Inter Milan – Match Report vs AC Milan 17/10/20

At the historic Giuseppe Meazza stadium Inter and AC Milan played out the 226th Milan derby. Today the bragging rights went to the Rossoneri as they edged out Inter 2-1. In typical Antonio Conte fashion Inter deployed a 3-4-1-2 while Milan used their favoured 4-2-3-1. As soon as the game kicked off Inter dropped back and this set the tone for the first half. AC Milan were dominant for large parts and sailed into a 2-0 lead after only 16 minutes. They exploited the space vacated by Inters attacking wing backs, who were slow in defensive transitions.

Lukaku pulled one back for Inter, tapping home a rebound which seemed to wake Inter up. They became much more dangerous on the counter, making better use of Perisic and Hakimi down the flanks. The second half was far less end to end with AC Milan looking to consolidate their lead. Inter had much more possession as AC Milan looked to hit them on the break. Inter came close on a few occasions and would have had a penalty if not for an offside in the build up. In the end they were unable to find an equaliser as AC Milan wound down the clock in order to a secure an overdue Serie A derby win.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Lautaro Martinez

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Argentine
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 22/08/1997
  • Current Club: Inter
  • Career: Racing Club, Inter
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Inter’s Argentine striker was in the news a lot this summer after being courted by Barcelona for a big money move. It is no surprise that clubs such as Barcelona are interested in Martinez as he posses great quality. He has superb technical ability, while he is also blessed with exceptionally quick feet. His first touch is consistently tight and he utilities neat flicks and back-heels to connect with his teammates. He is a multifaceted striker and as such is highly effective in build up play. Regularly, he looked to drop deeper in order to get on the ball and subsequently drag defenders out of position.

In order to minimise Martinez, Kjaer stayed very tight to the striker and regularly looked to foul him. Although he was routinely harried by the AC Milan defenders Martinez still found some joy. He may only be 5’8 but Martinez is a strong player capable of competing with the most bullish centre backs. Aerially, he struggles due to his height but with free headers he is effective and uses his neck well to generate pace and direction. Martinez confidently held Kjaer off in order to shield the ball and on several occasions he used his tight control and agility to spin off the defender. In addition, he posses a great burst of pace, combined with a low centre of gravity and so is hard to disposes once he spun off his marker.

He demonstrated great movement and is adept at finding space in the box. He uses little feints and quick steps in an alternate direction to evade defenders while also arriving in the box from deeper positions. Unluckily, for Martinez the ball never quite reached him in these areas. However, the shots he did have today were hit consistently well, apart from one wild strike in the second half. He creates a good body position when striking at goal and wraps his foot around the ball to generate sufficient curve.

In the second half he was slightly more isolated as AC Milan restricted his space. Although he had less chances himself he still connected well with Lukaku, who almost equalised following a lovely clipped ball payed between the centre backs by Martinez. Playing as the left striker lends well to Martinez playing these quick right footed passes inside to Lukaku, which he did to good effect throughout.

Rating – A1

Achraf Hakimi

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Moroccan
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 04/11/1998
  • Current Club: Inter
  • Career: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund (L), Inter
  • Position: Right Back
  • Secondary Position: Left Back, Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Summer signing Achraf Hakimi operated as Inter’s right wing back today and was generally effective here. He is a technically astute player who possess deft touch and control. He was positioned high up the right wing and is clearly a very attack minded player. He was dangerous in offensive 1v1s, getting the better of Theo Hernandez several times. He varied his attacking movements, sometimes standing wide on the touchline and other times coming inside to receive the ball in a more narrow position.

Although he picked up some good positions he did not always receive the ball and so much of his efforts were wasted. He regularly looked for one-twos and made some great runs in behind. One in particular should have yielded an equaliser but Hakimi could not direct his header goal-wards.

Hakimi’s technical ability means he is also a solid passer of the ball. His passes tended to be accurate and weighted well although, none were particularity adventurous. His most threatening passes came from out-wide when he was given space to cross the ball. His best crosses were those he stood up at the back post which were nearly converted by Martinez. Disappointingly, the crosses he attempted to whip in with pace were generally poor and regularly failed to beat the first man.

His decision making within the final was fairly inconsistent. He seemed indecisive in the moments that mattered, seeming to choose wrong pass or the wrong type of cross for the situation. However, at such a young age making these mistakes is ultimately the process of progress.

Defensively he was far less active. With plenty of pace he was able to get up and down the flank with relative ease. Despite this, there were times when he seemed reluctant to return to his defensive duties and so remained high up the pitch meaning Inter became exposed out wide. Although, this may have been a tactical decision as Conte clearly had more faith in Perisic and Hakimi to influence the attack over Vidal and Brozovic.

At 5’11 he has a good height for his position but is also to still a nimble player due to his slim frame. When he was called into defensive action he was reliable and put in some strong challenges. Aerially, he was less committed and put in some less than convincing attempts to win the ball here. Overall, Hakimi is a highly skilled player. He is not the finished the product but is definitely on the right track.

Rating – A2

Haimi’s whoscored.com touch map illustrates how he looked to join the attack at every opportunity

Nicolo Barella

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Itallian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 07/02/1997
  • Current Club: Inter
  • Career: Cagilari, Como (L), Inter
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Secondary Positions: Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Barella began the game as the most advanced of Inter’s central midfielders and was free to float between the lines. He competed well with Bennacer, who had clearly been encouraged to follow Barella throughout the game. Bennacer may have just edged their battle, but Barella showed good fight against a very combative midfielder and acquitted himself well in duels despite his short 5’7 stature and slender build.

Off the ball he has good movement and was lively looking to find room in the half spaces. Typically, he looked to pick up the lay offs from the two strikers before driving at goal himself or spreading the ball to an onrushing wide player. These moves were somewhat effective and the ball was worked out to Perisic well on a few occasions, but Bennacer and Kiesse did well to restrict these patterns of play. Barella almost found himself on the scoresheet following a couple of lovely one-twos with the strikers but, ultimately, he lacked composure and produced a poor shot which lacked accuracy.

He is a competent dribbler of the ball, possessing a nice touch and the ability to quickly change his body position in order to switch direction. His dribbling provided Inter with a progressive outlet as he was always looking to be direct and run at the AC Milan defence. It was also encouraging to see a young player have such confidence and desire to move the team forward himself, particularly late on when Inter were desperately searching for an equaliser.

Although, Barella is not the quickest player and so he can be caught by defenders and, at times, it may be more efficient to move the ball and not himself. However, this may not be such a straightforward solution as during the game he failed to display a solid passing range, with all his passes being short. These passes were not bad but none ever really threatened and this may explain why Inter turned to Eriksen late on. Furthermore, when he had the chance to play Lukaku in on goal he produced a pass which was poorly weighted and gave Lukaku no chance.

Once Eriksen came on Barella was moved alongside Vidal and was competent defensively. He was tenacious an in all contested 13 duels, winning 7. Despite this, he did appear a tad naive at times, giving away cheap fouls which played directly into AC Milan’s hands. He did show good positional sense, covering the left channel well to allow Perisic to maraud forward without the defence being too exposed. In all, Barella put in a solid performance and, as an attacking midfielder, was perhaps being asked to play a role which does not the get best out of him.

Rating – B1

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