Tag Archives: Inter Milan

Roma combine defensive organization and quick transitions to defeat Inter Milan


Over the past few weeks, Rudi Garcia’s fantastic start as Roma manager has been overlooked, laughed about, or simply ignored. Unlike last season, when Zdenek Zeman’s tenure was highly anticipated, Garcia’s was closely critiqued – at some points harshly ridiculed. But as we embark upon the second international break of the season, Garcia’s men has silenced more critics, and remain undefeated at the top of the table.


This weekend it was Walter Mazzarri’s Inter Milan that provided another obstacle for Roma to overcome. The Giallorossi produced a mature performance at the San Siro, combining defensive organization with quick transitions on the counter, to keep their unbeaten record intact. And it was their two-standout performers this season – Gervinho and Totti – that were brilliant on the night.

Francesco Totti continues to look ageless in Roma’s 4-3-3, which arguably is a 4-6-0 due to the Italian’s tactical intelligence. Totti is not your typical conventional striker – he drops deeper into midfield searching for space to receive the ball, allowing his wingers to attack the space behind him. Nonetheless, it was Totti who led the cavalry to three points with a first half brace.

However, Roma’s goals stemmed from Garcia’s initial game plan – defend deep and get the ball to their wide players . The Giallorossi pounced on Andrea Ranocchia’s failed clearance, and Alessandro Florenzi played a pass to Gervinho, who laid the ball off for Totti to thump a fabulous strike past Samir Handanovic. Totti added to his tally from the spot 20 minutes later, courtesy of Gervinho’s direct threat from wide areas, which led to Alvaro Pereira fouling the Ivorian in the box.

Florenzi put the match out of reach in the 43rd minute, which showcased a brilliant counter-attack straight off the training ground. Totti cleared his lines, playing a ball towards the advancing Kevin Strootman, who drove through the heart of the Nerazzuri midfield – the Dutch midfielder slid the ball into Florenzi, who hammered a one-time shot into the far corner.

For all of Roma’s attacking threat on the counter, their defensive work was equally impressive. Inter was allowed to dictate possession as Roma dropped into their shape, but Mazzarri’s men were unable to get behind the Giallorossi backline. The midfield trio of Daniele De Rossi, Strootman and Miralem Pjanic did a great job in minimizing space between the lines, while maintaining a compact shape ahead of the back four. Inter relied on width from their wingbacks, but Florenzi and Gervinho worked diligently to nullify Pereira and Yuto Nagatomo’s threat from wide areas.

As Inter Milan pushed forward looking to find a goal, Gervinho became Roma’s biggest threat going forward. The Ivorian was the main outlet going forward confidently skipping past defenders, as he was a nuisance from wide areas – which was a rarity in his overall game during his time at Arsenal. Gervinho and Totti completed the most passes in the attacking third of any player in a Roma shirt, as Garcia’s men stifled Inter’s attack, an targeted the space available on the counter.

Roma produced another terrific performance against an Inter Milan side that were on a great run of form, prior to the result. Last season the Giallorossi were abysmal at the back, and would’ve struggled to maintain a three-goal lead, but Garcia’s men – who have only conceded one goal thus far – continue to be magnificent defensively. It’s uncertain as to whether Roma will be able to sustain such brilliance for the duration of the season, but it’s refreshing to hear the Giallorossi mentioned in the title conversation.

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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Match Recaps, Published Work


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Jose Mourinho has plenty to prove upon his Chelsea return


There’s been an anomaly in Jose Mourinho’s persona since his return to Stamford Bridge, two months ago.

Mourinho walked out of the Santiago Bernabeu vanquished – the Portuguese manager was on the losing end of another Champions League semi-final – his third consecutive exit at that stage, and fifth in seven attempts throughout his career.

Mourinho was the subject of an emotional post-match press conference, slyly speculating his future.

“I know in England I’m loved,” Mourinho said.

“I’m loved by the fans. I’m loved by the media that treats me in a fair way, criticizing me but giving me credit when I deserve it. I know I’m loved by some clubs, especially one,” he said.

It was clear that the 50-year-old manager had his eyes on a return to Stamford Bridge, and it became a reality June 10th, but we witnessed a different side to Mourinho at his unveiling. The media was expecting the confident, egotistical, treble winner that graced the Premier League, nine years ago, but they welcomed back a man that was keen on expressing how happy he was – officially dubbing himself the ‘Happy One.’

Considering his time at Madrid was quite theatrical, it was a perfect alibi for Mourinho to sell to the world. The Portuguese manager was targeted by the Spanish media, disliked by a portion of Madridstas and fell out with several players in the dressing room, thus leading to his downfall at Madrid. So a scenery change would essentially benefit the Portuguese manager, especially at a club that Mourinho has reiterated he’s fond of.

But anyone that’s followed Mourinho’s career across Europe knows that he’s a calculated thinker. He’s always a step of most psychologically, and his actions are often pre-meditated. Despite being slightly above average tactically, Mourinho has always made up for his tactical deficiencies with his man-management skills, methodological approach and his ability to win matches in press conferences.

For all of the positivity Mourinho is preaching, it’s difficult to believe that he’s being honest. One can mature, and the Portuguese manager has, since his departure in 2007, but this is simply all an act – one to potentially ease the large amount of pressure the ‘Happy One’ faces. His modesty to declare that the league is a six-horse race, and to avoid stating that his side can win the league is canny, but subconsciously, he’s aware of the situation that he has stepped into by returning to Chelsea.

Like he did in 2004/2005, Mourinho returns to the Premier League during a transitional period – on top of that, the two Manchester clubs have also made managerial changes – thus handing him a slight edge. With the pandemonium that took place last season at Madrid, his return to the Premier League was predictable, but it must be said that Chelsea was his last destination. United overlooked Mourinho as they wanted stability, yet he could flourish on the other side of Manchester with the funds available, but City were in the process of ridding the bad seeds out of the club, and Mourinho wasn’t the man to start a new era at the Ethiad, based on the conflict at Madrid.

Chelsea was the only logical place for Mourinho to go, and some see it as a safe move, this is potentially the biggest challenge in the ‘Happy ones’ career. Mourinho acknowledged that he underachieved last season, and was eager to address it to the press after Madrid’s Copa del Rey defeat to rivals Atletico Madrid.

“This is the worst season of my career with a title that is not sufficient to satisfy Real Madrid and therefore it is a bad season,” Mourinho said.

“With a final, a semifinal, second place in the league and the Supercup, what for many would be a good season, for me is the worst,” he added.

However, it wasn’t a surprise to see Mourinho fail in his third season at Madrid, considering it’s the longest managerial tenure he’s sustained since his first stint at Chelsea. Frankly, it’s been unknown as to whether Mourinho can achieve success past his three-year cycle, seeing as he’s never been at a club past that mark.

At Chelsea, Mourinho introduced a 4-3-3 in a league where most teams played in a 4-4-2. The Portuguese manager believed that the extra man in midfield was vital, as it allowed his side to dominate the midfield, with an extra passing outlet. Mourinho was focused on his side’s organization as a unit, as they often sat deep without the ball, and were keen on playing conservative, mainly on their travels, when they took the lead.

It was a perfect fit for a Chelsea side that didn’t possess a no.10, but possessed a physical presence in midfield, a legitimate centre forward and pacy wingers. Mourinho’s first two years in London was a success – he claimed the Premier League twice, and also added a few domestic trophies. Mourinho’s third season at Chelsea was faced with several injury issues, an over-reliance on talismanic striker Didier Drogba and a determined Manchester United, that was beginning to find their stride. Mourinho still managed to win a domestic double that season, but United ended his dominance, and the manager left the club by mutual consent at the start of the 2007/2008 season.

We’re not sure if the Portuguese manager would face such an issue at Inter Milan, where he won the treble in his second season, but with the sudden decline the players sustained in the third season, Mourinho chose the right time to head to Madrid. Since Mourinho left Inter, the club has failed to come close to the success that they achieved during the Portuguese manager’s tenure.

jose mourinho chelseaHis time at Madrid was similar, but now the Portuguese manager had the difficult task of challenging arguably the best team to ever play the game, in Barcelona. In fairness, the Portuguese manager disrupted Barcelona’s dominance, as they began to challenge them, and eventually defeating them on a few occasions. Mourinho’s side peaked in the 2011/2012 season where they set a La Liga record, claiming 100 points and scoring 121 goals in the league alone. Many began to tip Mourinho to start his reign of dominance in the Spanish capital, but a year later he saw Barcelona equal their 100 point record, finishing 15 points behind their league rivals.

Mourinho’s side was flashier than the team he possessed at Chelsea, and he also had the creative players available to play in his preferred 4-2-3-1. Conversely, like his tenure at Stamford Bridge, the Portuguese manager failed to evolve as a manager or give his side a tactical identity. Madrid was shaped to be a counter-attacking side, which suited them, based on the players at their disposal, but Mourinho didn’t have a plan B.

Mourinho’s squad was superior to most, so he could afford to rely on moments of brilliance from his star players – but his side began to build an over-reliance on Cristiano Ronaldo, similar to Drogba’s in Mourinho’s third season at Chelsea. The Portuguese manager’s 72% winning percentage, the highest of any Madrid manager, along with his three consecutive Champions League semi-final appearances, overshadowed his inability to hand the side a new identity.

This deficiency was exposed more so in the Champions League, as Mourinho failed to defeat any elite opposition he came across – albeit all of these showdowns took place in the semi-finals. His barbaric tactics against Barcelona was his downfall in 2011 – he had no match for the imperious Toni Kroos in 2012 – and disjointed side were humbled in 2013, despite coming close to completing the comeback.

Top-class managers thrive in these situations, which leaves many questioning whether Mourinho’s can still succeed at the top level, yet making his return to Chelsea vital. The Portuguese manager may well be auditioning for the Manchester United job if Moyes doesn’t succeed, but he’s also out to prove that he can succeed beyond his three-season cycle.

“My feeling is the trophies will arrive naturally without obsession, they will arrive naturally, based on the stability because there is big empathy between the different sectors at this club,” Mourinho said.

“I also want to show people I am stable, but you can be stable and also emotional. Chelsea need some stability. In this moment, the club is ready for that and I am ready for that,” he added.

Mourinho now faces a huge challenge in restoring his legacy on a domestic and European front, and it’s surprising to see the Portuguese manager neglect some of the issues that his side possesses. Chelsea currently has an abundance of young, creative attacking midfielders, but their double pivot isn’t convincing and they lack a top-class centre forward. Based on the large amount of inferior sides in the league, Mourinho might be able to succeed without bolstering his midfield, as a striker has been his top priority.

Similar to Benitez’s tenure at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho will stress the importance of defending as a unit and organization, but the Portuguese manager has already made a significant alteration in his attack. This season, we’ve seen Oscar play in the no.10 role that he thrived in with Brazil at the Confederations Cup – pushing Juan Mata out wide or to the bench. Mata has flourished in a central position – it’s allowed the Spaniard to be put in the same conversation as Luis Suarez, Gareth Bale and Robin van Persie, and arguably become a world-class player.

But Mata’s defensive work has made him a liability over the years, and Mourinho is facing a similar conundrum to his time at Madrid. Toni Kroos’ performance in the 2011/2012 Champions League semi-final influenced Mourinho into purchasing Luka Modric during his time at Madrid – a midfielder that could provide creativity, but could also complete his defensive work, by pressing a deep-lying playmaker and forming a midfield three when needed. Oscar can complete the latter, but his ability to find pockets of space to receive the ball, and allow the other attackers to penetrate is significant. Chelsea now has depth in their attack, but keeping/getting the best out of the Spaniard is also an issue Mourinho needs to iron out.

Nevertheless, his time at Chelsea will be assessed not only on the amount of trophies he claims, but also on his ability to give his side a tactical identity and provide flexibility. The Portuguese manager possesses a side filled with a great balance of young talent, and experienced veterans, and failure to succeed, will definitely leave many critics questioning his ability at the top level.

Mourinho’s first big test comes at Old Trafford, where he’ll square off against David Moyes, the man that Sir Alex Ferguson preferred over the Portuguese manager. The Portuguese manager has enjoyed his fair amount of success at Old Trafford and will look to send a message to not only the rest of the league, but to Moyes and the Manchester United board.

In hindsight, Mourinho’s return to the Premier League has given the league a new source of excitement, and with the departure of Ferguson and Roberto Mancini, it also sets up new rivalries.

The Portuguese manager has embarked on his toughest task yet that will see him attempt to ensure continuity and win trophies- thus handing him the opportunity to prove that special individuals can also be happy.

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Posted by on August 27, 2013 in EPL, Published Work


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Inter Milan 1-2 Juventus

Juventus avenged their first league loss in the Antonio Conte era by defeating Inter Milan in the Derby d’Italia, courtesy of goals from strikers Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella.


Andrea Stramaccioni lined his side up in a 3-4-1-2 with Rodrigo Palacio and Antonio Cassano upfront. Ricky Alvarez played behind the strikers, while Javier Zanetti and Alvaro Pereira operated as wingbacks. Walter Gargano and Mateo Kovakic played in the midfield.  Walter Samuel made his return to the starting lineup, while Yuto Nagatomo, Esteban Cambiasso and Fredy Guarin started on the bench.

There wasn’t much of a surprise in Conte’s team selection, as set his side out in their traditional 3-5-2. Quagliarella and Matri started upfront, as Mirko Vucinic was unavailable due to flu symptoms. Kwadwo Asamoah and Simone Padoin played as wingbacks, with Stephan Lichsteiner being rested for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final clash against Bayern Munich. Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal formed a midfield three.

As we’ve seen many times this season, Inter Milan put in a sub par first half performance, but half-time changes allowed Stramaccioni’s side to get back into the match. Poor defending was the catalyst to Inter’s downfall, and on the day the better side in Juventus picked up a deserved three points.


Quagliarella’s early wonder goal set the tone of this match, more so Juventus’ approach. Conte’s men were content with sitting back and allowing Inter Milan to attack them. Inter was able to get into the final third, but they lacked a final ball, and ultimately, a goal poacher to bury their chances.

The Old Lady eventually asserted their dominance on the game. Efficient pressing, along with intelligent midfielders finding spaces to receive the ball allowed, Juventus to provide more going forward when they had the ball.


Both sides pressed in different manners throughout the game, but there was a constant pattern that allowed Juventus, solely in the first half to dominate. Both sides played with three at the back and two strikers.

Juventus handled this situation in a tidy manner compared to Inter, as Quagliarella and Matri pressed Andrea Ranocchia and Walter Samuel, leaving Cristian Chivu as the spare defender. Vidal joined the front two and applied pressure on Chivu, which forced the Inter defenders to often lob the ball back to Juventus or concede possession in their own third.

Cassano and Palacio also pressed the Juventus back three, but Alvarez didn’t join in and press the third Juventus defender, nor did any other Inter player. This caused an open outlet for an available Juventus defender, most often Barzagli to push forward and play balls to the strikers or Pirlo. Juventus was free to start plays from the back; meanwhile, Inter struggled to move into the Juventus third as a unit.

Midway through the first half Kovacic, who was often closed down by Vidal, dropped deeper to provide an outlet for the defenders. Conte’s men were content with Kovacic picking up the ball in deep areas, due to Juventus’ cautious approach to the game.

MVP dominate midfield

In Marchisio, Vidal and Pirlo, you have three of the finest midfielders in world football, and they displayed why in the first half.

With Inter having three men in the central area the midfield battles across the pitch were set. Gargano-Marchisio, Kovacic-Vidal and Alvarez-Pirlo all competed in the midfield zone, and MVP came out on top.

Alvarez often left Pirlo free, and although he sporadically got goal-side of Pirlo, he allowed the Italian maestro to spread forward and diagonal balls across the pitch easily. Pirlo was free to get forward and this also created a numerical advantage in the midfield. Gargano was unable to deal with Marchisio’s movement, and Juventus always had a spare man in midfield to receive the ball. Kovacic was quiet in the first half as Vidal kept tabs on the Croatian youngster.

Juventus was the better side in the first half and it was relatively down to their midfielders being allowed time on the ball and their ability to find space in the midfield.


Alvarez started behind the two strikers and was unable to make a significant impact in the match.

Alvarez’ role on the field was unknown; he was doing a poor job in picking up Pirlo, which allowed Juventus to dictate the midfield. He often drifted out wide when Inter had the ball, as he is a natural wide player, but even then he failed to run at defenders or create overloads with Zanetti.

There was no link between the midfield and the strikers in the first half, and it forced Cassano and Palacio to drop deeper to pick up the ball. It was a difficult night for the Argentinian winger and it was no surprise that he only lasted 45 minutes on the field.

Second half substitutions

As he did in the meeting earlier this season, Fredy Guarin made an impact coming off the bench. For a short period he picked up Pirlo, but he also balanced the numbers in the midfield when Juventus had the ball.

Guarin shortly moved out wide to help Inter press the Juventus defence, but his presence benefitted Kovacic. Kovacic was now provided cover and the Croatian midfielder made surging runs through the midfield, which led to Palacio’s goal, courtesy of a Pirlo giveaway.

With Inter becoming a 4-3-3 and the threat of Guarin getting behind Asamoah, Conte brought on Peluso, who is more of a defensive minded wingback. Stramaccioni decided to bring on Esteban Cambiasso, and this allowed Kovacic to grow into the game. He continued to excel in a deeper position as he did midweek against Serbia..

With Inter Milan pushing for a winner, Conte was content with the result so he brought on Paul Pogba, and his side became a 5-3-1-1. The wingbacks moved forward with caution and Conte had four midfielders (Marchisio advanced) to slow down the tempo of the game and retain possession.

Rocchi and Giovinco were the final changes in the match, which saw Inter playing with four strikers, while Conte opted for Giovinco. They were both predictable final changes but neither had an influence on the match.


For all the talk of Juventus needing a world-class striker, Quagliarella and Matri surely made a claim for why that’s not needed in Serie A. The two strikers were lively throughout their time on the pitch.

They caused the Inter back three all sorts of problems offensively, as well as defensively with their pressing. Quagliarella and Matri dropped deep to hold up play for the midfielders to join the attack, as well as make runs in behind them. Not to mention they were involved in both Inter Milan goals. Juventus face a Bayern Munich side full of confidence, but the problem they face might be based on which striker starts at the Allianz Arena Tuesday night.

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 1.54.09 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 1.53.56 PM


Juventus was superior in the first half, and while Stramaccioni’s substitutions changed the game, poor defending cost the Nerazzuri three points. The difference in front of goal in the encounter earlier this season was Diego Milito, and his goal poaching abilities were missed.

Defensive issues along with injuries have haunted Inter Milan all season and their league position shows that. With Champion’s League qualification hopes diminishing before their eyes, it’s possible that Stamaccioni’s men might also miss out on the Europa League as well.

It was another impressive victory for Conte’s men as they’re set to claim their second consecutive Scudetto. With all eyes on European success, it’ll be interesting to see how the Bianconeri approach their first leg encounter with Bayern Munich.

Three Stars

1.    Fabio Quagliarella

2.    Andrea Pirlo

3.    Claudio Marchisio

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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Match Recaps


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Inter Milan 1-1 AC Milan

Match in a sentence

AC Milan fail to increase the gap between themselves and city rivals Inter Milan, as Andrea Stramaccioni’s half time changes earned his side a valuable point in the Derby della Madonnina.


  • Stramaccioni fielded his side in a 4-4-2 with Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio leading the line. Fredy Guarin and Ricky Alvarez played on the flanks, while Esteban Cambiasso and Walter Gargano marshaled the midfield.
  • Fresh off their historic 2-0 win against Barcelona, Massimiliano Allegri opted to go with a 4-3-3. Mario Balotelli led the line with Stephane El Shaarawy and Kevin-Prince Boateng on the flanks. Allegri’s midfield three consisted of Riccardo Montolivo, Sulley Muntari and Antonio Nocerino.
  • Inter was looking to bounce back from a 4-1 drubbing by Fiorentina last week, but unfortunately for Stramaccioni’s men, the onslaught on Inter continued. Milan mirrored Fiorentina’s approach in attacking Inter by targeting Inter’s right hand side. El Shaarawy’s movement and diagonal runs dragged Yuto Nagatomo central, literally making him a third centreback. This was key because it allowed Montolivo and Muntari to play balls to the advancing Mattia De Sciglio. De Sciglio provided width to Milan’s play and created several chances, because Guarin was unable to track his runs.
  • Another narrative in the half was the space in between the lines. Inter’s midfield two in Cambiasso and Gargano were forced to pressure Milan’s midfield three, and with Inter’s backline failing to get forward, that left space for players like Balotelli to drop into. Inter was vulnerable to overloads not only on the left hand side, but also in the midfield. Boateng would occasionally drift into the midfield and in between the lines, which allowed Milan to take control of the game.
  • The space available in between the lines was key to Milan’s opening goal. Cristian Zapata dispossessed Cassano, and Boateng was able to pick up the ball in between the lines. Boateng then played in El Shaarawy, who precisely slotted his shot past a superb Handanovic.
  • Milan frankly should’ve been a few goals up, because they were by far the superior side. Unfortunately, the Rossonieri ran into a hot goalkeeper by the name of Samir Handanovic. Handanovic made three fantastic saves on Balotelli, to deny Milan the opportunity to increase their lead.
  • It was a disappointing half from Inter, and Stramaccioni’s only change was to go back to his initial setup, which meant Javier Zanetti and Nagatomo swapped flanks. The change nullified Milan’s main threat in the first half, which was De Sciglio’s width. It also allowed Nagatomo to get forward, and provide width.
  • In the 68th minute, Stramaccioni brought on Ezequiel Schelotto to play out wide and he pushed Guarin into the midfield. Three minutes later Stamaccioni was rewarded as Schelotto met Nagatomo’s cross, and Christian Abbiati could only watch it soar into the net. Prior to the goal Inter looked threatening as Guarin was drifting centrally, linking up with Cassano. Milan despite controlling possession was flat in the second half, as fatigue began to kick in.
  • Inter dropped into a 4-1-4-1 pushing Palacio out wide and introducing Zdravko Kuzmanovic to sit deep. Stramaccioni’s side attacked with caution as Milan continued to dictate the game in terms of possession. Both sides had chances to claim a winner late on, but were unsuccessful.
  • It was a game of two halves that saw Milan dominate a first half, where they frankly should’ve been up by a few goals. Stramaccioni’s side came out aggressive and motivated in the second half, and the Italian gaffer’s changes paid off to earn his side a valuable point. Handanovic’s saves proved to be vital, but Milan wasn’t clinical in front of goal and that gave Inter a lifeline.
  • Both sides seemed fatigued after midweek fixtures in Europe, but out of the two sides, Inter should be worried. The race for a Champions League spot might go down to the wire this season as the gap between 3rd-8th place is five points. Failure to stay consistent during this final stretch of the season will be crucial if these sides intend on playing in Europe’s elite competition next year.

Three Stars

1.    Samir Handanovic

2.    Stephane El Shaarawy

3.    Riccardo Montolivo

Honourable mention to Mattia De Sciglio

Tyrrell Meertins

Follow @TEEWHYox

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Posted by on February 24, 2013 in Match Recaps


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Fiorentina 4-1 Inter Milan

Match in a sentence

Stevan Jovetic and Adem Ljajic both shared two goals each, as Fiorentina blitzed Inter Milan at the Stadio Artemio Franchi and joined the race for the final Champions League spot.


  • Andrea Stramaccioni fielded his side in a 4-3-1-2 with Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio leading the line. Fredy Guarin played behind the strikers and Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Mateo Kovacic and Esteban Cambiasso played in midfield.
  • Vincenzo Montella opted to play in a 4-3-3 with Stevan Jovetic, Adem Ljajic and Juan Cuadrado as the front three. The midfield consisted of Alberto Aquilani, David Pizarro and Borja Valero.
  • This match was everything we expected it not to be; frankly it was men against boys from start to finish. Fiorentina took the game to Inter from the start, and they looked dangerous sending balls over the Inter Milan defence for Llajic and Jovetic to run onto.  Jovetic and Ljajic drifted to the left as it looked like they targeted Javier Zanetti, but they caused havoc all over the final third.
  • Inter sat deep in two banks of four, inviting the Fiorentina pressure, and looked to break on the counter. Coincidentally, whenever Inter got into Fiorentina’s half, Fiorentina mirrored Inter’s defensive approach. The difference was Fiorentina defended better than Inter for 90 minutes and the way both sides broke on the counter.
  • Inter lacked cohesion going forward and was unable to break as a unit.  The space between Guarin and the midfield three was too big (due to how deep they sat), and Guarin was unable to link up with Palacio or Cassano.
  • Fiorentina on the other hand broke quick in numbers whenever they won possession and always looked a threat going forward. The other difference was that when they lost possession, they were able to get numerous bodies back into position quickly. Inter left Palacio and Cassano high as it would create 2v2 or 2v3 chances on the break, but Montella’s men were aware of that and with help from Inter being unable to break quickly Palacio and Cassano had a quiet afternoon.
  • Fiorentina controlled possession throughout the game and it took only 13 minutes for the Viola to take the lead. Inter’s backline was unable to deal with a cross that Jovetic flicked on for the unmarked Ljajic, who headed the ball past Samir Handanovic.
  • Another key factor that separated these sides was how both sides pressed one another. Fiorentina pressed the Inter backline and midfield when they picked up the ball in their third of the pitch, whereas Inter decided to apply no pressure to Fiorentina in their third. Fiorentina’s pressure led to Jovetic’s fabulous second goal. Inter tried to play from the back and Aquilani ‘s pressure forced Inter to concede possession to Jovetic, and the Montenegrin striker rifled his shot past Handanovic.

  • Inter Milan chose not to press the Fiorentina players in their half of the field and it allowed Pizarro to dominate the game. The Chilean midfielder was able to drop deep and pick up the ball with no pressure applied, and he was allowed to string passes around the pitch at will. Pizarro conducted the game during his 69 minutes on the pitch, dominating the midfield area. Inter’s midfield was anonymous and the minimal times they had possession in Fiorentina’s half they moved the ball too slow and were unable to create any openings.
  • Inter was fortunate to be down two goals at the half as Handanovic made several vital saves, keeping the Nerazzuri in the match. Stramaccioni made a tactical change in the second half by bringing on Ricky Alvarez for Kovacic. Alvarez moved to the right flank and Guarin dropped to the midfield, as Inter became a 4-3-3.
  • The same narrative occurred in the second half as Fiorentina continued to push forward, but they defended with caution dropping Ljajic deeper when they didn’t have the ball, becoming a 4-5-1.  The second half also highlighted how fragile Juan Jesus and Andrea Ranocchia are as defenders.
  • Jovetic and Ljajic added to their tally in the opening 20 minutes of the second half and both goals were down to defensive errors. Inter were unable to clear their lines and an unmarked Jovetic was played in alone with Handanovic courtesy of a wonderful back heel pass from Aquilani. Jovetic calmly slotted his shot past the Inter goalkeeper to make it 3-0. Then Ljajic curled in a shot from outside the box, in which Ranocchia should’ve closed down the Serbian, but he allowed the Ljajic all the time in the world.
Aquilani's backheel pass to Jovetic GIF. Click it!

Aquilani’s backheel pass to Jovetic GIF. Click it!

  • Cassano scored a great goal towards the end of the game as a consolation, but that was arguably Inter’s worst game of the season. They were flat from the start, the midfield three lacked creativity and their defending as a team and individually was lethargic. With the loss, Inter are now in severe danger of going another season without Champions League football. After starting the season with 10 away wins in all competitions, the Nerazzuri are winless in their last nine. Inter will need a far better performance next Sunday as Stramaccioni’s men will need a result to stay in the hunt for third place, when they take on cross town rivals AC Milan.

  • It was a dominant performance tonight from the Viola and if there was any type of result needed to boost the teams confidence, then it was this one. They outclassed Inter for 90 minutes and now sit two points away from third, playing a game more than Lazio. Fiorentina showed tonight that they’re capable of contending for European football, and if they can build on this result, the thought of it wouldn’t be too farfetched.

Three Stars

1.    David Pizarro

2.    Stevan Jovetic

3.    Adem Ljajic

Tyrrell Meertins

Follow @TEEWHYox

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Posted by on February 17, 2013 in Match Recaps


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De Sanctis error = Juventus’ Scudetto to lose?

It was never going to be easy, but Walter Mazzari’s Napoli side were favourites to defeat Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi this morning.

I mean, Fiorentina have failed to win a game in 2013 and Napoli had a chance to stay three points behind Juventus.

Thursday afternoon Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava had their match bans lifted and Napoli’s two point deduction was rescinded upon appeal. The tide looked like it was about to turn, and Napoli were once again back in the race for the Scudetto.

Unfortunately, they were held 1-1 on a day that Edinson Cavani scored his 100th Serie A goal to earn a valuable point.

Prior to that, goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis made this error

Napoli, as did Lazio, dropped points this weekend and Juventus once again have been allowed to build a gap in the title race.

Consistency is something Napoli, Lazio and Inter Milan lack, and at this point, it’s Juventus’ title to lose.

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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Videos


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Napoli 4 – 1 Roma

Match in a sentence

An Edinson Cavani hat-trick sunk Roma 4-1 in the Derby del Sole and has reignited Napoli’s surge in the race for the Scudetto.


  • Zeman’s side started the game in a 4-3-3 with an attacking trio of Francesco Totti, Erik Lamela, and Mattia Destro.  Roma’s midfield consisted of Miralem Pjanic, Michael Bradley and Daniele De Rossi.
  • Walter Mazzari went with his traditional 3-5-2 with Edinson Cavani and Goran Pandev upfront.  Christian Maggio and Zuniga were the wingbacks with Marek Hamsik ahead of Valon Behrami and Gokhan Inler.
  • Napoli started this game in fine fashion as it took them four minutes to take the lead courtesy of a delicious ball from Pandev to Cavani. The Uruguayan striker made no mistake as he slotted the ball past Mauro Goicoechaea

  • Pandev was Napoli’s danger man in the first half as he received the ball in between the lines on numerous occasions. He then would drive at the shaky Roma backline, but only the Cavani opener would result from Pandev’s work.
  • Roma enjoyed majority of the possession but did little with it. With Lamela and Destro switching sides looking to cut in, Roma’s shape was too narrow and it stifled several of their attacks when they got into the final third. They looked better when Federico Balzaretti got forward to provide some width, but they lacked the extra bit of quality. They could use width on both sides, but with Cavani drifting to the left, Ivan Piris has been unable to get forward.
  • Napoli started the second half as they did the first with another Cavani goal. Hamsik held up the play and Zuniga overlapped and cutback a ball into the box that fell to Cavani and the Uruguayan made no mistake.

  • Mazzari’s men were organized and they defended as a unit, and Roma simply failed to produce any magic in the final third. They moved the ball too slow, there was minimal movement off the ball and the front three of Lamela, Totti and Destro struggled to get in behind the Napoli back line.
  • As the game went on, Roma was forced to throw players forward, and finally Piris started  to push higher up the field. Piris as well as Balzaretti’s presence higher up the pitch was non-existent and as expected it was a useful outlet for Napoli to launch their counter-attacks.
  • Cavani added to his tally later on with an unmarked header from a corner kick that put the game out of reach for the Giallorossi.  Pablo Osvaldo brought the game to life minutes later when Pjanic provided a glorious ball that Osvaldo slipped past Morgan De Sanctis.

  • Zeman was tactically naïve tonight, and despite Roma having a few chances to pounce on, they weren’t good enough on the night. Napoli allowed them to have the ball, knowing they had the quality in breaking down that Roma defence. Napoli also believed that Roma couldn’t break them down. They lacked natural width going forward, the midfield were unable to provide quality service to the front men, who were also average today. Zeman’s 4-3-3 was nullified and without a plan B, he simply watched Napoli comfortably defeat his side.
  • Unfortunately for Roma, things went got worse when Pjanic was sent off moments after the goal when he received his second yellow card of the night. Christian Maggio added the fourth in stoppage time to secure the three points for Napoli.
  • The win sees Napoli climb to third in the Serie A table, in what looks destined to be a dog fight for not only the Scudetto, but Champions League spots. The difference in this match was Cavani, because unlike Lamela, Totti and Destro, Cavani was ruthless in front of goal. Today he displayed to the world why he is the best striker on the planet.

Three Stars

1. Edinson Cavani

2. Goran Pandev

3. Gokhan Inler 

Tyrrell Meertins

Follow @TEEWHYox

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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Match Recaps


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