A 3 star Inter gave a faultless performance at the San Siro when Gasperini’s Genoa was easily brushed aside in a match where two of the most criticized Inter-players of recent years gave their best performances since joining the club and led the way to 3 well needed points.
According to myth, Liverpool’s legendary manager Bill Shankly put up the sign with those now famous words at Anfield just under the tunnel which leads to the pitch after he once heard an opposition player asking a team-mate “who are we playing?”. I doubt that Roberto Mancini nailed up a sign stating “We are Inter” in the internal catacombs of San Siro, however his Inter gave a performance which oozed of pride, passion but most of all intelligence, 3 ingredients Inter haven’t been able to include in their performance simultaneously since that famous win away at the Juventus Stadium under Andrea Stramaccioni.
Today Inter showed that San Siro is a place that all teams that visit should fear as everyone from Vidic and Andreolli all the way up to Rodrigo Palacio and Mauro Icardi chased the life out of the Genoa players as they piled on the pressure as a unit when loosing the ball whilst helping each other by faultless movement and positioning when retaining possession. Roberto Mancini hasn’t exactly been lining up victories since he took over but irrespective of the results he’s instilled discipline, tactical intelligence, pride and passion and today it all came together against a team that’s been fighting for that coveted 3rd spot all season. In fact the first 45 minutes were the best football Inter has produced in a very long time as the South American duo of Gary Medel and Fredy Guarin completely dominated the midfield through aggressivity and high pressure whilst constantly moving into the right positions and producing some excellent passing and crosses.
Fredy Guarin has had anything but a good stint at Inter, his inconsistency during matches has driven the Nerazzurri supporters up the walls myself included but today he gave a masterclass. The player which I’ve nicknamed Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde due to his inconsistent performances, was all Dr. Jekyll today in his deeper role in midfield, a role which is very reminiscent of the one he had at Porto where he was so good it prompted Inter to sign him. However, it’s too soon to say that he’s been cured of the mediocrity which has plagued both him and Inter but if he could string together more performances like today then Roberto Mancini will have some delightful problems when trying to decide who to play in the centre of the pitch.
Up front Mauro Icardi showed that he is an assassin in the penalty area and it’s a remarcable fact that he’s already scored 10 goals this season in the Serie A despite receiving absolutely no service from his team-mates, who knows how many he can score now in this environment. These sentiments were expressed by the Argentine striker himself as he stated after the match that he’s aiming to score another 10 goals in the upcoming half of the season. Before the season I predicted that Mauro Icardi would become the Serie A’s top goalscorer with 25 goals, something I’ve taken a lot of heat for, but I haven’t backed down from my prediciton and today’s performance only backs my claim even further when you take into account the fact that neither new Swiss signing Xherdan Shaqiri nor Mateo Kovacic were on the pitch today.
Meanwhile in defense, Nemanja Vidic demonstrated why he once was considered to be the best central defender in the world as he together with Fredy Guarin were the best players on the pitch. Next to him former Inter youtplayer Marco Andreolli went from the bench to captain the team and arguably demonstrated exactly why Andrea Ranocchia has now business being the teams captain. When Juan Jesus returns the young Brazilian and Andreolli should be the prime contenders to battle over who plays next to Nemanja Vidic who rounded off his great performance by finally scoring his first goal sicne joining the Nerazzurri.
However, Inter fans will be mistaken if they let themselves get carried away based on this performance as the team’s achilles heel has been consistency. Before anyone can allow themselves to start dreaming of clinching a spot in next seasons Champions League, Inter first have to break the curse that’s been plaguing them since Walter Mazzarri took over and win 3 matches in a row. Only then can the club and it’s supporters begin to dream but meanwhile the mantra that needs to be repeated is “We are Inter and we aren’t afraid of anyone.”