At the end of the day, earning one point against the 3rd best team in the league is always a good thing. It's even better if you currently sit in 9th place. The most disappointing part of all that is that Inter are not a mid-table team, and should sit higher in the Serie A standings at this point in the season. As I said in the preview of this important match against Napoli, Inter is known to be a team who give their best when the challenge is tough, but look distracted when things SHOULD be easier. We have given away too many points against bottom teams like Cagliari and Parma so our current league position doesn't reflect the amount of talent the team possess.
Anyway, let's see what our guys did yesterday, from a statistical point of view.
Too much defensive possession
As always Inter was the team with the ball for most of the time yesterday, finishing the game even with 63% ball possession, but what made it almost useless was the times our defensive players touched the ball. On average, our offensive players (Icardi, Palacio and Shaqiri), touched the ball 47.67 times this game (Handanovic did it 53 times), while the defense (Santon, D'Ambrosio, Juan Jesus and Ranocchia) touched it 69.25 times. The following heatmap (provided by Whoscored.com), shows how those numbers reflected on the field yesterday.
Ranocchia and Hernanes are back?
Both players have been disappointing this season so far - that is a fact. Ironically, these two were key players in this match against Napoli as well as in the other two games we faced them this season: Hernanes scored the tying goal in the home match and Ranocchia totally forgot about Higuain in the 93rd minute of the Coppa Italia quarterfinals, letting him score the game winner. Yesterday, both players were great and helped the team complete a highly unlikely comeback.
Rano was rock solid on defense, with 3 interceptions, 14 clearances and 5 aerials won out of 14 the team had. Hernanes instead, played only 27 minutes in the second half, but as soon as he stepped on the pitch, the match momentum turned in Inter's favor. He was absolutely perfect with his passing, completing all 14 of his attempts and with him Inter increased their ball possession up to 69%, helping the team to score the much-needed goals.
Other key stats:
- Finally our team made the best out of the chances they created, scoring 2 goals with only 5 shots on target and 3 blocked shots for a total of 13 attempts in the whole game.
- Luckily we had the help we needed by Handanovic, who wanted to bounce back from a disappointing mistake he made in the last fixture against Fiorentina. The keeper was absolutely incredible yesterday, driving Gonzalo Higuain insane for most of the match and only letting him score with a beautiful shot from outside the box. Not only did Handa make 5 saves, but he was also extremely accurate passing the ball, with 22 completed passes out of 23 (96% success rate), helping the team set up play out of the back.
- Inter attacked mostly from the left side. In fact, the Nerazzurri developed 39% of their plays from that position - mostly because they suffered a lot from Mertens' speed and creativity on the other side.