ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - FC Inter Milan
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FC Inter Milan
Posted by Gianni Serra on 02/07/2011

And it's seven wins in eight league games for Inter - 24 goals scored, 13 conceded. No wonder AC Milan feel the pressure of such an incredible goal-scoring-machine. No one can deny that the defending champions put themselves back in contention for the 2010-11 Scudetto. Only five points separate the two Milan teams and Nerazzurri have one game in hand - versus Fiorentina, not an easy one. But the general feeling is that the momentum has shifted from AC Milan to Inter.

Despite fielding outstanding players like Robinho, Ibrahimovic and [the best of them all] Pato, Rossoneri are struggling. Designed to perform and win with style, Serie A's current leaders suddenly look very slow and predictable - many AC Milan' shortcomings are hidden by their forwards goals but their midfield lacks pace and fantasy - and Mark Van Bommel's arrival doesn't help.

Inter are just the opposite. Free flowing football is this team trademark under Leonardo. The way Inter defeated Palermo and Roma explains why many years ago Pelè defined football "the beautiful game". Enthusiasm, pace, skills, saves, goals - showtime guaranteed. No ugly wins anymore at Inter. A revolution completed in few weeks.

Leo brought a change of mentality and a very bold approach towards games and opponents. Against Roma the Brazilian coach gave up the 4-3-3 formation seen at Bari, to use a 4-1-2-1-2 formation. A very peculiar diamond: two playmakers with no defensive skills at all - Sneijder was the offensive-playmaker just behind Eto'o and Pazzini, whereas Thiago Motta was the defensive-playmaker, placedjust few yards before the centrebacks Ranocchia and Cordoba - a sort of an advanced sweeper. The diamond was completed on the right by Kharja [as a forward he was a normal one, in midfield he' becoming a sensation - all credit to Leonardo] and by Cambiasso on the opposite side. This shape and these players allowed Inter to play the ball from the first pass [now it's Thiago Motta and you can see the difference] with an eye for the goal, denying vital time to regroup properly to Roma's defense and midfield. That's the main key of the abundance of goals and shots [Roma's Julio Sergio was a calamity in the first half but very good in the second]. The problem is that Nerazzurri conceded goals and shots as well and instead of 5-3 it could have been 8-5 [in the first half Julio Cesar denied two or three goals and made a superb triple-save].

Something needs to be fixed in time for Bayern. Thiago Motta is not Claude Makelele and not even Andrea Pirlo - too slow to mark, too soft to tackle, which means that Motta's defensive work is purely based on positioning but it's someone else who has to do the dirty work. So who? Kharja can become a Frank Lampard but he will never be a Gattuso; Cambiasso proved he can do the job but loves to go forward as well; Zanetti at 37 is still the most disciplined and reliable in that role but not a tackler. Leonardo's intuition to use Motta as number four instead of eight is a winning one but he needs to put alongside him a proper holding midfielder, with basic defensive duties at least against stronger teams.

This ultra-attacking approach pays off in serie A, even against serious rivals like Roma [some thanks to Burdisso for gifting a penalty and a numerical advantage in the last 30 minutes]. But it's unlikely to pay dividends against teams like Barcelona or Manchester United. A perspective which should concern the Champions of Europe.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Wesley Sneijder. After the World Cup the Dutch number 10 never looked the player admired last season. After a six months vacation he's back.

Serie A 2010-11 - Day 24


INTER: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Ranocchia, Cordoba, Zanetti; Kharja, Thiago Motta, Cambiasso; Sneijder (75' Nagatomo); Pazzini (70' Milito), Eto’o. Coach: Leonardo
ROMA: Julio Sergio; Cassetti, N. Burdisso, Juan, Riise; Simplicio (70' Greco), De Rossi, Perrotta (66' Taddei); Menez (64' Loria); Borriello, Vucinic. Coach: Ranieri

Referee: Tagliavento
Goals: Sneijder 3', Eto’o 35', 63' pen, Thiago Motta 71', Cambiasso 90'; Simplicio 13', Vucinic 75', Loria 81'
Red card: Burdisso
Yellow card: Kharja; Borriello, De Rossi

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Posted by Tunde on 02/07/2011

Serra, which game did you watch? how can you give man of the match to Sneider, when Eto'o scored two goals and provided an assist. his passing and dribbling were also exquisite.

Posted by Pedro on 02/07/2011

Greatest achievement is Leonardo overshadowing both Benitez and Mourinho. This guy shows day in day out that playing sexy football its not only 4 losers

Posted by Little on 02/07/2011

Loved last nights game. Motta did really well..Eto best on the pitch..Sneider never misses a pass..Maicon too fast even for the tv camera to follow..but I dont know how many games like this one I can handle. I thought I was going to have a heart attack in the last 10 min

Posted by Moises on 02/07/2011

Man of The Match is pretty much a tie between Eto'o and Sneijder. Overall the team played very well (except for those minutes of overconfidence?). Too bad Milito didn't score he's really out of luck but he'll be back and we'll all be glad once more. I'm just worried about how many goals the team allows, this is not good for the knockout round in UCL.

Posted by Sia on 02/07/2011

I agree that both Sneijder and Eto were fantastic in different ways, but lets not forget also about Cambiasso and Capitan Zanetti as am anchor of Nerazzurri, all thanks to Julio Cesar as well with some amazing saves. One thing is certain GREAT INTER is back once again under great coaching of Leo to show the world football is played with passion and from the heart of a team and not money like Milan has done since start of season, spending without much to show for at this stage.


Posted by Max on 02/08/2011

@ Moises Milito will be out for 40 days. Not his season, dfinently

Posted by Jose P on 02/10/2011

some finesse is what juve need right now. we only get by on ugly wins, and we're lucky if we can get 'em. i'm so anxious for next weeks Derby d'Italia.

Posted by SMS on 04/15/2011

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Posted by Larry Kuyper on 04/19/2011

Great write up, I never thought about it like that before. But this really does make sense. I really need to start finding more time to make use! thanks!

Posted by Megumi on 10/31/2012

Sei consapevole di avere una mente ottsua, sec? Ormai sono 6 anni che vi arrampicate sugli specchi e dite TUTTI la stessa cosa: l'inter vince coi giudici e cazzate varie. Ripeto, chi cazzo ti assicura che il Milan tornere0 a fare il Milan? Oppure l'Inter che tornere0 nella merda? Il fatto che la tua mente ottsua e antisportiva quanto basta ti dice che rivincerete 3 o 4 champions e scudetti a volonte0? Ps: sinceramente a me di Tramontana non me fotte un emerito cazzo.

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