Terzo Tempo: The Return Of The Kings
Today Inter played Sampdoria away form home in what was probably one of the most heart filled performances this season. It can’t be certain exactly who said what in the locker room but today this team seemed to have come out and play for each other. For a couple of months, Inter looked like eleven individual players looking to perform individually but for the first time since the winning streak at the beginning of the year Inter have looked like a team who plays for each other and leaves everything on the field. Inter manager Luciano Spalletti did a fantastic job lining up his eleven especially with the discovery of the new defensive midfield paring.
Last week against Napoli, Spalletti introduced a brand new defensive midfielder pairing of Roberto Gagliardini and Marcelo Brozovic who seemed to be able to perform incredibly well against one of the best teams in all of Europe. Today, against a slightly more fragile team, that defensive duo was so incredibly dominant. The paring works very well for many reasons, the first reason is because both players communicate incredibly well together. What makes this defensive pairing so lethal is that Brozovic is able to play higher up the pitch so he knows how to bring that extra threat to the opposition and that extra threatening body seems to make other teams uncomfortable. Which means when Brozovic carries the ball to add that little creative push he’s capable of, Gagliardini knows that he has to shift central ever so slightly to cover his partner.
Both players work so well together because they can both get into tackles very well, they’re both big strong bodies and they both seem to know how and when to step up at the right moment. Brozovic has been in and out all season, performing inconsistently and Gagliardini has been a ghost for a while but it looks like this new found partnership has given both these players the opportunity to reincarnate themseleves and they look back is if they’re better than ever.
Lastly who can forget the long awaited performances from a number of Inter attackers. What’s important to note about the game is that Ivan Perisic is growing back into his own skin, he scored a goal that he’s been working hard for, he’s taking on men with his step overs and he seems to be feeling be feeling better about himself, it may be to soon to tell but Perisic is back.
Of course, no one can forget about Mauro Icardi’s incredible performance. Icardi is so incredibly lethal in the box because of his movement off the ball. The way he peels away from defenders leaves him around two seconds of complete loneliness before the defenders notice he’s gone and when Icardi has the confidence like he had today paired with his great form, hunger and desire, he’s nearly unstoppable in the 18 yard box with the time he creates for himself.