Inter finally earned their first points (and scored their first goal) in the Serie A for 2019 with their win against Parma. It was far from a performance for the ages, but there was enough on display to help Interisti sleep a bit easier this week.
Here are our Five Takeaways for the match:
The Team Responded To Bologna
Seven days earlier, Inter put in a horrendous performance against Bologna. They appeared disjointed, lacked passion and we’re incredibly wasteful in front of goal. Parma, on the other hand, were riding high after a last gasp draw with Juventus.
In the opening 15 minutes, you could see how confident they were, but Inter held on by the skin of their teeth. As the game went on, you could see the Nerazzurri gain a foothold in the game.
Luciano Spalletti (who many thought had lost the support of the locker room) said the right things at the main break, and the team responded with a dominant second half. This was important as it was the first time the team had shown any signs of life in a few weeks.
A Team Goal
Inter had squandered a number of chances against Bologna, but the best opportunities often came from their opponents errors.
Many fans would’ve been forgiven for thinking the scoreless streak would continue against Parma as the attack looked toothless for long periods. However, the goal came about from a coordinated effort from a number of players.
Firstly, Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic are quick to double team Kucka in the center of the park when they realize he doesn’t have full control of the ball. Brozovic is smart enough to move the ball quickly on to Radja, who bursts forward into space. As the Belgian carries the ball, Mauro Icardi makes a diagonal across the defense.
He doesn’t call for the ball, but rather he’s focused on leaving space for Lautaro Martinez to run into – which he does. At the point Radja threads a perfect ball to the Argentine who, despite the physical pressure of a defender, blasts the ball past the goalkeeper. Throughout all of this, as well, Perisic has burst up the left and was well positioned for a rebound (or cross, if necessary). It was a multi-faceted team move – something which the side had struggled to put together in recent weeks.
Radja Showed Signs of Life
As described above, the clubs marquee summer signing was pivotal in the goal but the overall performance from Radja Nainggolan is what will please Spalletti and the fans the most.
It was by no means ‘peak Radja’ but he was winning physical duels, occupying the half space and linking up well with Brozovic. He created a fantastic chance for himself, whilst also being unlucky not to earn another assist when Brozovic hit the upright.
Certainly, it was his best all-around performance in an Inter top and enough to earn him Gazzetta’s Man of the Match. Inter’s midfield woes have been described in detail, but a fit-and-firing Nainggolan will go a long way to helping the team achieve its goals.
More Variety In The Final Third
For a long period it looked like Inter would be scoreless for their third week in a row. The defense and midfield certainly held up their end of the deal, but the side struggled to capitalize on their possession in front of goal.
There were many occasions where the team had the ball in a promising position, but let themselves with poor delivery. Danilo D’Ambrosio and Matias Vecino down the right were noticeably culpable down the right, but Kwadwo Asamoah and Perisic also spurned opportunities down their own flank.
What was pleasing, however, was seeing the side make deliberate attempts to play the ball through the center a bit more. Brozovic and Radja linked up well, while Joao Mario moved more central and gave the team a bit more technical ability in the middle areas.
We also saw the ball being played into Icardi’s feet, where he was able to hold up play and look for a teammate. While none of these moves led to goals, it made the Parma defense think and (in time) will give Inter an alternative to the endless supply of crosses we have seen earlier this year.
Lautaro Isn’t Gabigol
The Italian press should be funneling a cut of their profits back to Inter for all the great material the club gives them, but apparently that wasn’t enough as the idea that Lautaro Martinez was ‘il nuovo Gabigol’ was published last week.
Many Interisti began to ask the question, while our rivals were keen to laugh at the young Argentine. What they were laughing at, however, I don’t know. Il Toro already has four Serie A goals (more than Dybala, Schick and Cutrone – all of whom have many more appearances), as well as another two in the Coppa.
Most importantly, he’s come up with match winning goals in huge clashes with Napoli and now Parma. The kid is still making mistakes and he is going to miss opportunities, but he has shown determination and maturity beyond his years. He’s going to be a special player who, hopefully, will help the club for many years to come.
What do you think? Post your comments below!