BLOG ITALIA
Monday October 7 2019
Inter lack Juve's variety

While Maurizio Sarri and Juventus showed their ability to adapt, Antonio Conte’s Inter struggle beyond Plan A, explains Elio Salerno.

The Derby d’Italia was once again decided by a late Gonzalo Higuain goal at San Siro, but everything leading up to that moment showed the progress at both Juventus and Inter.

Inter came into this fixture with a 100% record in Serie A and welcomed Romelu Lukaku back in place of the suspended Alexis Sanchez. Conte’s starting XI picked itself, as he unsurprisingly chose to continue with his preferred 3-5-2. Maurizio Sarri had been expected to play Welshman Aaron Ramsey behind the front two in Juve’s newly formed 4-3-1-2. However, Federico Bernardeschi was favoured in Ramey’s place with Paulo Dybala partnering Cristiano Ronaldo in attack.

Before anyone had time to find their feet, Paulo Dybala rifled the away side into the lead with a powerful shot from outside the box, one Samir Handanovic may feel he could have done better with. The tone had been set and it wasn’t long before Ronaldo crashed a shot off the crossbar. Juve had made the ideal start, rattling their hosts in the process, but Conte’s men reacted positively.

Another high-profile error from Matthijs de Ligt literally handed Inter a way back into the game, with Lautaro Martinez making no mistake from the spot. The goal boosted Inter and saw them have a bright few minutes as they sought to increase the pressure on their visitors, but it wouldn’t last long and Sarri’s side regained control.

As expected, Juve insisted on playing out from the back, and despite a few untidy passages of play, began to get to grips with Inter’s press. Once they found ways to escape, Inter found themselves retreating. In the week we saw Inter expertly escaping from Barcelona’s high press, but they had no such luck on Sunday evening and were now becoming penned in. Sarri’s team nullified the Nerazzurri’s attempt at progressing play. It was an issue that would become more prominent for Inter as the night wore on.

Juve went man-to-man against Inter’s back three, with Blaise Matuidi releasing from his midfield position to press Diego Godin. Bernardeschi was doing a fine job in preventing Marcelo Brozovic from dictating play. Inter could not escape or find ways to quickly switch the ball, Conte’s patterns weren’t working, and once Stefano Sensi was forced off with injury, the Bianconeri established themselves on proceedings.

In a tactic that was reminiscent of Sarri’s Napoli, Juve were overloading the pitch on the side of the ball. Conte had prepared for this, but neat combinations saw Juve escape, switching the ball to the free side and allowing them to maintain control. The ball was never needlessly thrown in the box, instead Miralem Pjanic and co looked for the right opening.

Dybala was causing problems, La Joya dropping in pockets of space outside and behind Inter’s midfield line. If he has previously been criticised for playing too deep, in this match he got the balance right. Playing quickly when he received possession, his one and two touch play created useful openings for Juve. A great example of this was seen on Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal, that was ruled offside.

It was level at the break with all to play. The second 45 minutes continued how the first ended, with the Italian champions in the ascendancy. The pattern was clear, Juve were forcing the ball through Godin and Inter were regularly turning over possession as a result, so Handanovic attempted to play longer, but it kept coming back his way. Conte reacted, introducing Alessandro Bastoni in place of captain Godin in an attempt to give his back-line better balance in possession.

Juve’s Coach made changes of his own with Rodrigo Bentancur replacing the quiet Sami Khedira and Higuain entering for an uninspiring Bernardeschi. It allowed fans to witness the dream trident of Dybala, Higuain and Ronaldo – for nine minutes. It was enough to show why this won’t be repeated soon.

These subs affected Juve’s balance, as suddenly Inter found gaps where there were none previously, with Brozovic now seeing more of the ball and Inter slowly started to show signs of life. Seemingly recognising this, Sarri made another change with Emre Can coming on for Dybala, a move that saw Bentancur pushed into a more advanced midfield role in order to help his team quash the home side’s progress.

Somewhat strangely, Conte then removed Martinez, who up till that point been his team’s best attacker. Then with around 10 minutes remaining, The Old Lady finally made their overall superiority count.

It was a winner of the highest quality, a goal that Mister Sarri would have dreamed up the night prior. There were 24 passes, patient play in midfield, clever rotation/movement from midfielders and attackers before a smartly executed combination on the edge of the box saw Bentancur find Higuain with a first-time pass. Pipita did the rest.

There was still time for Juve stopper Wojciech Szczesny to make an important save, but in truth, Juve got the result their play deserved. The Bianconeri are adapting and improving weekly under Sarri. There were a number of positive individual displays, their play carried confidence and Juve maintained an attacking threat throughout.

As for Conte, this was perhaps something of a reality to check for him. The former Italy tactician’s Plan A is fantastic, but if that isn’t working, he must be prepared to help his team by trying different methods.

The difference in squad depth was also evident here. Whilst Sarri was able to make changes to improve things and give his players fresh impetus, Conte did not have that luxury.

There is an ominous sign hanging over Serie A as the clubs go into the international break. Juventus are back on top and carrying a very different, potentially more dangerous threat.

Have your say...
In any game, replacing 2players because of injury is bad.
Especially when shallow squad like inter facing team with squad depth as juve's.
That means Conte can only have 1more sub (of mediocre subs) to anticipate juve's tactic
While sarri still have 3sub option (of top class sub) to anticipate inter's tactic.
There's huge tactical advantage here.
And we're not talking about cr7 n dybala's brilliance yet.
Inter's so far behind, n their tifosi r still blinded by their ambition to win the derby
on the 11th October, 2019 at 11:58am
@cowardly Anon Your pathetic troll is flawed. Either you say that CR7 and Juventus players are divers, in which case they'd get booked for simulation and most likely sent off... which didn't happen. But it did happen to Barella, which means that Rocchi was either biased towards Juventus (so how come Inter got a penalty, and a clear penalty on Bentancur was denied?) or... you know... you're a troll. Checkmate!
on the 9th October, 2019 at 10:15am
@cowardly Anon (Part 2 of 2) Also, if you wanna talk about simulation, then Barella was booked for simulation just outside of Juventus' 18-yard box. How do you like them apples? PS: FI is still up with its idiotic editorials, and unfortunately there are no other sites which collate data on Calcio, c'est la vie...
on the 9th October, 2019 at 10:10am
@cowardly Anon from 1 million other Anons who loves to talk smack and logic:

If you'd have watched the match instead of just 4 min HLs videos on YT, you'd know that Alex Sandro got smacked in the back of his head, Pjanic was consistently tackled and hit from behind, Dybala was smacked 2 times horribly on his calves, and CR7 was being double/triple teamed and fouled to prevent him from getting forward.

Not to mention there was a clear penalty for foul on Bentancur. (Part 1 of 2)
on the 9th October, 2019 at 10:04am
@Pinturicchio maybe because divers add up committed foul numbers even more? and maybe "protected" players aka R9, Messi, Neymar and etc get to many whistles in favor, you know? A bit of brain storming won't hurt you before you find your justifications! ...and by the way, I still see you round despite you rants against FI!
on the 8th October, 2019 at 6:40pm
The referee got this game almost entirely wrong. I wouldn't go as far as claiming that he was knowingly biased against Juve, but his decisions left little room for other judgments.

Had the referee done a proper job, Juve would have crushed Inter. I'm a Juve fan so I'm deeply biased, yes, but this was really a more or less one-sided game. I've watched so many Juve Inter games and this one really stands out in my opinion as one of the most unbalanced encounters ever. Credit to Sarri, forza Juve
on the 8th October, 2019 at 5:51pm
Sarri teams always play well. but to me I preferred him over the options of pochettinno and conte. it was all clear in the finals of UEFA tournaments and regular c.league games. in the Europa league final Chelsea went up 2-0 and arsenal then made it 2-1. what did Sarri he encouraged his side to go forward and score a 3rd goal and killed the game off. allegri would have defended out the 2-1. pochettino vs Liverpool in the final was a disaster and conte still trying the tired 352 in europe
on the 8th October, 2019 at 9:38am
@Dan
Only Bro is physical strong. Sensi is definitely not. Gagliardini looks OK on paper but not tough/aggressive if you compare him with Bentancur. Barcelona are never a physical team but no other clubs have their skill. Also Barcelona are much weaker than 3 or 4 years ago.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 9:17am
juve really should have won 4-1. they probably would have because juve should have gotten a pk when bentancur was fouled in the box. how could the ref call a pk on de ligt for handball but wouldn't call a freekick just outside the box for handball on lukaku. ref was favouring inter. I noticed as well that the higuain, Dybala, Ronaldo wont work it leaves the team unbalanced and was the only time inter came into the game. 4312 is juve best formation with Dybala-Ronaldo with Ramsay behind
on the 8th October, 2019 at 8:08am
@Mandrake Root:

Inter are now the record holder for the number of fouls (14) in the opening 45 minutes of a football match across all top leagues in Europe.

In comparison, Juve only committed 9 fouls in total over the entire match of 90 minutes.

Look these stats up on ESPN or WhoScored etc.

Brozovic, and especially that numbskull D'Ambrosio each should've been sent off at the very least...

When you play horribly, you risk injuring yourself as well, hence Sensi was injured.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 8:07am
Juve is just too deep and talented for the rest of the league they are light years ahead. Look at that team....when you can bring Ramsey, Higuain, Rabiot and Bentancur off the bench not to mention there most scary dribbler Costa was out injured and you can see no team stand a chance when Juve is in the mood.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 4:59am
It felt like Juve won that game 3 or 4 times during the game dispite the slender margin.
on the 8th October, 2019 at 12:15am
Aye lot of riff-riff happeninn here i see. Jube pun base getting old diaper thes days. Oat t0 sayy, lololo.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 2:46pm
Conte didn't have much options from the bench.
Also 2 leaders were sent off with injury.
It wasn't lucky day for Conte tbh.
Still too early to judge him.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 2:05pm
Conte didn't have much options from the bench.
Also 2 leaders were sent off with injury.
It wasn't lucky day for Conte tbh.
Still too early to judge him.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 2:05pm
The Inter articles will die down as we can see that Inter has a great coach but weak bench. They will maintain momentum but slip up more than Juve. Everyone talks about Dybala and yeah he's been good so far.... but Higuain deserves a ton of credit for his contributions. Berna on the other hand needs to sort things out.I know Rabiot may be upset but I see him playing a much bigger part in coming months as Matuidi and Khedira will surely experience fatigue and maybe injury soon
on the 7th October, 2019 at 1:26pm
@Anonymous, Inter started with a more physical 3 in cm (Gag, Bro, Sen) v Prague & that hardly worked out well for them. They did well vs Barca: it wasn't a lack of physicality that cost them the game. Inter's problems are: a lack of fluidity, a plan b, drops in intensity in the 2nd half/sitting back, & that if Sensi/Barella get injured, they lose a large chunk of invention & control in the midfield.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 1:08pm
Part 2: For Inter, they have made giant leaps forward, and I wouldn't be discouraged by the display. Conte instills mentality and grinta in teams and there was plenty of that on the field. Conte's Inter project should be seen as a min. 3-4 year project so that their fans don't get disappointed. Displacing Juve is no easy feat, neither is instilling an organized and winning mentality in a team that has been known for chaos for so long. Plenty of positives for both sides.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 12:12pm
It was a very good Juventus game. We are starting to play Sarri-ball and it shows. the team had some very well worked moves including Ronaldo's offside goal. Its nice to see the team playing to its potential finally. its amazing that the starting XI only had one new player, the rest were already there last year. Really changing the team's philosophy is paying dividends on the field, and Agnelli/ Nedved's gut that this team could play a lot better with the same individuals is proving to be true
on the 7th October, 2019 at 12:08pm
Do I miss miss Sarri.

People said he would not rotate, but he does when it makes sense.

Look at Ancelotti, senselessi changes players and Napoli looks garbage. It is annoying when uneducated pundits hail Ancelotti because of 3 CL with the best teams of their times.

Sarri is fa supeior and without him Napoli are on a decline and back to the Benitez' day of 3 to 5 place finish at best.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 12:01pm
Without Inter's best player on the pitch : Gianluca Rocchi, Juve would have destroyed Inter in 30 minutes.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 10:28am
So, are we all cooling off about Conte's tactics now? Not talking (just) about that outdated system with 3 defenders, an old joke really, but, like you pointed out, where are the alternatives, that Plan B, C, whatever? I saw this game three weeks ago, against Slavia Prague;) Nothing changed, except that Inter tried to look more feroucious, with that aggresive faults all over the pitch. By the way, that referee Rocchi was overwhelmed.
A great show of quality from Juventus, Pjanic/Dybala MOTM!
on the 7th October, 2019 at 10:01am
Inter do not have the squad to compete with Juve.Sadly this will be yet another title season for Juve and so our boring league continues.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 9:21am
As stated in many other blogs Conte did/does not need a reality check. He knows Juventus are 8 years ahead in terms of preparation, budget etc. and Inter are doing great to be where they are. The media just builds up to knock down and only very gullible Inter fans expect/say Inter to win the championship. Finish 2nd, go a long way in Coppa and see how far the kids can go in the EL in the New year = a good season which will have shown progress.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 8:02am
first, i want to congratulate my team for doing extremely well in these weeks. and why would be this one different? well ofcourse we met them on equal threats first time in a long times. but i do not know playing lazio then barcelona then juventas in logerithom is actually humane? heavy legs no sanchez and lack of rotation quality is the sole reason for us not to be clear four points off juventas ATOP..... WHAT A SHAME.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 7:58am
This was a great showcase for Calcio.

Top of the table, yes, but one more time Juventus proved why they're deserving 8-time Scudetto winners. It may be a different coach, no defensive tactics, but it's again Juve's "Grinta" which got them through.

Inter are delusional if they think they can match the best teams in Europe by just a change of coach. But, hey, whatever floats their boat, good for them.

PS: It's one thing for physical play, but D'Ambrosio, Brozovic et al are 2-bit thugs...
on the 7th October, 2019 at 7:19am
Juve are obnoxious cos they have won 8 years in a row. Inter were obnoxious cos they won 6 games in a row. Inter players wanted to make their opponents the same colour as their own jerseys. Play more calcio and less dirty tactics. Pjanic will have to be quick footed if he doesn't want to get injured by other teams adopting similar skulduggery.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 7:15am
Without the obvious help from the referee, Inter would surrender in the first hour. Juventus foul? Yellow card and penalty. Inter foul? Continue or without yellow card/penalty.Have not seen a referee like this for a long time.
Inter have more Italian players but they all have a serious issue, they lack the strength to compete with strong physical body and that’s the reason they are suffering in the European competition. Inter need take out one of Barella or Sensi to balance the middle field.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 3:53am
The second time in a week that Conte gets out-coached and out-smarted.....I'm glad he didn't come back to Juve. Maybe, just maybe, Sarri will make his mark with the Bianconeri
on the 7th October, 2019 at 2:23am
It was a good game confidence wise. We are still not firing on all cylinders, but the game plan was perfect from Sari. I would have liked Ramsey to star instead of Berna, but his game plan played out to a win, which matters the most. We have a great squad and I like the fact that everyone gets a chance to prove themselves. I think this will be Dybalas season and the last chance for Higuaín to show the whole world that he is one of the best. Still so much potential left in this team.
on the 7th October, 2019 at 1:03am

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