Terzo Tempo – A Tactical Disaster
Inter played Juve at home in a very interesting game that took the Inter world on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. An Inter win would have kept them in at a point behind Roma and a potential Lazio depending on their result tomorrow. This was one of the hardest fought games of the season by Inter that saw them in the drivers seat for nearly 80 minutes regardless of the sending off of Vecino in the 15th minute. The heart of Inter was incredible and unfortunately, the fear of losing the game overcame Spalletti which caused him to try and play a “shutdown” defensive game, they quickly learned the hard why that it was the hard work of the the wingers and striker that allowed Inter to earn and maintain the lead.
Spalletti lined up his men in the usual 4-2-3-1 formation with all the players the same except for the fact that slotted into the defensive mid fielder role was Vecino. The game started off with a very nervous Inter which led to a goal in the 13th minute. To add insult to injury, Vecino was expelled which saw Inter play a man down, ordinarily, this would be an issue but today it seemed to motivate Inter to play even harder.
Once the yellow card was confirmed by VAR and switched to a red, into switched to a condensed 4-4-1 which saw Perisic and Candreva work aggressively up and down the line to support Icardi while also fulfilling their defensive roles. Icardi up top played an incredible role in directing Inter to keep the press incredibly high and force a mistake like the one on Cuadrado which led to the own goal that gave Inter the lead. Icardi’s role up top directing his team to pressure which is what was keeping the game competitive even with the man down. He was able to boost his players because after being down 1-0 and having a man sent off, there was nothing left to lose so he made sure he and his men threw everything they could’ve at Juve.
Unfortunately, the problem this game was that Spalletti made changes that he thought would secure the game and the three points. By the end of the three changes in the last 10 minutes, Spalletti’s men were shifted from a high pressing 4-4-1 to a sitting 5-4-0 which left room for all 5 of Juve’s attacking players to be able to perform a come back. What Spalletti should have done was replace his winger with an actual winger instead of Santon along with keep Icardi on the field because of how clear of a leader he was in this decisive game. This would have led to the continuous press on Juve which logically meant that they would’ve been kept in the midfield or even their own half which logically decreases their possibility of scoring. In conclusion, the fear of losing is what led Spalletti to make a poor tactical decision which in turn led to losing the game.