With 51 points and an eighth-place finish secured, Sassuolo end the 2019/20 season celebrating the second best finish in their 100-year history.
The Neroverdi boasted the sixth best attack in Italy’s top flight with 69 goals and with Domenico Berardi, Ciccio Caputo and Jeremie Boga all starring, they proved hard to stop when they got going.
After back-to-back 11th-place finishes and two consecutive seasons of finishing on 43 points, Roberto De Zerbi has taken yet another step forward with Sassuolo.
Given the heavyweights above them in the table, any better than eighth would be hard to achieve and for a club of Sassuolo’s stature it’s no mean feat.
The 2019/20 season will be remembered by the club as the one wherein Giorgio Squinzi sadly passed away, but they honoured their patron in the best way possible with some incredible moments on the pitch.
Player of the Season: Jeremie Boga
There were a number of players in contention for this, but Caputo will take the award for best signing so the battle came down to Boga and Berardi.
As good as Berardi has been, though, it’s hard to overlook what the French-Ivorian has done this past season.
His 11 goals and four assists in Serie A helped the Neroverdi to an impressive season, but what makes those more impressive is that he was on target against Juventus, Inter and Roma.
Boga has established himself as one of the very best dribblers in Serie A, too, and he will be in high demand this coming summer.
Best Signing: Ciccio Caputo
His 21 goals in 2019/20 were enough to make him Sassuolo’s most prolific player in their seven years in Serie A and they couldn’t have expected such a good return in his first campaign in Emilia-Romagna.
To add to those goals he contributed with seven more assists and slotted seamlessly into Sassuolo’s frontline.
Considering the Neroverdi paid Empoli just €7 million to sign him last summer after he had just one season in Serie A, Caputo is not only his club’s best signing this season but one of the best in Europe as well.
The Coach: Roberto De Zerbi
Since taking over in 2018, Roberto De Zerbi has done a fine job in bringing Sassuolo back to something resembling what they had been so adored for being under Eusebio Di Francesco.
This current version of Sassuolo could even be better than what they once were and while they haven’t managed to replicate that sixth-place finish that Di Francesco guided them to, there is considerably more competition at the top of Serie A now.
De Zerbi’s side are one of Serie A’s entertainers and if you’re a neutral looking for a team to watch every weekend but not to necessarily support, then the Neroverdi should be right up there at the top of your ‘Teams to Watch’ list.
Much like what happened with Di Francesco, it does seem that De Zerbi will move on from Reggio Emilia sooner or later, but his side should be cherished while they still can.
There have been a lot of enjoyable moments along the way this season but few were as dramatic, fun and characteristic of Sassuolo than their 4-2 win over Roma in February.
After racing into a 3-0 lead within 30 minutes, Sassuolo came close to throwing it all away as the Giallorossi fought back to 3-2.
Going above results, Caputo’s ‘everything will be okay, stay at home’ message as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning is worthy of a mention.
But Jeremie Boga arrived to score their fourth, restore their two-goal cushion and seal the points.
Sassuolo are probably better enjoyed if you don’t support them and their ability to just not turn it on from time to time must be maddening for fans.
Just as they’re capable of hitting three, four or five goals past an opponent, they too often don’t produce.
Results like their 3-0 loss at Udinese and 2-1 home defeat to Fiorentina are examples of a trend they’ll undoubtedly want to shake next season.