Tactical Analysis: F.C. Internazionale Milano 0-0 Juventus F.C.

October 20, 2015 00:25
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Date : 18/10/2015

Venue : Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Roberto Mancini lined up his team in 4-2-3-1. Miranda and Murillo played again together in the middle of the defense with Santon on their right and Juan Jesus on their left. Medel and Felipe Melo created a double pivot in front of the defense with Jovetic playing close to Icardi, resembling more a second striker than a trequartista. Icardi was always waiting on the shoulder of the last defender for a good pass in order to beat the offside trap/defense and score. Brozovic played as a right winger with Perisic on the left. Both wingers gave width on Inter’s game when on attack, with the Full backs moving both high up the field only when the ball was on Juventus’ defensive third.

On defense, Inter’s shape resembled a 4-2-3-1 when the ball was on the attacking third, with Icardi pressing the centre back with the ball and Jovetic cutting the passing lanes to Marchisio. When the ball was in their half, Inter defended in a 4-4-2 (look at the picture below).

When not initiating a pressing movement for the team to follow, Icardi and Jovetic stayed centrally, cutting passing lanes and forcing Juventus to play from the wings.

Max Allegri continued with his ever-changing during the game formation. Juventus started with a 4-3-1-2, with Barzagli playing as a right back and Evra as the left back, with Bonucci and Chiellini between them. Marchisio played as a regista in front of the defence with Cuadrado on the right side of the diamond providing the attacking width, Pogba on the left and Sami Khedira behind Zaza and Morata.

This shape became 3-5-2 after 15 minutes with Cuadrado as the right wingback and Evra at the left with Bonucci, Barzagli and Chiellini creating a 3-man defense.

When on defense Juventus’ shape started as a 4-3-1-2 on Inter’s half before becoming a flat 4-4-2 at their half.

On the above picture you can see, both the 3-5-2 that Juventus had on offense and Inter’s 4-4-2 . Inter’s wingers played in the same height of the pitch as the opponent’s wingbacks in order to provide defensive help to the nerazzurri FBs. Melo and Medel, were primarily focused on Juventus 3 central players, trying not to give them a lot of space and time on the ball and following their runs when needed. That left  the 4 defenders and primarily the two centre backs marking Morata and Zaza.

Miranda and Murillo were man-marking the Juventus’ striker that was near them, following them far from the defensive line until they were either close to the wing oriented players or the CMs/ DMs. This tactic created big spaces behind them as in the below picture. However Inter’s brilliant covering on defense and Juventus’ lack of continuous close passing combinations and intricate movements by the two forwards at the same time, did not make them pay.

Inter’s situational 3-man defense

With Zaza and Morata pressing and marking Miranda and Murillo, Juventus was destroying Inter’s chances of building-up from the back. Seeing that, Mancini ordered Davide Santon to become the third CB, creating a situational 3-man defense that gave numerical superiority (3v2) against the opponent forwards and gave the chance to the Milan team to move the ball upwards safely. In these occasions , Brozovic occupied the whole right side with Juan Jesus and Perisic on the left.

Wing players creating space

Both teams utilized one of their wing players in order to create space for their forward. For Inter, Brozovic was positioned lower on the pitch compared to Perisic and closer to his side’s FB, in order to attract Evra far from his defensive line and create space behind him for Jovetic or Icardi to run into.

For Juventus, Cuadrado was marked tight by Juan Jesus who did not want the Colombian to turn and run with his face on goal. Some clever movements by the Colombian, however created space behind the Brazilian for Zaza and Morata to take advantage of( below image).

Both teams try to force each other long

As you can see from the below pictures, both teams tried to disrupt the opponent’s short build-up play by forcing them on long balls during goal kicks.

Second half changes

Mancini was the first one to make a substitution in the game, replacing the already penalized Felipe Melo with Guarin. The Colombian played next to Medel when on defense, but instead of creating a double pivot with him on offense , he was positioned higher up the field in order to connect the the defenders / DM with the forwards better.Guarin’s freshness and quick feet were much more appropriate at that time in order to press and give less time on the ball to the opponent midfielders.

After that substitution, around the 65th minute , Juventus returned to their 4-3-1-2 on offense, but with Cuadrado this time behind the forwards moving towards the sides.

Pogba also changed his approach to the game in the final 25-30 minutes, becoming more conservative and staying back more in order to protect the defense.

Allegri changed both his strikers, with Dybala and Mandzukic, between the 71st and 78th minute, something that gave Juventus the ability to pressure the Inter defense until the end.

Mancini on the other hand made his last too changes too late for them to have an impact, probably fearing that they would have changed the way the team, that was about not to lose the game, played.

Conclusion

It was a game full of speed, passion and strength. Both coaches tried to tweak many things in their teams, but without any result.

By Thanos Chelas