Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Batman and Robin

May 28, 2023 — Pass into Romelu Lukaku with his back to the goal, hold up play, lay off a simple pass, and play someone into space. This efficient and assertive pattern of play sets Inter apart.

Figure 1.1 - Inter buildup from the back. Alessandro Bastoni passes directly on the ground to Romelu Lukaku.
Figure 1.2 - Romelu Lukaku holds up play, and then passes to Lautaro Martinez.
Figure 1.3 - Romelu Lukaku immediately turns and runs into space. Lautaro Martinez plays him in on goal.
Figure 1.4 - Romelu Lukaku 1v1 with the goalkeeper.

If Romelu Lukaku is Batman, Lautaro Martinez is Robin, right there when he needs assistance. They have this move down pat. Martinez will wrap around to the front to always give Lukaku an immediate out.

Figure 2.1 - Goalkeeper Andre Onana plays the ball out to Denzel Dumfries.
Figure 2.2 - Denzel Dumfries passes to Romelu Lukaku.
Figure 2.3 - Romelu Lukaku holds up play and then passes to Lautaro Martinez. Federico Dimarco makes the run on the far side.
Figure 2.4 - Lautaro Martinez switches to Federico Dimarco.

Lautaro again curves his run to meet Lukaku. Lukaku’s hold-up play is almost unstoppable; he does such a good job shielding the ball by planting his body down like a tree.

Martinez shows off his passing ability in this play in Figure 2.4, and it’s lethal. Batman and Robin are clicking.

Notice how efficient it is. Four passes and they are in.

Figure 3.1 - The ball is played directly to Romelu Lukaku. He holds up play and then passes to Marcelo Brozovic. Center-back Francesco Acerbi makes the run into space.
Figure 3.2 - Marcelo Brozovic plays Francesco Acerbi into space.
Figure 3.3 - Inter 3v2.

Inter is so confident in this move; they have center-back Francesco Acerbi furthest forward, ready to receive the pass from Marcelo Brozovic and lead the attack.

Fearlessness and efficiency are a dangerous combination. Their structure allows it and they’re not afraid to take advantage of deficiencies in Atalanta’s defense.

Figure 4.1 - Romelu Lukaku holds up play while Lautaro Martinez and Marcelo Brozovic make a run into space.
Figure 4.2 - Romelu Lukaku passes to Marcelo Brozovic.

And if someone isn’t available to pass to, Romelu Lukaku has the awareness to dribble out of trouble and then pick out the pass down the middle.

The key to Inter’s success is the middle of the pitch. They can control the middle like no other team.

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