Two weeks on from the disappointing draw against Torino, Inter reclaimed second spot in the Serie A table by defeating Atalanta 2-0 at San Siro. Matt Clark’s match recap can be found by clicking here, while below you can read our player ratings from another successful night for the Nerazzurri.
Samir Handanovic - 6.5
Thankfully Samir didn’t have to do too much this evening, restricted to ‘normal’ saves on Hateboer in the first half and Petagna in the second. But whenever he’s needed, he’s there. Clean sheet number six of the season for him.
Danilo D’Ambrosio - 7.5
Underneath the mountain of criticism Gian Piero Ventura received last week for not starting Lorenzo Insigne in either of Italy’s playoff matches against Sweden, he did also receive a little criticism for having left D’Ambrosio out of both matchday squads. That is testament to how much more highly he is rated now than he was around 18 months ago, and the change in public opinion is fully justified.
It’s difficult to remember a better performance in an Inter shirt. Quality and quantity in abundance on the right wing, capped off by his magnificent assist for Icardi’s second goal. Always committed to the cause and indefatigable from a physical point of view. Chapeau.
Milan Skriniar - 7
Copy and paste whatever we’ve said about him after any of the other 12 games this season. Again he did everything and again he did everything well; if he wasn’t the signing of the summer in Serie A then I’d like to know who was.
Miranda - 7
One of his best performances all season, if not the best. Ilicic spent the entire match trying to open up space for a shot on his left foot and Miranda on almost all occasions prevented him from doing that; much, much better than in recent weeks. Let’s hope it’s not a flash in the pan.
Having said that there was one mistake Miranda made in this match: he didn’t get himself booked. Now he’ll be walking a very nervy disciplinary tightrope against Chievo next Sunday - pick up a yellow card in that match and he’ll be suspended for the Derby d’Italia the week after...
Davide Santon - 6
The superlative praise Spalletti reserved for him during his press conference gave us a pretty good idea of who’d be starting at left-back on Sunday, and sure enough Santon was awarded his first start of the season. And all things considered, he repaid his coach’s faith in him: nothing flashy but nothing disastrous either. Bentornato Davide.
Matias Vecino - 6
For once he looked like a conventional defensive midfielder, instead of the rampant jack of all trades who constantly rotates between three different positions throughout the match (for a more in-depth look at this aspect of Vecino’s game, look out for the piece we’re publishing on him later in the week). He didn’t catch the eye but he did his bit.
Roberto Gagliardini - 6
Atalanta will never be an opponent like all of the others for him and perhaps it affected him subconsciously. Like in the match against Verona before the international break (and to a lesser extent against Torino) his passing was inaccurate, despite never playing at a particularly high tempo. But even when he’s misplacing passes he helps the team maintain a certain degree of balance. Decent overall.
Antonio Candreva - 6.5
Unlike against Sweden on Monday his crossing was mostly precise and pertinent, culminating in the assist for Icardi’s opening goal. Castagne and Cristante gradually got to grips with him as the game went on but he still contributed more than enough. One of Inter’s most in-form players in this phase of the season.
Borja Valero - 6.5
An unsuccessful first half, in which he failed to influence Inter’s build-up play in the manner he normally does, followed by an impressive second half. Borja will never be left on the bench for as long as he has two fully-functioning legs and tonight was another demonstration of why. Class.
Ivan Perisic - 6
Another game in which Ivan didn’t offer much going forward, at least not until he almost smashed in a third goal in stoppage time. But nowadays he’s helpful even when he’s not tearing defences apart; always diligent in defence. ‘A humble champion’, as he’s been called a lot lately.
Mauro Icardi - 8
Is there anything new we can say tonight? I don’t think so. Inter were struggling to break Atalanta down and so he decided to do it almost on his own, which is what world class players do when their team isn’t firing on all cylinders. Yet another match-winning brace to add to his collection, despite not having fully recovered from the knee injury sustained against Torino. He’s a monster. And not a nasty one.
Marcelo Brozovic - 6
Replaced Candreva for the final quarter-hour and did his bit for the team, without any significant contributions.
Joao Mario - N/A
Came on too late to warrant a grade.
Éder - N/A
Came on too late to warrant a grade.
Luciano Spalletti - 7
We’re now 13 games into the season and Inter are unbeaten, -2 off the top of the table, +2 on Juventus and +14 on Milan. None of those things would have been imaginable three months ago but all four have come to pass, and it is largely thanks to him.
Inter do not take your breath away like perhaps other teams do, but they’re solid as heck and know how to win difficult matches. After an underwhelming first half they took the game by the scruff of its neck and refused to loosen their grip until the points were in the bag, which is indicative of the work Spalletti has done on these players’ heads. He’s made them feel almost invincible.
#Spalletti: "Naming the same XI for five games in a row was a deliberate ploy to try and make certain players feel irreplaceable and improve their self-esteem. then when you've done that it becomes easier to change one or two players every so often"— Serpents of Madonnina (@SerpentsOfInter) November 19, 2017
Man of the Match - Mauro Icardi
Riccardo Trevisani and Daniele Adani ended their match commentary for Sky Sport tonight with the following exchange:
“I refuse to even ask you who the Man of the Match is tonight, Daniele.”
“And I refuse to even tell you, Riccardo.”
“We’ve had this conversation before, haven’t we?”
Nobody played badly, let’s be clear, but as far as Sunday’s star performer is concerned there is not even the slightest hint of a contest. We have one of the best centre-forwards in the world on our hands.