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A false dawn or a great escape for Cesena?

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By Richard Hall

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Cesena managed to pull off an unexpected away win in Sicily last weekend against a Palermo team unbeaten at home. These hard fought three points certainly signalled Daniele Arrigoni’s intentions but whether the club from Romagna have the capability to stay up is a different matter.

The weekend's game saw Cesena entering the Stadio Renzo Barbera on a run of good form; two wins in the last three had only been interrupted by a defeat to an in-form Juventus. Before this the season had been nothing short of a disaster with seven defeats and three draws being all they had to show from the campaign.

The match started well for the home side with Adrian Mutu coming close three times early on whilst Citadin Eder also was denied twice. Defensively Nicola Ravaglia saved well from Edgar Barreto. The break came on 63 minutes when Mutu headed in a cross from Antonio Candreva’s corner. Moments later any chance of an equaliser was hampered when Ezequiel Munoz was then sent off, and the game finished 0-1.

Mutu collected his fourth goal of the season and has certainly adapted well to life at his new club, however Cesena have problems in front of goal as only three other players have netted this season leaving their goal tally at a miserly seven, the worst in the division. Last season they scored 38 on their way to finishing a respectable 15th; the fact that they do not have another striker who is finding the net surely signals impending doom?

They have at their disposal Malonga, Eder, Bogdani and of course Mutu, the latter as mentioned has found his feet despite the poor run of form the club have suffered. Eder has certainly been given his chance to shine and featured in the first eight games without netting once, and he missed the defeat at Parma before being recalled and then was dropped again.

This second exclusion coincided with the victories against Bologna and Genoa although he did feature in the last match. The Brazilian who has not been on song since his time with Empoli still seems to be the unproductive favourite of Daniele Arrigoni. Bogdani’s appearances have been limited and his three starts and eight substitute appearances have seen him muster only three shots - the 34 year old will need to improve much if he wants a starting place. Malonga’s appearances have coincided with some of Cesena’s best results although in five games he has not managed a single assist and his five attempts on goal have come to nothing.

Cesena have got some positives to look at despite their obvious need for a striker in January, although they may have to look for one on loan due to having a full quota. First of all their defence is solid, they have only conceded 15 goals so far this year whilst last year they had conceded 18. They also possess attacking threats from their right hand side and they can produce chances from Ceccarelli whilst the potency of Candreva cannot be overlooked. Guana in the central midfield role has been impressive this term and the general performances the team has produced have been good.

It seems Cesena are missing that one striker who can just convert those 1-0 defeats into draws or the 0-0 draws into victories. Looking at the performance of the rest of the team suggests that this is the only missing link. Cesena fans therefore should take heart, salvation may not be as far away as they think. They should also remember this astonishing fact also, that this time last year, they had only scored nine goals at this point.

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