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Tuesday January 9 2018
Inter's season so far

The winter break gives Richard Hall time to assess the season so far for Inter and he has seen more highs than lows.

Luciano Spalletti arrived in the summer to much enthusiasm. He had a plan to stabilise a club that had no confidence and, despite not getting all his summer requests, he started well. Settling on a fixed XI, he navigated a tough start against Fiorentina and Roma, before taking his team on an unbeaten run that lasted to December.

A surprise defeat to Udinese and Sassuolo, however, rocked the team and has found the Tuscan unable to get the best out of his players. He will be hoping for a good start after the break has concluded.

You might be forgiven for assuming that Mauro Icardi would be the star man of the 2017-18 campaign so far. You would certainly have a case, as his 18 goals have arguably made Inter look too dependent on him.

It is Milan Skriniar however, who takes the plaudits, as his defensive work has been not only refreshing, but impeccable. Strong, quick and intelligent, he has improved as the season has gone on, even scoring three times in Serie A. He is perhaps the only central defender who hasn’t leaned heavily on Joao Miranda for guidance and already looks like the complete article.

How Inter have searched for a trequartista, not only under Spalletti, but a list of Coaches before him. Joao Mario was meant to take that role, but has started only five times this season. No goals and a string of poor displays mean the Portugal international is seeking a ticket out of Milan.

Joao Mario’s best performance in a Nerazzurri jersey was the 5-0 demolition of Chievo. Not only did Icardi and Skriniar get on the score sheet, but Ivan Perisic netted a hat-trick, promising that he was ready to take collective responsibility for the goals. It made the fans believe that their team had turned a corner and were now playing and expansive game that complemented their resolute defence.

Inter’s low point arrived 13 days after the victory against Chievo. Perhaps complacency had set in, as already hinted at in their draw with Pordenone in the Coppa Italia, a tie they won only on penalties.  It was December 16 when Massimo Oddo’s revitalised Udinese came to town, a fixture Inter expected to win at home. At half-time the teams were level, but a calamitous second period saw the Milanese ship two more goals and surrender their unbeaten run with a whimper.

That sparked a slide down the standings and eventual Coppa Italia elimination at the hands of their cousins Milan. The team that hadn’t tasted defeat has now forgotten how to win.

Inter have always been clear that the goal for the season is qualifying for the Champions League. The disappointing defeats and the turgid draws in the festive month have left a lot of unanswered questions. With little in the way of new blood coming in to the club (due to FFP), there is a huge amount of pressure on the players to lift themselves in the New Year.

With no Cup commitments, the fans will be hoping that if they can navigate the Roma fixture on their return, that the following games against SPAL, Crotone, Bologna, Genoa and Benevento could see them go into the Derby Della Madonnina in March in a strong position and maybe back amongst the Scudetto challengers.

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Have your say...
The Season for Inter so far, with 3rd place, is way, way above expectations.
Clearly if they can finish 5th at the end it will be a great achievement for the "seconda fascia" outfit of Serie A.
on the 13th January, 2018 at 2:27pm
That's a good point about Ausilio. Way before their treble winning side, Inter actually had players I liked: Moriero, Baggio, Zamorano. Their 3-1 victory over Real was quite memorable. There seemed to be a logic behind such requisitions along with the quality. Now they aren't worth our rival status and that's why our negative approach in the recent 0-0 draw cannot be justified. Come on Inter wake up and make us sweat
on the 10th January, 2018 at 10:35pm
Let me guess folks, another YEAR ZERO for Inter and it's been like that for the last 7 years! Face it, all this team has is its memories and that is it. now they are known for the following: choking when the temperature dips below zero, overpaid and useless acquisitions, signing the year's bidone d'oro, no bench players, blaming the coach for Ausilio's poor work, blaming refs for no PK's...like most inter fans say "wait until next year..." and when they do that's another scudetto for Juventus!
on the 10th January, 2018 at 7:34pm
I never dream of saying this, but the beginning of Inter calamitous poor form began when Nagatomo was dropped out of the starting line up (without much explanation and been replaced by Santon).

I believe Santon inclusion had brings negative consequences and spill effects that couldn't be taken lightly.

The absence of Ambrosio (much later) compounded the defensive frailty. Never imagine I will say this, but Spalletti have to play Nagatomo instead of Santon. I think Perisic would agree with me.
on the 10th January, 2018 at 11:35am
@pazza, are you wrote that list just to show that inter sits last of the contention? Really shame. By no means you will find inter behind lazio, for me also roma. To criticize inter, Only one big error that blotted a spot is failure to mix eder to starting xi. Dalbert and cancelo are upgrade on d'ambrosio and nagatomo. If u instil them into the fold its like having car with the wings. Full fledging attack and dynamic also. But so far spalletti unlike napoli hadn't have the courage to do so...
on the 10th January, 2018 at 6:36am
Every window inter says they wont buy but always end up with a few new signings that will help. Injuries have hurt inter lately, if santon wasn't forced to switch to cb inter would have beaten fior. Everyone knew inters game plan all season they just couldn't stop it. Inter always go through christmas slump, they will start winning games again and Lazio will drop off. Inter to finish 4th and with some big signings in summer will be ready to help bring Italy back in CL.
on the 10th January, 2018 at 1:08am
1. Juve
2. Napoli
3. Roma
4. Lazio
5. Inter

Almost a complete mirror image of inter under Mancini's first full season back. Inter has one way of playing, they cannot adapt within a game like their rivals. Teams have figured them out, if they want that 4th spot they will need to find other ways of winning besides through the wings. They need to rely more on the centre than the wings.
on the 9th January, 2018 at 3:11pm
New blood will pour in, as cheap deals are possible. Spalletti deserves some depth! My suggestions

#[w]INTERiscoming

AM: exchange loans for Pastore & João Mário with options to buy
CM: LOAN Ramires / Rafinha for free
winger: LOAN Gerard Deulofeu Lázaro / Matteo Politano without obligation to buy
CD: Rolando/Benalouane [cheap backup, preferably on LOAN]

» sign payers for FREE on the bosman: Stefan de Vrij / Bernard / Amato Ciciretti.
on the 9th January, 2018 at 2:47pm

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