We have all seen the sheer brilliance of Mauro Icardi over the course of the season. After all, 15 goals in 14 games is nothing to be scoffed at. The Argentine international tied Ciro Immobile for the goal lead in Serie A.
Even with that in mind, our five takeaways from this latest win has very little to do with Icardi — which is kind of shocking considering his involvement.
1. Brozovic as the new trequartista?
Marcelo Brozovic has been on-again, off-again all season long. When he has been on, he has been stellar — see his game against Benevento — but, of late, his playing time has been relegated to coming into the game in the second half. In Sardinia, Brozovic came in early in the second half and immediately lined up in the trequarista position behind Icardi. In the previous five games, the poacher has been occupied by Borja Valero. However, just a few minutes into his stint Saturday, Brozovic drilled a ball into the back of the net to put the Nerazzurri up, 2-0.
2. Parity in Serie A
No matter the team you root for, Cagliari’s display over the entire 90 minutes shows there is a fair amount of parity in the league. Cagliari scrapped from the opening whistle and went toe-to-toe with Internazionale — one of the league leaders. After Brozovic’s goal, Cagliari could have easily rolled over and played dead, but they continued to press and made a game of it in the 71st minute. Keep in mind, this is a team playing for its life, sitting just clear of the drop zone.
3. Still hope for the Inter defense
There is little question Samir Handanovic is one of the premier goalkeepers in the world. His ability is solid and is clearly the anchor of the Nerazzurri defense. Interisti have been waiting for the other shoe to fall and the Inter defense to show its true colors. Granted Milan Skriniar has proven to be one of the best signings of the summer transfer window and Yuto Nagatomo has shown flashes along with Joao Miranda. But, Luciano Spalletti has tried something different by bringing Davide Santon into the lineup in place of Nagatomo and it has worked. Ten goals in 15 games is pretty remarkable considering how much we all chastised Inter ownership for no significant defensive signings.
4. Strategy pays off
I’m not sure if anyone else noticed, but Cagliari’s offense pressed and clogged the backline for Inter throughout the game. The Spalletti answer? Drive down the right on counter attacks. And, it worked. The pressing left Cagliari’s right side exposed for most of the game. When they did counter, the Nerazzurri did so by moving Danilo D’Ambrosio out to the right and using him to push the tempo. It worked as he sparked the first two goals of the night for Inter.
5. Ball movement is key
The Nerazzurri did an impressive job of moving the ball around against a Cagliari defense bent on pressing the ball forward. Inter completed 566 passes with 81 percent accuracy according to WhoScored.com. The accuracy against Cagliari is actually lower than the team average of nearly 85 percent. Only five other teams — Napoli, Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio and Roma — have higher pass accuracy in the league. Of those five, three — AS Roma, Lazio and AC Milan are only .6 percent off.
What are your thoughts on the Nerazzurri’s latest victory? Let us know in the comments below or post your own Fan Post.