Ben Boucher continues to deliver editorials for SempreInter.com. Here is his latest:
According to the Oxford Dictionaries a project is defined as the following “an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim”. When Massimo Moratti talked about Inter in July last year he had the following to say “everything is a restart with clear ideas that will put us in a position to do well. Yes, it is a year zero”. Many fans (including myself) bought into the idea of Inter finally revitalising a squad while focussing on youth to replace the now ageing treble side. Moratti went further “We are building a team that will have credibility, durability and strength. And one that will bring us back to winning ways”. The Inter president talked about “retaking Italy and Europe” and “Never losing sight of our goals”.
At this point I should probably point out that I’m a huge Moratti supporter, I don’t believe anything he undertakes is for any reason other than the benefit and well-being of the club. However as we approach crucial fixtures which will determine the success or failure of this season the ‘project’ Inter have embarked upon seems to be teetering on the brink of disaster. If one were to look at the positives Andrea Stramaccioni has overseen progress into the last 32 of the Europa League, a possible place in the Coppa Italia final and a points total which is 7 better than at this stage last season. So why do I have the feeling of impending doom?
A look through the numbers reveals part of the reason why Inter’s season feels like a step backwards rather than the progression that we had all hoped for.
41 is the magic number – Not only has Stramaccioni had to use 41 players so far this season but 41 is also the total number of fixtures played by Inter across all competitions. A season that started on the 2nd August finally appears to be taking its toll on many of the first team squad, with performances and energy levels taking a nose dive.
27 – This is the total number of games Juventus had played at this stage just one year ago. Inter’s plan to fight on three fronts may cost them the ultimate prize, a place in next year’s Champions League.
24 – Not the TV show but the number of occasions Stramaccioni has changed his starting line-up in Serie A. Some of the changes down to bad luck, some due to injuries and questionable suspensions but what’s clear is that the young tactician has rarely been able to settle on his best eleven.
12 – The number of different formations Stramaccioni has experimented with throughout this season. It is of little wonder that Inter have struggled to find an identity and pattern of play when the basic system they use changes with such frequency. Rehearsed movements and combinations are extremely difficult to develop with the team in a constant state of flux.
So this brings us back to where we started. With additions such as Handanovic, Guarin, Kovacic, Juan Jesus, Cassano and Palacio, Moratti’s words resonate strongly. A team that is built for both the present and future. That notion however is quickly dissipated by chaotic episodes involving Sneijder, Coutinho, Rocchi and most disturbingly John Carew. To me this project is completely schizophrenic, at one moment the plan appears to be clear with the development of Benassi, Livaja and Obi running alongside an ambition to win and compete with a strong developing core. Then in the blink of an eye Livaja has been loaned and a last minute scramble occurs in the mercato. Nothing can sum this season up any better than the signing of Ezequiel Schelotto, a player bought to fill the void at right wing back. No sooner had he arrived than Strammacioni dispatched with the back three and another process of changing tactics began. Chaos or project, you decide………