What. A. Win. After being largely overmatched for an hour, the Nerazzurri bagged three goals within twenty minutes late in the second half to overcome a 0-1 deficit to Roma and earn all three points. Although I could write and write about the ups-and-downs of the cracking match we all just witnessed, I’ll leave that to the match recap. Now, for player grades:
Samir Handanovic - 5
Goal Posts - 9
Surprisingly enough, Hando only actually recorded one save during the entire match. He was essentially beaten four times, but lucky for him, three of those superb Giallorossi efforts didn’t end up in the back of the net, courtesy of the goalposts. All in all, the posts saved more Roma shots than Handanovic did. Oof. Not to mention the various questionable decisions he made distribution-wise. Not Samir’s best game.
Danilo D’Ambrosio - 5
Another game, another pretty unconvincing performance from D’Ambrosio at right-back. Diego Perotti had his way with Danilo for much of the match, and as a result, most of Roma’s attacks came down their left flank. In fact, Perotti had 4 dribbles, most of any player on the pitch. Danilo was also the player who lost track of Edin Dzeko on Roma’s only goal. Other than that, and the recurring theme that he’s relatively useless going forward, there’s not much else to say about D’Ambrosio’s performance.
Milan Skriniar - 7.5
Skriniar continued to prove how valuable he is to this team on Saturday night at the Stadio Olimpico. Much like I don’t know what we’d do without Mauro Icardi leading our attack, I don’t know what we would’ve done without Skriniar anchoring the back line tonight. Seemingly every time he came under pressure, the 22-year-old Slovakian came up with a huge interception or aerial win. To have that much composure at such a young age in such a big fixture is certainly promising, to say the least. This guy’s the real deal.
Note: we might be rather lucky that VAR wasn’t employed to review Skriniar’s challenge on Perotti in the box.
Miranda - 6
At the end of the day, Miranda put in a pretty average shift. Despite losing his man on a few occasions, his passing was tidy as always and he made several good clearances from Roma’s 12 corner-kicks. What can’t be overlooked, however, is the whopping eighteen shots that Eusebio di Francesco’s men had (only three were on target). As captain of the defense, that can’t be acceptable moving forward. Whether it’s an organizational issue, a closing-down issue, or both; it falls on Miranda’s shoulders to correct it.
Yuto Nagatomo - 6
While Dalbert was an obvious improvement from the moment he stepped on the pitch, Yuto actually didn’t play a bad game. Most notably, his pace seemed to give Roma right-winger Gregoire Defrel some problems. Defrel was generally Roma’s attacking weak link, and I’ll give Nagatomo credit where credit is due. It’s inevitable, however, that Yuto will eventually lose his starting spot to the ever-emerging Dalbert. The freshly minted signing from Nice is simply the superior player in an attacking, defending, and physical sense. But so far this year, I commend Nagatomo for putting in decent performances when called upon.
Matias Vecino - 7
I’m having a bit of cognitive dissonance over Vecino’s second competitive match in an Inter shirt. While he did hammer the nail into Roma’s theoretical coffin by finishing off a beautiful team move with his 87th minute goal, it was his performance for the first 85 minutes that’s making it difficult for me to give him a high rating. During the first half, Vecino was overmatched. Radja Nainggolan (my least favorite Roma player, might I add, for both his play and his looks) was finding acres of space in the center of the park, Kevin Strootman consistently had all day to pick the pass he wanted, and Vecino himself played poor pass after poor pass. Later on, the addition of Joao Mario to the midfield helped Vecino immensely, as it allowed him to once again play the defensive midfield alongside longtime teammate Borja Valero. Admittedly, if this is what a somewhat underwhelming Matias Vecino performance looks like, I think I can cope with it. Goal and all.
Roberto Gagliardini - 5.5
For as much as I love Roberto Gagliardini, tonight wasn’t too encouraging. After a mostly ineffective half of football, Gagliardini was substituted off at halftime in favor of Joao Mario. Roberto made a handful of tackles in the time he played, but offered next-to-nothing going forward. I think Spalletti is slowly realizing what starting midfield works best for Inter, and to be completely honest, I’m not sure Gagliardini has a place in it.
Antonio Candreva - 6.5
Yes, I know Candreva provided the assist on Mauro Icardi’s first goal. To be frank, it was a half-chance that Mauro (being Mauro) made the best of. Other than that, Candreva was infuriating. I lost count of how many times he gave away possession in good positions. I lost count of how many times he took 3 touches too many. Quite simply, I don’t know how much longer my mental health can take the toll that the Candreva - D’Ambrosio pairing on the right-side inflict on it. Am I being dramatic? Probably.
Borja Valero - 7.5
Once again, Borja Valero dictated play nearly every time he had a touch of the ball. In my opinion, what this guy does game-to-game is criminally understated. Most of the time Inter were in possession, all that was involuntarily running through my head was: “Get Valero the ball, get Valero the ball.” He has that kind of ability. He links play from the back to the midfield to the attack, he contributes defensively, and damn does he cover some ground while he’s at it.
Ivan Perisic - 7.5
How invaluable is Ivan Perisic proving himself to be? Now a goal and three assists in the first two matches of the season against more-than-worthy opponents. That’ll do it. Despite fluffing his lines on a few first time shot attempts, Ivan Perisic wore down our old friend Juan Jesus on the left wing and eventually became too much for him to handle. The gap in speed and explosiveness was all too evident. Somehow the step-over-and-blow-by still works nearly every time he tries it (which is quite often), and Perisic’s chemistry levels with our main man up top are still through the roof. Bravo, Ivan.
Mauro Icardi - 9
I don’t know how to put how much this guy means to us in words. If you don’t believe that Mauro Icardi is a top-5 striker in the world right now, stop kidding yourself. After putting a pressured, off-balance effort into the back of the net in the 67th minute, Icardi’s second of the night was even more impressive. Vecino threaded a pass upfield to Joao Mario, Joao Mario fed the ball to Ivan Perisic out wide on the left, Perisic made easy work of Juan Jesus and laced a pass into the middle, and Il Bomber did the rest with a deft touch, a lightning quick turn, and a cool finish. I’m confident in saying most of us likely reacted similarly:
Joao Mario - 7
For the second week in a row, Joao Mario made a significant offensive impact as soon as he came onto the field after halftime. To put it in the simplest terms possible:
45 minutes without Joao Mario playing central midfielder: 0 goals
45 minutes with Joao Mario playing central midfielder: 3 goals
Although he didn’t record a goal or an assist tonight, he made the difference. He’s a player that can change the game with a long dribbling run or an acutely-timed pass, and he’s done them both respectively in our first two games. As much as I want to say he should start at the trequartista position with Borja Valero and Matias Vecino playing in defensive midfield behind him, how can I argue with the way he’s being used as a super-sub right now?
Dalbert - 7
As aforementioned, Dalbert was an obvious improvement the moment he came on for Yuto Nagatomo in the 56th minute. Twelve minutes into his full Inter debut, the young Brazilian made a brilliant acrobatic goal-line clearance that saw the score remain 1-1. Later on in the 82nd minute, Dalbert made a crucial block on a Nainggolan shot to preserve the Inter lead; a run of play which ended in the tattooed-Belgian blasting the rebound well over the bar. Additionally, Dalbert seemed to work well with Ivan Perisic in the limited time he was given on the Nerazzurri left flank, contributing to his impressive debut.
Joao Cancelo - N/A
Cancelo replaced Antonio Candreva in the 84th minute to provide some additional defensive security, and didn’t play enough to really garner a rating.
Luciano Spalletti - 7
Spalletti’s awareness of the flow of the game has proven to be his biggest strength so far this season. Each substitution against Roma, Joao Mario, Dalbert, and Joao Cancelo, seemed to be the perfect player at the perfect time. Spalletti has the wonderful ability to plug in the exact player that the team needs, when they need them. The story was the same in the season opener against Fiorentina. The only thing that worried me, however, was the midfield starting selection. I realize we’re in a bit of a trial-and-error part of the season, but it’d obviously be beneficial to quickly find our best midfield trio and stick with it. Right now, that seems to be Joao Mario, Borja Valero, and Matias Vecino. Alas, I’m excited to see what Spalletti comes up with going forward. Because unlike our previous 6 or 7 managers, I actually trust him. Weird, right?
Man of the Match:
Well, who the f#*@ else?
Mauro Icardi won us the three points tonight.