Home cooking does it's work on us again and we turn in another inconsistent performance. There was a lot to like about the performance on Sunday. Equally, and unfortunately from our perspective, there was a lot not to like. Inconsistency is something we are going to have to look at a lot this season. It's fitting that we get a jump on this bright and early, so to speak.
Stramaccioni declared in his post-game presser that he liked the Inter he saw until 1-2. My perspective? I was content with the Inter I saw until Cambiasso came on the field. There were things I thought were wrong going in, but more or less I saw an even game until about 70-ish minutes in. Cuchu looked slow and out of sorts and frankly a poor replacement for what was what I thought a very credible debut that showed speed, power and excitement.
By and large I thought that there was a lot of tiredness. I thought that the team did a good job to keep spirits up but there were too many tired legs out there. Too many people who had to weather the storm from Thursday were also on the field for the Sunday track meet.
Castellazzi - Not his finest hour. He essentially had 3 shots against him with 3 goals and maybe 1.5 were his fault. The first one he's blameless. The second he's in no mans land but Totti made a great pass. The last was a great shot but it was near post at an impossible angle - near post containment should have been automatic. 4.5
Zanetti - All three goals came from the right. Zanetti is a great leader but he's not a great athlete anymore. To his everlasting credit, not many can do what he's been able to at his age, but everyday player he shouldn't be. 4.0
Silvestre - He got a lot of flak for what I though was not a bad performance. Both defenders have some blame for the second goal but both were doing their jobs on the others. That being said, he didn't do anything great either, 5.5
Ranocchia - With Naga he was the best defender we had on the field. The kid needs time to get better though. 6.0
Naga - Roma tried to beat him physically and tactically over and over but he didn't bend. No goals against. No cards against. Plus, he gets involved with the attack. It just wasn't enough. 6.0
Guarin - He looked tired. Strama wanted to hold him out of the EL game for this game and it looked like he was right. A fresh Guarin might have been the difference in such a tight game. As it was he was often back helping Zanetti and too late to join the attack. 5.5
Gargano - I didn't like his game on Sunday. He made a lot of passes. He was very involved, but he wasn't a presence in the middle. He wasn't a big enough presence in the attack to force the lopsided attack from leaning too much to the left. He wasn't a big enough presence to keep Roma from gashing the middle gap. Either way he needs to be more. 5.5
Pereira - His job was to be the left midfielder and he, despite his limited amount of practice time and time with the squad, did an admirable job. He worked well with Naga and I believe his exit was the turning point in the game. 6.5
Sneijder - I am not really sure what to make of his game. I didn't think he made a lot of difference in this game. But I don't think he hurt either. I think that he was bypassed a lot when Inter tried to place the ball between the Roma defense and the penalty area and let Milito and Cassano/Palacio. 5.0
Milito - Like Sneijder, I think that he was played against type. Plucking a ball out of the air fighting off defenders is not his strength. His strength is with the ball at his feet. Having said that, this was the hand he was dealt and he was unable to work with it. 4.5
Cassano - His goal was flukey, yes, but his keeping the ball and making the space to take the shot wasn't. He wasn't playing great, but that's not his game. His game is moments of magic and that's what he gave us. 6.0
Did Strama get the tactics wrong? I think partly, yes. I think the ferocity of the fight on Thursday took a lot out of the team as well. I also think that the Meazza, right now, is a foreign surface. Does artificial turf make a difference when you play? Yes, I can tell you from experience it does. Does it make as much a difference as we are seeing? No. I don't think so.
The tactics that I think Strama got wrong is that he hamstrung the right side of our support when he put Zanetti at fullback. People keep telling me that Jonathan can't defend. They might be right. And I get what Strama was trying to do - one had to be asleep during the Euros not to see how to use Balzaretti - and Jonathan can't defend, right? Well Jonathan may not be able to defend but Zanetti shouldn't play 2 games within 3 days of each other. There were lots of ways to go with this. Mbaye on the left, Naga on the right. Juan on the left, Naga on the right. Naga on the left or Jonathan on the right. Strama had to pick his poison, and he went with savvy instead of athleticism. The trouble turned out to be that as a result of this decision he dedicated 2 men to 1 zone and killed any chance of stretching the Roma defense - they all were able to defend to the left without worry to the right.
And they still scored from the right anyway.
Then there is the other thing. I don't know if anyone else is noticing it, but Strama is attacking like gangbusters at home. Away, he's playing tight, compact lines with plenty of support. At home he's unleashing the front three and creating gaps between the attack and everyone else - allowing everyone Inter plays almost a free run in the midfield. Games are won with the midfield's ability to trespass. Inter decided to bypass the midfield going forward, fine, but it still should be a battlefield, a minefield, not a super highway.
Next up - Sept 16 Torino