Terzo Tempo – A Season Changer?

Terzo Tempo – A Season Changer?
December 27, 2018 10:30
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Inter played Napoli at home in what was actually an incredibly entertaining match. Spalletti opted to play in a 4-3-3 which consisted of, D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Skriniar, and Asamoah. In the midfield was Brozovic, Joao Mario and Borja Valero. The front three was Perisic on the left, Politano on the right and Icardi in the middle.

What was so important about this game was that there was so much going against off the field. With Inter’s December curse and everything going on with Radja it was detrimental to show that Inter is still very much alive and kicking and that they should be taken seriously and not as a joke.

The backline was probably the safest it has looked in a very long time and what was probably the most notable thing that many Inter fans may fail to realize is how incredibly safe D’Ambrosio is as an individual. Often the world praises De Vrij Skriniar and Asamoah on his good games but while D’Ambrosio does just as much to solidify the backline and help hold on to leads especially in big games.

What the world saw a lot of was that the wing backs pressed very high which saw a spread in the centerbacks which led to Brozovic or Valero almost dropping into the two which essentially made it a back three. The goal of this was to outnumber Napoli’s very unorthodox back three/four which was incredibly well anchored down by Koulibaly for the most part of the game.

The team executed the Spalletti press excellently especially considering the physicality of this Napoli side. As the world has seen so many times, the outside players press the opposing wing backs forcing them back to the goalie who naturally cleans up all the downfield.  Once it’s sent down field it’s up to the centerbacks and the deepest midfielder to settle the clearance and recreate a play. Once Milik was removed, this press became even more effective because Napoli had no other option to contest the clearances. 

Spalletti’s Borja Valero sub for Vecino was probably the most crucial in this game considering once Koulibaly was sent off, he knew that the box needed to be attacked and who better to do that than Vecino. This along with El Toro for Joao Mario symbolized a type of “all in” scenario which payed off.

 

In conclusion, this game could have been the drastic turning point to Inter’s season which sees them cut the deficit between them and Napoli while also expanding the space between them and the heavily fought for fourth place. Hopefully Inter can use this result in a positive way and prove to the world how much of a season changer this game truly was. 

Andrew Di Franco
By Andrew Di Franco