Inter's run of poor form has now been extended into yet another month. The team can have zero complaints as Napoli ran rampant for a majority of the match and probably should have won by more than just a single goal. Inter were by far the inferior team and continues the streak of games that have been practically unwatchable. The team never looked like they were in the match and can only hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is coming sooner rather than later.
The first half only highlighted all of the things that have been characteristic of Inter's poor form. Shambolic defending, poor passing, and zero offensive creativity all featured prominently throughout the half. From the first whistle, Napoli took control of the match. Not only did they take control, but they also allowed little room for Inter to do anything other than sit back and defend.
Napoli were taking advantage of the poor defending in various ways. One of the multiple avenues Napoli took when making Inter's defense look silly was the use of through balls between the center backs and the fullbacks. It because almost predictable, whenever a Napoli forward made a run, the ball would be played into him between a center back and a fullback and that forward would send the defense scrambling as every defender was sent into panic mode.
This was not the only way Napoli would find space offensively. Often times, the Napoli forwards would just dribble directly at the Inter defenders and seek to beat them one on one. This proved fruitful for Napoli as time and time again Napoli would win in these one on one battles. Napoli found many routes for success against us in the first half, but we struggled to pick their defense apart.
In the first half, Inter rarely ventured up into Napoli's half. Thanks to poor defending and worse passing, the team barely possessed the ball. When in possession of the ball, Inter fervently attempted to push the ball up the pitch. Nine times out of ten the ball was just passed uselessly away to an awaiting Napoli player, but on the rare occasion that the ball found the feet of an Inter player the team ran up the pitch in quick counter attacks. Only nothing ever came of these attacks. The few attacks that Inter had were characterized by poor crossing and shots from miles out.
This is why no Inter player should have felt hard done when Napoli finally took their lead with minutes left in the first half. The fashion that it came in was disappointing of course, but no one should be surprised by a mistake from Nagatomo anymore. The goal came after Nagatomo's disastrously fluffed a clearance to Callejon who was ready to tuck home the goal from close distance.
The second half was tame and provided little in terms of hope for Inter fans. Down by a goal, Inter did not come out running on all cylinders as they really needed to be. In fact, throughout the second half, Napoli continued to be on the receiving end of the better chances.
Following the same formulas that were ensuring Napoli of offensive success, Napoli continued to cut right through the Inter defense. Seemingly endless chances escaped the grasps of Napoli players as they could not put the game away. Perhaps, if Handanovic was not making his normal miraculous saves, Napoli would have been able to get a second or third.
Offensively, Inter continued to fail to please. The team stuck with the normal routes to futility. The offensive tactic of crossing the ball into the box as many times as possible never paid off and the shots from ridiculous distances never found the target. So what happens when those tactics do not work, nothing happens because the team is seemingly devoid of creativity.
The inclusion of Perisic late in the game did bring something different to the attack as he was able to beat his marker a couple of times. Perisic infused something different to the team and was almost able to make something happen, but unfortunately he could not create anything that lead to a goal.
The game fizzled out as Inter continued to struggle in possession and Napoli were sharp defensively. With the game ending in a one goal loss, Inter's run of poor form now includes six games. Not since the eight goal thriller against Atalanta has the team won and it now feels like forever since that game.
Inter were outperformed in all areas of the pitch today and it was absolutely devastating to watch. Going into the game I was expecting so little from the team, but when the team actually played I was somehow still disappointed. Yes it could have been worse, but when do we start to get better as a team? When do we start to compete against the best in the league? When can Champions League be achievable again?
Next up is Genoa and I truly do not know what to expect. Genoa's form may be worse than ours, but right now I cannot imagine Inter beating anyone, even a flailing Genoa side. Let's hope for an uptick in form against Genoa. There is still potential to end the season on a positive note.