Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

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How to score against Inter

Inter have conceded the least amount of goals (10) in Europe’s big 5 leagues. I watched back all the goals they conceded in the Serie A, and they showed us two repeatable patterns to score against them.

Figure 1.1 - The overlap drags Inter out.
Figure 1.2 - Space opens for the pass, and the pass is played.
Figure 1.3 - Sassuolo are in on goal.

Sassuolo showed the power of an overlap when Inter sit further back in their own half. They were the only team to manipulate Inter’s shape and break down their structure, in open play.

Figure 2.1 - Overlap draws Inter out.
Figure 2.2 - 1v1 with space to run into behind the two Inter defenders who came out.
Figure 2.3 - Goal from outside the box.

That overlap pins Dimarco and isolates the second defender wide with the ball carrier, opening space for the third man run into the box or space to dribble into the right half-space.

Those two goals were it. Like last season, Inter are very organized defensively and hard to breakdown. The rest of the goals were either from a set-piece, mistake, or a turnover.

Figure 3.1 - Slow pass back to Federico Dimarco with pressure.
Figure 3.2 - Turnover in the box.

Game-state plays a big part in some of these goals. Inter have a tendency to play at a slower pace and make uncharacteristic mistakes, like this one above, when they’re up by one or two goals.

Figure 4.1 - Line-breaking pass through Inter's second line.
Figure 4.2 - Turn and pass to Rafael Leao.
Figure 4.3 - Rafael Leao is in on goal.

Inter are up two goals to AC Milan, and their second line becomes more lax. A quick line-breaking pass is enough to break their structure. They leave a massive gap between their back line and second line. If you can get it in quick, there’s a good chance you can catch them out.

Figure 5.1 - Denzel Dumfries makes a mistake and Dusan Vlahovic forces a turnover.
Figure 6.1 - Hellas Verona force a quick turnover from an aerial duel.

That gap between the second line and back line is a theme in both of these goals against Juventus and Hellas Verona.

They commit a lot of players forward to their front line, and leave a massive gap between their first and back line. That leaves them vulnerable when Dumfries makes a mistake and even when a simple aerial duel is lost in the Hellas Verona’s half.

Both lead to a turnover and then the quick counter results in a goal.

Figure 7.1 - Turnover from a long pass.
Figure 7.2 - Quick pass over the top to Joshua Zirkzee.
Figure 7.3 - Joshua Zirkzee in on goal with Inter converging central.
Figure 7.4 - Joshua Zirkzee goal outside of the box.

The first repeatable pattern is the overlap to open the right half-space, when Inter sit back.

Hope to score from a set-piece or penalty kick.

The second repeatable pattern is to force a turnover in either half, quickly play the ball central, and then get the ball to a player in the front line. Two passes.

AC Milan tried to take advantage of this vulnerability on the counter last season in the Champions League but failed to convert those chances into a goal.

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