Following on from the international break, we’ve seen the Nerazzuri in both domestic and continental action these past 10 days.
Over the three games, Inter have picked up two wins and a draw which have been significant for one reason or another. Here we are going to discuss five things we learned about Inter this week.
Antonio Candreva Is Reborn
Antonio Conte has made a habit of making players better throughout his managerial career, sometimes totally transforming their game to get the best of them and he is certainly starting to do that with Antonio Candreva.
Candreva was almost a laughing stock and certainly a scapegoat for Inter fans last term under Spaletti but after an intense pre-season, he seems leaner and meaner this time round.
In the week he has contributed with vital goals in the Champions League win over Dortmund in midweek and the opener in this weekend’s draw with Parma.
Since switching Candreva to a right wing-back, something he did with Victor Moses at Chelsea, Conte has solved a serious conundrum. With the signing of Valentin Lazaro in the summer and the question over Danilo D’Ambrosio as a wing-back, Conte had serious selection issues but at the moment they are being solved by an unlikely source in the form of Candreva.
Marcelo Brozovic Is Tired
As Inter continue their growth which has accelerated under Spaletti and now through Conte, one constant they have been able to rely on in the middle of the pitch is Marcelo Brozovic. The Croat has often held the side together single handedly at times and has helped dictate the tempo for both attack and defence. Brozovic covers more distance than any other player in the side, than most players in the league for that matter, so he can be forgiven for having an off day against Parma. Rumours around midfield recruits in January persist and an unknown time frame for the return of Stefano Sensi isn’t ideal, but let’s not forget that Brozovic has been so key and continues to be so in this team so he’s allowed an occasional off day.
European Hopes Remain Alive
After what was a really disappointing performance at home to Slavia Prague that ended in a draw and a valiant defeat at the Nou Camp, Wednesday’s win over Dortmund was much needed.
With a trip to Signal Iduna Park next, which will be tough, Inter are no longer playing catch up in Group F and now have the opportunity to pull ahead of Dortmund and grab that second spot to reach the knockout round for the first time in nearly a decade.
Last year was disappointing as all it needed was a win over PSV at San Siro to progress, this year we need to hope for one better which will help demonstrate the club’s movement into a forward direction.
Following the switch to 3-5-2 with Conte, the need for two strikers in his lineup was addressed, partially, in summer. The arrivals of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to partner Lautaro Martinez looked adequate with young gun Esposito as fourth choice.
Fast forward to a Sanchez injury and Lukaku carrying a knock, Esposito has found himself inserted a little earlier than hoped or imagined as far as Antonio Conte is concerned.
However, the 17-year-old has shown experience beyond his years and a vibrancy that young players can often bring to the table which was massively refreshing to see against Dortmund and Parma.
Raw is the word we most use to define Esposito and let’s make sure that he is given the time and the patience to grow. His pace and commitment make him a valuable asset to the squad as we have seen this week, but he needs time to adjust. Be patient but there may be a gem here.
Stefan de Vrij Must Play
Battling on all fronts this year, (hopefully), means that Inter will need to use their squad. More depth is required in January or next summer for sure but at the moment Inter must use what they have wisely in order to keep the squad fresh.
With the arrival of Diego Godin in summer and the return of Alessandro Bastoni from Parma, Inter have arguably the best defensive options in Serie A. Add the aforementioned two to Stefan De Vrij and Milan Skiriniar and three at the back looks mouthwatering, but this week we have learned that unless its absolutely necessary, De Vrij must play as much as possible.
Since his Bosman move from Lazio last summer, De Vrij has undoubtedly been one of the league’s best stoppers. The fact that Inter were cheekily able to poach him from Rome on a free remains one of their best transfer dealings this century and when he doesn’t play his absence is noticed.
Let us be honest, Bastoni has so much potential but isn’t the finished article and Godin is not the player he once was but they both have their roles to play. On the flip side, De Vrij is at the peak of his powers and must hold his jersey at the centre of the three if Inter are to battle successfully on all fronts this year.