Serie A 2012-13 season review: Draw-happy Toro scrape over the line

Giuseppe Bellini

After a promising start, Torino fell away drastically towards the end of the season, only just managing to seal their safety as the sides below them took points off each other.

16th; W8 D16 L14
Torino FC

Following their promotion from Serie B and a busy summer of transfer activity, hopes were high for Torino to secure a solid mid-table finish. Experienced goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet was added, as well as the precocious Alessio Cerci and a number of intelligent loan signings made such as Mario Santana, Valter Birsa and Matteo Brighi, Il Toro began the season with a solid team with plenty of experienced campaigners.

The season began as it would go on - with a disproportionate amount of draws. Wins and losses were sprinkled in here and there but from early on it was obvious that Torino's motto for the season was 'however many you score, we'll score the same amount'.

A good run of results through December and January, going seven matches unbeaten (a run including three victories), was probably what eventually saved them from Serie B, as following this, their form and their league position took a nose-dive. Losses suddenly became the norm and their last victory of the season came over Lazio at a snowy Olimpico di Torino in mid-March. Their form picked up slightly right at the end, and three consecutive draws was an apt way to close the season for the Granata.

Most significant match:

Inter Milan 2 - 2 Torino

This match came at the height of Torino's mid-season purple patch and it showed. Going to the San Siro prior to Inter's injury crisis, Toro were expected to pack the midfield and make it difficult for Inter to play. What they actually did was attack with pace and power, Cerci and Santana pulling the Inter defence apart down the flanks and Riccardo Meggiorini scoring two of his three goals of the season in an uncharacteristic performance. It was unquestionably Torino's best display of the season, and they still came out of it with a draw, which tells you all you need to know.

Biggest surprise:

Alessio Cerci

Cerci left Fiorentina a forgotten man in some respects, the winger was clearly talented but he left Florence with a reputation for being a 'difficult' character. Whatever Giampiero Ventura has been telling him prior to matches has clearly worked, as Cerci looked a different player in Torino colours. Routinely the Granata's best player, his displays cutting in on to his left foot from his right wing position will still be leaving opposing full-backs with sleepless nights. He also came to Cesare Prandelli's attention, making his Azzuri debut in March and will have his sights set on another good season in 13/14 to get to the World Cup.

Biggest disappointment:

Angelo Ogbonna's injury troubles

After appearing for Italy at Euro 2012 as a Serie B player, hopes were high for Ogbonna to establish himself amongst the best defenders in Serie A however a series of niggles restricted him to just 22 appearances. It was still enough to make the long-list for Italy's Confederations Cup squad and he will be hoping next season will be able to be more consistent ahead of the World Cup.

What needs changing?

This is difficult to answer for Torino. They scored more goals than any other side in the bottom half of the table, and only ended the season with a goal difference of -9, significantly better than all of the sides below them. It is maybe then a change of mentality which is required. Given their newly-promoted status, it did seem at times as if they were more than content to settle for a draw when they could've easily gone for a win and this approach nearly ended up costing them their Serie A status. If Ventura can instill a little more steel into his side, a mid-table finish is certainly well within reach for next season.

Who's off in the summer?

It looks as if long-serving club captain Rolando Bianchi is on his way out after five years, 149 league appearances and 65 goals, his final hurrah being a goal seven minutes from time in Torino's final-day draw with Catania. Alessio Cerci has naturally been linked with the bigger sides after his stellar season but it remains to be seen whether he will leave and Angelo Ogbonna always has speculation surrounding him. The future of Torino's loanees is also up in the air - Mario Santana had a good season and Torino may wish to make his move permanent but Valter Birsa may be on his way back to Genoa after featuring mainly from the bench.

If Torino keep one individual...

Kamil Glik

Assuming consistent top-scorer Bianchi and Cerci are on their way out, the player they need to hold on to is the ever-consistent Pole. With Angelo Ogbonna unable to string together a consistent run of games, Glik really stepped up and became the heart of the Torino defence. Should Ogbonna leave in the summer, Glik's presence and all-round solidity will become increasingly important to Torino's hopes of having a good season.

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