Friday October 26 2012
Does Sneijder fit into this Inter?

Inter have been in a rich vein of form without Wesley Sneijder, but Adam Scime contends Andrea Stramaccioni has been preparing for his return.

Wesley Sneijder is a playmaker of world class talent – a Champions League winner, World Cup Finalist, former UEFA club Midfielder of the Year, as well as a La Liga and Serie A champion closing in on 100 caps for his country.

Yet since suffering a thigh injury early in a contest against Chievo Verona, Inter have won six consecutive matches in all competitions without him, raising the question of where exactly the Dutchman will fit in when he returns. Sneijder has arrived back in Milan after treatment in Los Angeles and is undergoing personalised training sessions as he edges closer to his comeback.

It is a riddle that has plagued the minds of recent Inter tacticians, even being cited as a partial reason for the exits of Gian Piero Gasperini and Claudio Ranieri. The two Italians, oddly, could just not seem to find a place for such a talent in their ranks.

Current boss Andrea Stramaccioni recently pinpointed the dilemma the 28-year-old presents. “Sneijder is not a support striker, nor a midfielder. He has certain characteristics which we need to make the most of. That is my job, but my idea of football remains the same.”

Some would have you believe that the Netherlands star is a square peg trying to be shoved into a circular opening, however one cannot argue with success and the Oranje captain has had plenty of that.

Sneijder’s best performances at club and international level have typically been enjoyed in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with the ex-Ajax prodigy in the centre of the ‘3’, allowing him the freedom to get forward and support the lone striker with ample cover being provided, but also the licence to drop deep to collect the ball and connect with those in wider positions or in front of him. Flourishing in that role, Sneijder was pivotal to the treble success of Jose Mourinho’s Beneamata incarnation during the 2009-10 campaign and arguably should have been awarded the Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi.

The player pushed out of Real Madrid is also fitted to a 4-3-1-2, although the current Inter squad are without the characteristics to effectively deploy either of these formations.

A lack of attackers with the ability and efficiency to play on either side of Sneijder in a 4-2-3-1 indicates there are not enough forwards/wingers in the squad with the requisite cutting edge. Samuel Eto’o, Mario Balotelli and Goran Pandev were all as accustomed to maintaining position as to making incisive runs inside the channels with both speed and a decisive first touch, but you won’t find players of that complete calibre in the squad for those positions at the moment or space for the in-form Antonio Cassano in such a module.

The 4-3-1-2 presents another problem. Inter’s creativity becomes all too easy to cancel out and width is barely existent. The ‘3’ behind Sneijder do not have the ability on the ball to take any significant aspect of the playmaking burden off him. Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso, Walter Gargano, Fredy Guarin, Gaby Mudingayi and Joel Obi may be energetic ball-winners, but they are deficient compared to a midfield like that of the Italian national team, which can constantly rotate positions and the entire midfield possess impressive technical ability with the ball at their feet.

Stramaccioni’s initial idea was a Christmas tree system, with Sneijder and Cassano in support of Diego Milito, but this left a few too many gaping holes and saw his side sucker-punched on the counter-attack in defeats to Roma and Siena in Serie A.

Now, the Nerazzurri boss may have found a more ideal system that has shown plenty of success in their recent outings – not only in terms of attacking, but also in keeping their opposition off the score sheet. A 3-4-1-2 formation has provided a more solid defensive foundation, but also ample protection for someone with attacking characteristics to support the forwards.

Coutinho and Rodrigo Palacio have already taken turns filling the role with success and when Sneijder arrives back on the pitch it seems likely he will be thrust into a comparable position. During this more physical and fast-paced era of football, compromise is required from every one of the outfield players when contributing to defence. As long as Sneijder is willing to sacrifice as much as any other player in the role, then Strama will be hopeful the prominent player fits perfectly into his puzzle rather than distort his ideal football picture.

Have your say...
i think he fits eveerywhere if he wants too.
on the 29th October, 2012 at 4:30pm
i think sneijder does fit.
on the 29th October, 2012 at 4:28pm
I always see a great team built of the foundation of a strong defense. Defending is literally duty of every player, but in reality it starts from the midfield. What players like Sneijder, Milito... need is a reliable defensive line, so they don't have to track back too far. Milito's job is to bring the ball to the goal, Sneijder's is to create and deliver it. Combative players like Guarin, Pereira... were supposed to provide that security for Sniejder and the forwatds.
on the 28th October, 2012 at 8:15pm
I don't think Coutinho, Palacio or Cassano have helped out defensively when playing behind the front two and they have worked well in that position, so why does Sneijder have to? I think in long run 4 at the back is way forward. But the ideal partnership is Ranocchia and Juan and I think they need to learn from experience of Samuel between them in a 3 so they're not dropped in deep-end. Also don't see why Sneijder cannot be put in centre midfield as playmaker? It works for Pirlo & Xabi Alonso.
on the 28th October, 2012 at 2:03pm
There are many other important things in the world that we can think about and try to improve and evolve, besides philosophizing about if Sneijder can fit in this Inter squad or not.
Anyway, each time he was playing, his genius and Cassano's were joy to watch. So Yes, he will fit, even if he's on the long time ago Farinos against Valencia
on the 27th October, 2012 at 6:19pm
As inter fan I would like to see more of cassano and snieder together , they can give the squad confidence by their skills and talent they can give more possession and control of game at the same time but to manage three forwards cassano , snieder , milito is too risky cause no one of those can commit to defending duties . Also we have palacio and coutinho ,, really I feel sorry for strama , its so hard
on the 27th October, 2012 at 6:59am
Cassano may be scoring, but it's only from world class assists from the rest of the team. Cassano ALWAYS runs out of his portion and compromises our structure. With palacio and Milito forming such a good partnership, I'd bench Cassano and play Sneijder behind the 2 argentines. Sneijder is the best passer of the ball in Italy if not the world, Cassano is not a striker, and most definitely can't play trequatrista as we'll as Sneijder. You don't sell a Ballon d'Or winner(should've been)
on the 26th October, 2012 at 11:20pm
Italian football is BORING!!! That's why he doesn't fit!
Send him to England and watch him excel way beyond the Inter days!!!! He's top class!
on the 26th October, 2012 at 9:11pm
Diego Milito is the laziest player on the field never want to help out in midfield or chasing the ball to close the opponent down, always waiting for someone to feed him the ball.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 4:58pm
Sell him while he is still worth something. If inter can get 20 million euros that would be great. He earns too much and is injured often, he doesnt want to sacrifice himself for the team, inter are winning games without him. Plus Inter have Coutinho and Ricky Alvarez.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 3:45pm
You cant go and alter a winning system to make room for one player, no matter how good that one player is. It was that kind of thinking that turned us into a one man team with Ibra. If sneijder is willing to work for the team then all will be well and the team will go from strength to strength, but if not then cash in asap. If he wont share the team's burden in a team game then he can go be another egocentric tool of the EPL and the club will gain some much needed funds. FORZA INTER.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 12:41pm
the problem is that Sneijder seems unable or unwilling to do any defensive work - the other support strikers such as Cassano , Palacio , Coutinho are willing to do this.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 11:01am
I still think Inter are best suited to a 4-2-3-1, every Italian team playing 3/5 at the back just now are playing pretty bad football especially in Europe and a 4-2-3-1 is well suited to Sneijder and Coutinho probably Inters best 2 attacking players.


on the 26th October, 2012 at 10:55am
You can put sneijder in goal and he will still cause threat to the opposition.....there's always room for sneijder and I think all the teams in the world would change there formation to make way for him too!!
on the 26th October, 2012 at 10:55am
I can't see why he can't play in the centre of a 3-man central midfield. That way Inter have a guy who can create from deep, yet he's not taking a place away from the 2 second strikers (2 from Alvarez, Coutinho, Cassano, Palacio).
on the 26th October, 2012 at 10:46am
Of course he can fit in! He will give the midfield some much needed creativity, composure, and will allow Inter to have more control and possession in midfield. In a 352, I would like to see him in the middle of the five, conducting play. I also like him in the hole, in a 3412.
on the 26th October, 2012 at 10:32am

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