia‘s left-back is ready to attack and cross the ball; if there is enough time after he had switched play, Torregrossa attacks the ball starting from behind, taking advantage of his position to jump higher and hit the ball with more strength.

Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20: scout report tactical analysis tactics
Torregrossa lowers himself (near him we can see the right-back and the right midfielder, higher than him), protects the ball and switch play on the other flank. After that, he sprints to attack the cross.
Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20: scout report tactical analysis tactics
The left-back crosses an arcing cross, and Torregrossa has got the time to attack the ball with an imperious header, and score.

Not only headers

Torregrossa’s style of play isn’t only represented by those powerful headers; he has got a dynamite left foot with which he can shoot from long distances (even free kicks), or he can use his sensibility to dribble his opponents and score marvellous goals.

Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20: scout report tactical analysis tactics
Can you believe that Torregrossa will score a wonderful goal from here? He has just stopped the ball, and the defenders left him a little space to see the goal and shoot.

It’s difficult to defend against Torregrossa because you never know what he can do; he can shoot, he can combinate with the other striker or he can just dribble you with a “ruleta”.

Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20: scout report tactical analysis tactics
Yes, Torregrossa is really doing the ruleta thing; he was pressed from these two opponents, and he wanted to cut inside
Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20: scout report tactical analysis tactics
After that magic trick; Torregrossa isn’t satisfied. He leaves the ball to Donnarumma, and he attacks the depth, receiving the return ball and scoring with an accurate shot.

We have seen some moves by Torregrossa that aren’t typical of a striker; dribblings, shots from outside the box and similars; he has got great classic strikers movement when he attacks the depth. He moves near to the offside line, and attacks the blind side of the defender, being a constant threat for every defence.

Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20: scout report tactical analysis tactics
Brescia’s left midfielder is in possession of the ball; Torregrossa starts from an offside position, moves in the blind side of the defender, returning available for a through pass, and attacks behind the defender. He will score with a chipped ball.

Behind the goals; Torregrossa as an assist man

As we are starting to see, Torregrossa has got a great left foot, and he is a very skilled player with the ball at his feet; he is great in serving assists to his teammates (Donnarumma for example), and he is good in playing chipped balls over the defence.

Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20: scout report tactical analysis tactics
Torregrossa receives a pass from the midfield; with the first touch he turns himself to the opponent’s goal, and with the second he chips the ball over the opponent’s defence, giving a perfect assist to the striker, who will score.

He is good at serving assists even with the weak foot; it is difficult to see Torregrossa shoot with the right foot (this is one of his greatest weaknesses), but he can use it to cross the ball properly or serving his partner in depth.

Ernesto Torregrossa 2019/20: scout report tactical analysis tactics
Torregrossa receives a difficult ball in the air, but with his first touch he crosses the ball with his weak foot, and Donnarumma scores.

Conclusion

As we have seen in this scout report, Torregrossa has refined his style of play, not merely being a classic striker good in the air and physically strong; he has improved his play with the ball at his feet, making passes, longshots, and dribbles like an offensive midfielder, and using his body as a weapon to break up defences. He arrives in Serie A in his prime, age 27, with the right experience to face this new challenge.

In the Italian top-flight will surely be harder to continue to have these stats, than in Serie B, but Torregrossa has already shown how he can improve himself and refine his skills to adapt himself to the new context. If Brescia will continue to bet on him, they will be surely repaid.


Total Football Analysis Magazine #11: July 2019 - tactical analysis tactics
Artwork by @chapulana

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