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Inter Milan: Serie A title contenders?

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Can this team pull it off?

FC Internazionale v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group B Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

That certainly is a loaded question. Seven straight league wins and you would have to think so. The Nerazzurri currently sit in third with 25 points in 12 games. The black and blue sit nine points behind current leaders Juventus. Napoli is third, three points ahead of Inter Milan.

To round out the top four is Lazio whom is at 22 points. Looking at the table may say yes they are, but last year was the same thing. Is this year different or is it more of the same?

FC Internazionale v Genoa CFC - Serie A
Roberto Gagliardini of FC Internazionale celebrates his second goal with his teammates during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Genoa CFC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 3, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

When watching Inter play this season, it certainly feels different. This team passes the eye test. This team has a different characteristic that teams who donned that shirt in years past did not have.

They never give up.

It all goes back to that UEFA Champions League (UCL) match at the San Siro versus Tottenham. Down 1-0 late in the game, salvaging two goals to earn three crucial points. That win sparked something in this team. They finally realized they could play with anyone. The results have shown that since.

A Milan derby win 1-0 and a 3-0 thrashing at the Olimpico versus Lazio demonstrate it best. Two quality opponents and Inter thoroughly dominated both games. The derbies are always tight games and Inter just kept pushing. Milan certainly played a more defensive style while Inter went for the winner. The Nerazzurri were rewarded in the 90+2 minute when Mauro Icardi found the back of the net, like he always does, to give Inter the points.

The Lazio game was domination from start to finish. Icardi netted two goals, first in the 28th minute and then getting the third goal of the game in the 70th. Marcelo Brozovic scored in between those in the 41st minute.

SS Lazio v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Danilo Cataldi of SS Lazio competes for the ball with Marcelo Brozovic of FC Internazionale during the Serie A match between SS Lazio and FC Internazionale at Stadio Olimpico on October 29, 2018 in Rome, Italy.
Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images

Shots were fairly even with Lazio actually outshooting the Nerazzurri 21(4) to 18(7). The stat that was the most surprising was Inter leading possession 61% to 39. Generally, road teams don’t dominate possession like that unless they are a far superior team. Coming into the game, it was a toss up. After the game, one team was a contender and the other was a Top four hopeful.

Those are the two notable results the Nerazzurri have achieved. The more impressive to me is the five other results. Not one specifically but all of them combined. Inter in years past would drop games they should, like a Parma 1-0 loss at home or an opener versus Sassuolo.

Yes, those two named were this year but they feel so long ago now. Inter have gone on the road versus Sampdoria and SPAL to get results while taking care of business versus Fiorentina, Cagliari, and Genoa.

Not to mention this year the Nerazzurri have had games at PSV Eindhoven and at Barcelona mixed in between. Last season was great for the team as they could focus on just the Serie A. Now the team has to worry about squad depth every week with the amount of fixtures they are playing.

SPAL v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Radja Nainggolan of FC Internazionale in action during the Serie A match between SPAL and FC Internazionale at Stadio Paolo Mazza on October 7, 2018 in Ferrara, Italy.
Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

Luciano Spalletti is up to the task so far. Resting Mauro Icardi and the team scores five goals. Pretty impressive if you consider the XI did not include Radja Nainggolan or Matias Vecino as well.

The last seven league results are something that makes you wonder if this team is a true Serie A contender. The best teams find a way to win games like this. Winning on the road is never easy in any league. It is even harder when all the Serie A squads are so well coached defensively and won’t give you many opportunities.

Now looking at all these results and performances, is this Inter Milan team a Serie A title contender? This team should push Juventus until the very end but at the end of the day, the same team is going to be lifting the Coppa Campioni d’Italia.

SS Lazio v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Mauro Icardi of FC Internazionale celebrates after scoring the team’s third goal during the Serie A match between SS Lazio and FC Internazionale at Stadio Olimpico on October 29, 2018 in Rome, Italy.
Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Great teams find a way to win games they shouldn’t. Two times this season Juventus have trailed in the league and both times they came storming back to victories. They have dropped points in one game out of 11. This team expects to win every game they field a team. They are just too good for Inter or Napoli this campaign.

Winners of seven straight titles and they just happened to add one of the best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. Inter are a very good team but they aren’t great. It is going to take something special to unseat this Juventus team. One thing is for sure; you can feel it coming sooner rather than later. A new team will be crowned Serie A champions before 2020.


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