Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics


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Inter bulwark

May 25, 2023 — Inter is a very compact and strong side. Their entire team is composed of rocks. They are a collection of very tough and confident players. Inter controlled the middle of the pitch against Fiorentina to win the Coppa Italia.

Figure 1.1 - Francesco Acerbi jumps out, and the ball is played to Jonathan Ikoné.
Figure 1.2 - Alessandro Bastoni follows Arthur Cabral, leaving Nicolás González free on the back post.

If you can control the middle of the pitch, you can beat Inter. If you can’t, they have the power to hurt you.

Fiorentina’s first goal came from an opening in the middle. Francesco Acerbi jumped, which caused confusion within Inter’s backline.

Inter is formidable in the air. Almost every outfield player can comfortably win an aerial duel. That’s why they tend to favor long balls centrally.

Figure 2.1 - Matteo Darmian kicks the ball long to Edin Dzeko.
Figure 2.2 - Edin Dzeko heads the ball to Lautaro Martinez.
Figure 2.3 - Lautaro Martinez plays Edin Dzeko in on goal.

The center-forward, either Edin Dzeko or Romelu Lukaku, will drop, and a center-back simply has to ping them the ball. Direct and effective play because it normally ends in a numerical advantage in the transition to attack.

Figure 3.1 - Inter plays out of the 3v2 overload. Federico Dimarco runs into space on the far side.
Figure 3.2 - Marcelo Brozovic plays Lautaro Martinez in for Inter's first goal.

Figure 3.1 and 3.2 are examples of why controlling the middle of the pitch is vital.

Inter favors overloading the right, and then they apply speed in the half-spaces with alternating runs.

First, Federico Dimarco makes a run on the far side, and then Lautaro Martinez on the ball side. Give Marcelo Brozovic or Nicolo Barella enough time and space, and they will pick out the right pass. They both need to be tightly man-marked, no time and space should be afforded to them.

Figure 4.1 - Denzel Dumfries pins Fiorentina's left-back, Biraghi. The ball is played to Lautaro Martinez in space.
Figure 4.2 - Edin Dzeko makes the far post run, and Lautaro Martinez makes the near post run. Nicolo Barella plays the ball to the near post.
Figure 4.3 - Lautaro Martinez scores.

A constant barrage of half-space runs and uncontested long passes allow Inter to get back into the match.

Figure 5.1 - Alessandro Bastoni kicks the ball long to Romelu Lukaku.
Figure 5.2 - Romelu Lukaku chests down the ball and holds up play while Hakan Calhanoglu runs behind. Lukaku plays him the ball.

When Inter got the 2-1 lead, they knew how to keep it.

Figure 6.1 - Inter's 5-4-1 low block.
Figure 6.2 - Inter's 5-3-2 low block.

Inter allows space wide and packs the middle out of possession. Their strength in the tackle and aerial duels makes breaking them down a tough task.

They want you to play out wide because they will win the headers when the ball is crossed in. They are sure of themselves and confident. Every tackle is assertive and accurate.

Inter looked sharp and resolute.

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