After the surprising home defeat last Saturday at the hands of Udinese, Sassuolo away seemed like a great opportunity to get straight back on track since they had only won once at home in the league all season and were in the bottom half, struggling. Yet again, Spalletti played the 4-2-3-1 with the only changes being Santon for Cancelo with D’ambrosio moving over to LB and Vecino out for Gagliaridini.
The Neroverdi’s new boss Giuseppe Iachini went for a standard 4-3-3 which has been successful in his reign so far with Sassuolo picking up 2 wins from 3 games in Serie A. It was a completely changed line-up from the midweek defeat at the hands of Atalanta in the Coppa Italia with only Acerbi retaining his place.
The game started off slowly with Inter keeping possession like the majority of the time as Sassuolo tried to counter whenever they had the chance. The first real chance was created by some nice movement from both Cancelo and Icardi after a quick breakaway. The ball ended up out wide with Candreva after he arguably picked the wrong option on the counter however with him isolated one-on-one with Peluso, he indicated for João to overlap which he did dragging Peluso away and then Icardi attracted Acerbi with him by moving away from the same area so both runs led to Antonio being able to cut inside and have a shot.
One of the players brought into the side, Cancelo, was being utilised as much as possible by Spalletti with him and Candreva operating the right flank. He would either overlap or push high up with Antonio in order to win possession back as quick as possible and to pin the home team back. Maybe Luciano should’ve done the same down the left side with Dalbert since then both fullbacks would have blistering pace to recover if need be. Something D’ambrosio doesn’t have limiting him when attacking.
A prime example of Cancelo being utilised was in the 17th minute after a great attack by the Nerazzurri which came so close to opening the scoring. It all started down the left side to drag players over creating space on the far side and Sassuolo packed out the middle allowing Inter to play it out wide however João made the most of it as he positioned himself perfectly to receive a pass, pick his head up to find an option and attack; his cross was almost inch perfect, a let off for Iachini’s men.
In the 33rd minute, the home side opened the scoring on a counter attack due to Inter over committing and individual errors. It starts deep into their half as they had 10 men behind the ball and 8 of our 10 outfield players were also in their half. But that isn’t really the issue, the issue was the fact that their right winger was allowed to dribble from his own box to our box without being touched. He then delivered a sweet cross for the oncoming Falcinelli to nod home. Stupidly poor, stuff you would expect from school boys, not a team trying to compete at the top of the Serie A! Even when Politano arrives near the box, Brozovic manages to keep up and Miranda closes down the space yet neither made any real attempt to block the cross and not only that, Skriniar is unaware that two Sassuolo players are charging into the box behind him leaving Cancelo outnumbered. Similarly to Udinese’s third goal last weekend. Just a catalogue of individual errors from many of the usually reliable, solid people in the team.
At the interval, Spalletti took off Brozovic for Eder to offer more of an attacking threat when going forward and also an extra body in the box for the constant crosses. A positive since last week it was debatable whether or not the changes were made soon enough.
Inter came firing out of the blocks putting immense pressure onto Sassuolo on either side and in the 48th minute, a penalty was won for a handball from a Cancelo cross after he under-lapped Candreva using his pace to break through without anyone getting near him, another great play by our RB. Most certainly Inter’s best player at this point.
A rare counter for Inter saw a 3v3 and a huge chance to equalise and it started brilliantly. Eder spread the ball out to Candreva who beat his man but instead of looking up to see that Ivan was wide open with a clear shot at goal as Icardi dragged two players away with his movement, he instead goes solo and allows Consigli to make a simple stop. A top draw player has the awareness to look up in this situation and it was individual errors like this that cost Inter this game.
Further changes were made with Dalbert and João Mário coming on for D’ambrosio and Miranda respectively as the men in white pushed and pushed however yet again in recent times, they were just unable to create or finish well enough.
Inter remained a regular threat, attempting 55 crosses with Candreva taking 26 of those showing that the left side and more importantly Perisic maybe wasn’t used enough. A record for crosses attempted in the league this season, however only completing 7. Doesn’t look good on paper but a lot of those crosses were troubling for Sassuolo (especially Cancelo’s) and caused constant pressure. Although, as many people have mentioned, Spalletti does need a plan B for when things are going wrong.
In a game where certain players would need to step up in order to bounce back from the home defeat last week, they simply didn’t do it. The standout, reliable, so-called leaders went missing. A clear indication from today’s game was that Luciano simply doesn’t trust the fringe players to make an impact so he instead opts for the usual bunch and same formation however that usually leads to opposition teams working out how to stop you more easily and obviously those players get fatigued quicker which seems to be the case now.
In all honesty, unlike Massimo Oddo’s Udinese side last week who came to the San Siro with a clear game plan which nullified Inter’s attack and punished the defence, Sassuolo were no where near as tight defensively and didn’t cause much of a threat going forward. Instead it was star man Mauro Icardi who had an awful day at the office and on any other day, and I do mean any other day he would have buried at least one of the chances in the first half and of course the penalty which more than likely would’ve seen us win. Even still, moves need to be made in January and if we can land Pastore, there should be a more creative spark to the side but onto the derby on Wednesday! Come on Inter!