Inter started off with Spalletti’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation remaining unchanged once again for the 4th match in a row. This approach yielded Inter most of the control in possession due to them having the extra man in midfield where Valero often dropped back to form a 3 man midfield and try to exploit the space left by Verona’s 4-4-2.
Verona started off with a 4-4-2 with two inverted wingers cutting inside and leaving space for the fullbacks to come bombing forwards(mostly Romulo), this strategy worked very well for most of the game with Verona pinning Inter back and keeping spells of sustained pressure.
Inter started the first half being very compact, they kept a very solid shape and limited the half spaces Verona could operate in. This was due to a mixture of Verona’s attacking intent and Spalletti’s instructions. When they got the ball they were very unimaginative aiming to keep sterile possession by passing the ball backwards and forwards which Verona exploited with their occasional high press. Hellas were also very compact of the ball although occasionally led by the two strikers they attempted to press high up the pitch and force Inter into mistakes. This resulted in a very dour and defensive first 20 minutes.
Most of Verona’s dangerous attacks came from the right wing with the combo of Verde and the experienced Romulo working together perfectly to cause Inter many problems while exploiting the space highlighted above. Verde a left footed player playing on the right cut inside with the ball leaving Romulo to overlap and exploit the space in behind Nagatomo because Perisic struggled to track back. Most of Verona’s attacks came from the right wing due to Romulo’s attacking prowess.
Spalletti managed to smartly neutralize this danger by pulling Gagliardini wide and asking Valero to cover for him when Verona had the ball. This limited the space Romulo had to use.
The team were very quick to transition from the defensive phase to the attacking phase with the players pushing high up the pitch and the centre backs pushing forward to pin the strikers back. This was done to prevent Icardi from being isolated up top and to utilize Verona’s lack of cover in midfield.
Valero benefited from being the extra man in midfield which is illustrated by his goal above. He was given license to roam and gwet further forward which resulted in his goal where Icardi drew the two defenders towards him and Valero got in behind them in the free space with the midfielders struggling to cover.
In the second half Inter played more of a 4-3-3 aiming to preserve their lead and keep the ball. Vecino and Gagliardini were deployed as two anchor-men in front of the defence and Valero dropping deeper to gain a numerical advantage in the midfield. The wingers also got narrower to use the space in the midfield and keep the ball easily. The full backs did not get forward as much as they would have liked as Verona’s wingers were keeping very wide.
Verona tried a very interesting tactic at the start of the second half which worked very well and managed to limit Inter’s attacking threat in the second half. When the defenders had the ball they switched to a 4 2 4 and they tried going with a man oriented press with every Verona player pressuring a specific Inter player. The two strikers led the press against the centre backs while the two wingers pressured their respective full back.
This approach worked as Verona manage to score due to their high press. They forced Danilo into a mistake and Handanovic could not clean it up. The Inter players where far too confident and that cost them.
This was far from thee most impressive game this season tactically or technically but in the end Inter got what mattered the most and that was the 3 points to keep our amazing run going. The players started to look tired though and the lack of rotation from Spalletti is worrying. Once again Spalletti showed his tactical prowess by making a few tactical tweaks which changed the game and neutralized the opposition at their most dangerous. A good win.