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Tactical Analysis: Inter Vs AC Milan 2020/21 – Key Stats, Style of Play, Game Flaws

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Inter (1): 29‘ Lukaku

AC Milan (2): 1316‘ Zlatan Ibrahimović

Inter lost their first home derby Della Madonnina since 2010. They fell to a 2-1 defeat against AC Milan on Saturday. With this defeat, Inter are now five points behind their city rivals who are the league leaders.

Conte’s team probably played their worst 20 minutes since he took over in the beginning of the first half. They conceded two quick goals from Ibrahimović in the 13th and the 16th minutes.

Inter looked like they only arrived at the Giuseppe Meazza after the 20th minute. The team started creating chances, moving the ball around and threatening the opponent’s goal. Lukaku scored his fourth goal of the season in the 29th minute to bring Inter back to the game.

Inter created plenty of chances in the second half to tie the game; but they were very wasteful in front of goal .

Key Stats

Shots/on Target: Inter 18/6 (AC Milan 11/4)
Possession: Inter 55% (AC Milan 45%)
Total Passes/Success: Inter 446/82% (AC Milan 363/76%)

Starting Lineup and Formation

Inter started this game with the same formation as the Lazio game 3412. Conte had to make three changes to the starting lineup due to the number of positive Covid-19 cases in the squad. He had very limited options in the back, as he was forced to start Kolarov and D’Ambrosio next to de Vrij.

In the midfield, Brozovic filled in for Gagliardini next to Barella and Vidal. No change were made for the two wing backs Hakimi and Perisic. And once again Lautaro partnered Lukaku upfront.

The changes in the shape of the formation from last game was that Vidal and Brozovic played very narrow ahead of the three defenders. That change was because AC Milan is the first team that tried to press Inter  high on the filed this season.

The two midfielders faced a difficult task to find spaces ahead of the defense to work with the ball due to that high press. Also, the two wing backs and Barella had to drop deep sometimes to give their team mates passing options.

Vidal and Brozovic played narrow ahead of the three center backs allowing for passing options

Nicolo Barella played the number 10 role again ahead of Vidal and Brozovic. He was very close to the two forwards when Inter had the ball in the attacking half. He was positioned to give them the support needed when they had the ball with their back to the opponent’s goal.

Nicolo Barella played the number 10 role again ahead of Vidal and Brozovic

The two forwards tried to be close to each other and connect with the wing backs whenever they had the chance.

Conte only used two substitutions in this game. He started in the 68th minutes putting Eriksen in for Brozovic. Barella then dropped back next to Vidal while Eriksen played the number AMF role.

The second change took place in the 83rd minute with Alexis Sanchez replacing Arturo Vidal. Inter finished the game with a 343 formation as Sanchez played next to the two forwards leaving only Barella and Eriksen in the center of the field.

Style of Play

Defensive strategy

Inter adapted a slightly different style of play than the first three games of the season when the opposition was building from the back line. Conte chose to tone down his usual high press with all the  forwards and the midfielders. In this game, his instructions were clear to leave some of the midfielders in the defensive half while only pressing using the two forwards and two midfielders. That strategy was shown in the possession stats. Inter saw 55 % of the ball in this game, in contrast to the first 3 games where Inter had an average of 64% ball possession.

 

Inter with shy pressing on AC Milan defenders

On the other side of the field, Inter stayed deep in their area when AC Milan had the ball in the attacking half. The difference this game from last game was that Inter did not leave too much space for the ball holder in the key areas.

 

Inter deep but pressing the ball in Key areas

Offensive Strategy

Conte’s play from the back style did not work against the Milanese opposition. Inter were forced to player longer passes because they were pressed High most of the game. The passing success percentage was down to 82% compared to an average of 90% in the first three games of the season.

 

Inter played more from the center using the attacking midfielders and the two forwards. Lukaku and Martinez had a 107 touches this game in comparison to their 72 against Lazio. The two forwards had amazingly 13 shots between them during this game, but somehow only managed to get one goal.

 

Lukaku and Lautaro Connecting through the middle

 

Inter did not rely on the high crosses from outside the box is game . They chose only to cross on the ground from inside the area.  Perisic succeeded to execute one of the crosses to get the assist in Lukaku’s Goal. Hakimi and Perisic each had only five crosses this game while they had 23 crosses combined last game.

 

Inter first goal from a low cross by Perisic

Inter players faced a really hard task to convert their chances as they were chasing the game from 13th minute. Adding to that the exhaustion they suffered from the minute they played during the international break.

Game Flaws

Starting Kolarov D’Ambrosio in the place of the two recent positive Covid-19 cases, Bastoni and Skriniar proved to be the achilles heel in Inter tactics.

Both defenders were out of position many times during the game. AC Milan players often attacked the spaces behind both center-backs with success.

The Serbian proved once again that most Inter fans were right to be skeptical about his move from AS Rome during the summer. He was on the wrong side of the 39 years old striker on many occasions. One of them proved costly when he was late to recover and tackled Ibrahimović inside the box to concede the penalty the led to the first goal.

 

Kolarov on the wrong side of Ibrahimović 

On the opposite side of the defense, D’Ambrosio could not keep with the speed of the youngster Rafael Leao. The Portuguese was able to get past the experienced Italian with ease in many situations. He was able to make the perfect cross to Ibrahimović’s second goal in one of these times.

Moving to the transition from the offensive side to the defensive one. Inter once again were very slow to get their defensive shape correct during counter attacks. The team were outnumbered going back repeatedly when they lost the ball in Milan’s Half.

Inter outnumbered on the counter attacks

As for the offensive side of the game, despite Nicolo Barella proving to be one of the best midfielders in Italy. It was apparent again that the number 10 role doesn’t suit him. He is naturally a box-to-box midfielder. He likes to move in the center of the field rather than only being in the final third. Barella had only two touches inside the opposition’s box.

Conte had Eriksen on the bench while Stefano Sensi was suspended due to the red card in the last game. Apparently, the former Premier League player is out of favor in Conte’s plans.

Conclusion

All things considered, Inter did not have the worst game of the season. They tried relentlessly to bounce back from being 2-0 in the beginning of the game. The players showed good character and never gave up.

 

The team created enough chances to tie the game or maybe win it. However, Conte needs to find the right combination of players to start to avoid early setbacks. With Champions League arriving, the games will come one after the other quickly. Conte and his staff need to find the right rotations for these games.

 

The squad have to gather their thoughts, get together and focus on the Champions League game on Wednesday.

Forza Inter, Europe here we come!