Inter Milan striker Marko Arnautovic has received criticism for a “disastrous” substitute appearance against Hellas Verona.
Today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, pull no punches in their appraisal of the Austrian’s display.
Arnautovic had reason for improved confidence heading into yesterday’s match.
The 34-year-old had made three consecutive starts for Inter, between the Coppa Italia and Serie A.
Arnautovic did give Inter a real battling presence in attack. He used his physicality and experience to act as a reference point for the team, win fouls, and hold up the ball to bring teammates into play.
The Austrian had also started to show end product as well.
Arnautovic produced a brilliant improvised backheel assist for Nicolo Barella against Lecce.
Then, the former West Ham United and Stoke City striker got his first ever Serie A goal for Inter. He scored the opener in a 1-1 draw away to Genoa.
Marko Arnautovic “Disastrous” Vs Hellas Verona
These positive recent performances were not enough for Arnautovic to keep his place against Verona yesterday, however.
The return of captain Lautaro Martinez meant that the veteran striker had to settle for a place on the bench.
But that didn’t mean that Arnautovic would not have a role to play.
Inter coach Simone Inzaghi turned to the veteran striker midway through the second half.
Arnautovic replaced Marcus Thuram as a substitute. This meant that the Frenchman could catch his breath, and then Arnautovic was intended to be the player who would help Inter see out the result.
But that’s not exactly what the 34-year-old did.
First, it was Arnautovic who lost the ball as Verona sprung a counterattack from which they equalized.
There was more than a hint of a foul in Giangiacomo Magnani’s challenge. But referee Michael Fabbri adjudged it to be nothing more than a physical 50/50 challenge.
And in truth, it would be hard for Arnautovic to complain too much. It was clear that these kinds of wrestling matches were part of the directive for the bulky centre-forward, as Inzazghi didn’t want his team outmuscled.
Then, Arnautovic missed a good chance late in the match, as Francesco Acerbi set him up.
Even worse, the Austrian failed to react as a Benjamin Pavard shot came towards him.
Whether or not it was heading wide and Arnautovic merely failed to turn it in, or the Austrian blocked his own teammate’s shot on target – it wasn’t a moment he’ll want to watch back.