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5 takeaways: Bologna vs Inter Milan

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Inter earn their first win against a stubborn Bologna

Bologna FC v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Keita Balde of FC Internazionale in action during the Serie A match between Bologna FC and FC Internazionale at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on September 1, 2018 in Bologna, Italy.
Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

It was a win, no matter how it happened. Now, take a look at our five takeaways from Inter Milan’s 3-0 win at Bologna.

Inter Can Score Without Icardi

Just prior to kick off, Inter fans were greeted with the news that captain Mauro Icardi would miss the game through injury. This was cause for concern as, in the three games Icardi missed last season, the side managed to score three goals in total. A side cannot be successful if it becomes over-reliant on one player, and the match against Bologna showed that Inter certainly have more options in attack.

The front four had never played together, but managed to fashion a number of good chances before Nainggolan finally hit the target in the second half. Icardi is still an indispensable part of the team, but Spalletti can take confidence from the performance of his frontline against an organised defence.

Politano Is More Than Just A Squad Player

While a number of high-profile players joined the club this summer, Matteo Politano may be the one who surprises fans the most. Originally thought to be a squad player who could make an impact off the bench, the Italian has started all three games for his new side and bagged two assists in the process.

His impact goes beyond the scoresheet, however. Once again he looked to torment his direct opponent with his quick footwork and direct running. Not only a threat on offence, the player was eager to press and win the ball whenever it was in dispute. Inter fans are not the easiest to please, but the desire and energy showed by the winger will surely make him a fan favourite in the months to come.

Inter Still Struggle Against A Deep Block

Last season, teams stifled the Nerazzurri by sitting deep and narrow in defence to nullify the threat of Icardi. Despite the absence of the Argentinean, Pippo Inzaghi chose to set his Bologna side up in a similar fashion with the aim of threatening only through counter attacks.

For 66 minutes, his strategy appeared to be working. Inter struggled to play with any real rhythm or to find space within their attacking third. When they did create an opportunity, they failed to test the goalkeeper. Unlike last season, Spalletti has a number of different characteristics in his frontline and midfield. It will be up to him to improve the speed of passing and movement to help the side succeed against these tactics.

The Forgotten Men Could Still Contribute

Like many Interisti, I would have been happy to see the back of Antonio Candreva this summer. His output last season was well below par, and I struggled to see a spot for him considering all the new additions.

That said, in his 12 minute cameo last night I believe he showed he may still have something to offer. He should never be a part of the first 11 – but he can offer discipline, workrate and (fingers crossed) a threat going forward late in the game. The transfer windows are closed now so hopefully Spalletti can work with the Italian and give him a role within the side. This also applies to Joao Mario. With the club in three competitions, there is no room for passengers.

Sime Vrsaljko Is Irreplaceable

Inter fans were reminded of what an effective attacking fullback looks like last season when Joao Cancelo made the right flank his own. Things looked promising again last week when Sime Vrsaljko got his first start for the club. Against Bologna, we went back to the dark ages when Danilo D’Ambrosio took his spot on the right flank.

The Italian works hard, but offers next to nothing going forward, and so Vrsaljko will be essential against sides who set up the way Bologna did. Getting the Croatian into the team will allow Spalletti to stretch the pitch in attack and, hopefully, create more space in the middle for the midfielders and forwards to threaten.


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