Lautaro Martinez was key to Inter Milan coach Simone Inzaghi’s plan to neutralize Juventus and free up Hakan Calhanoglu.
This according to today’s print edition of Rome-based newspaper Corriere dello Sport, via FCInterNews, who note the 26-year-old’s slightly more withdrawn position than usual.
On balance, it would be fair to say that Inter coach Inzaghi got the better of Juventus’s Max Allegri in the tactical battle on Sunday.
The Nerazzurri were the team more able to find their rhythm.
Inzaghi’s men had more of the ball. They set the tempo for long stretches, and were able to launch quite a few dangerous attacks.
Meanwhile, apart from one or two threatening counterattacks, Inter held Juventus at arm’s length.
Lautaro Key To Inter Plan To Neutralize Juventus & Free Up Calhanoglu
The midfield battle played a vital role in Inter’s tactical superiority in the Derby d’Italia.
And no player had a greater role in the central battle than Inter’s regista Calhanoglu.
The Turkish international got on the ball regularly. And his deft touches and range of passing were the hub through which Inter’s possession of the ball passed.
And as the Corriere notes, Juventus were unable to completely deny Calhanoglu space.
The 29-year-old did find pockets to operate in all match, and particular in the first half.
The reason for this went all the way back to a slight positional adjustment in attack.
There, Inter captain Martinez played as more of an attacking midfielder than an out-and-out striker for much of the match.
It was left to Marcus Thuram to lead the line. Martinez had a freer role with a lot of responsibilities linking midfield and attack.
This meant that Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli was unable to really roam the pitch.
The Bianconeri’s holding midfielder was babysitting Martinez at times. And he had the Argentine, Inter’s danger man all season long, in the back of his mind constantly.
This meant that it was hard for Locatelli to really step up and engage Calhanoglu.
Therefore, there was a subtle numerical imbalance in midfield. That imbalance favoured Inter, and Calhanoglu.