Season Review Of Inter Milan
Inter Milan’s 2017-’18 season was filled with drama, desperation, high intensity games and the season that came till the final whistle of the final match day to see if Inter would qualify for the Champions League next season.
● Season Recap:
Spalletti was hired after his spell with Roma to lead the team. The qualification to Champions League was the primary target of the club. We saw early signings with Vecino, Valero, Skriniar, Karamoh and Cancelo signing for Inter while Kondogbia moved to Valencia after a less than impressive spell at Inter.
The season had a great start as Inter beat Fiorentina 3-0 at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza where Icardi started off the season with a brace. The next game week Inter went to Rome to face Roma where Inter after trailing the first half by a 1-0 margin turned the game to a 3-1 win. Inter Milan kept their good form going as they beat SPAL and Crotone in the following gameweeks. Inter dropped the first points of the season in a 1-1 draw versus Bologna away from home. They went back to winning ways after beating Genoa and Benevento and then beating AC Milan in Derby Della Madonnina where Icardi scored a hattrick which included an injury time winner after converting the penalty conceeded by Ricardo Rodriguez.
Inter Milan continued their impressive run beating Sampdoria, Verona, Atalanta and Cagliari. The first Derby D’Italia ended in a 0-0 draw at Allainz Stadium at Turin. The Nerazzurri were at the top of the table by the end of November. Spalletti’s men lost the first game of the season at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza vs Udinese by a scoreline of 3-1 and then started the slump. Lost to Sassoulo in the next match day and followed by 5 consecutive draw which made the team go a 8 match without a win for 2 full months from December to early February. Inter returned to winning ways after beating Bologna 2-1 at home. The team from Milan kept the race for a champions league spot with some impressive performances and the second Derby Della Madonnina ended in a 0-0 draw after Icardi missed an open goal during the injury time. The return leg of Derby D’Italia at home ended in a 3-2 loss after losing to a late goal from Higuain. It came to the final match day vs Lazio to seal the Champions League spot. Trailing the game by a score of 2-1 at 77′ and then to lead the game by 2-3 at 81′ saw a change of fortunes and Inter qualify for the UCL next season since being knocked out by Marseille in 2011-12
Inter never took the Italian cup seriously as they fielded the bench in the penalty shootout win vs Pordenone and a relatively weak team in the 1-0 loss vs Milan and hence went out of the tournament
● Lack of an Alternative game plan :
Inter Milan clearly lacked an alternative game plan to crossing. Once the teams figured out on how to counter their game plan, they started to have not so good games and the winless run followed.
● Emergence of Milan Skriniar :
Inter Milan signed a relatively unknown Slovakian Midfielder/Centre back in the name of Milan Skriniar from Sampdoria who turned out to be the signing of the season who started in all 38 league games this season and made an excellent Defensive combination with Miranda who perfectly worked as an unit. If the Nerazzurri keeps hold of the player in upcoming season, he can well prove to be an asset for the side.
● Lack of depth:
Lack of bench strength was clearly seen this season as Spalletti took his time before making a substitution. Players ran out of energy during the early 2018 and a sqaud rotation wasn’t possible due to lack of bench strength.
● Resurgence of Brozovic-Gagliardini pivot and Rafinha :
Brozovic who had a real bad start to the season was booed by the fans home and away alike but a tactical change from Spalletti saw Brozovic take the role of a Deeplying playmaker and Gagliardini as a defensive Midfielder worked like a charm as Brozovic started dictating games and then came Rafinha who was the attacking spark with elegance and passion of equal measure. This provided Inter with a plan B to play through the middle than a crossing gameplay.
●Proper use of upcoming transfer window :
Inter Milan, having qualified for UCL next season should make use of the transfer window to strengthen attacking options and also get some backup for the bench. With already Stefan De Vrij, Asamoah and Lautaro joining the club next season, Walter Sabatini’s idea of inserting mandatory buy clause on Rafinha if Inter qualifies for UCL shall be automatically triggered. Now Inter will have to look to make Cancelo a permanent player or will have to look for an alternative Right back and a right winger to replace Candreva, who didn’t not have the best of the seasons.
●Writer’s Take :
FC Internazionale have successfully achieved their pre-season requirement of qualifying for UEFA Champions League. Spalletti has lead the squad in a great manner throughout the season and Inter could have done a lot better if not for the 2 months of winless run but whatsoever, it is done and Inter have qualified for the top European competition next season.
They will be a team to watch out for in Serie A and Champions League and hopefully Inter Milan revive their glory days.