Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Inter from out-the-back

Inter are one of the most complete teams in Europe in all phases of play. One loss in Serie A, the least amount of goals conceded (12), a balance of the technical skill and power, with an ability to quickly work the ball back-to-front while maintaining numerical superiority in transition.

Figure 1.1 - Yann Sommer passes wide right to Benjamin Pavard.

They have this one particular passing sequence out from the back to their right down pat.

Figure 1.2 - Benjamin Pavard passes to Matteo Darmian.

Take note of Federico Dimarco’s starting position and where he ends up at the end of this play.

Figure 1.3 - Matteo Darmian boots it forward to the forwards.
Figure 1.4 - Lautaro Martinez drops to play the ball forward to Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Federico Dimarco.
Figure 1.5 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan touches it on to Federico Dimarco.
Figure 1.6 - Federico Dimarco puts in an early cross to Marko Arnautovic.

Dimarco puts in a massive effort to go all the way from the back to front and put in an almost perfect cross to Arnautovic. He was as far back as Pavard to start the play.

Figure 1.7 - Marko Arnautovic hits it over the bar on the stretch.

To start the play, they keep Dimarco back to maintain numerical superiority at the back. Then the trigger for Mkhitaryan and Dimarco to start their run forward is the pass wide to Darmian.

That drop from Martinez to receive the pass from Darmian is what we saw last season, with the fantastic partnership of Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez. These back-to-goal, one-man-runs-forward, the other lays-off-a-pass plays are drilled into them.

They maintain that +1 in both their own end and the final third.

Figure 2.1 - Ball is played wide to Federico Dimarco and Henrikh Mkhitaryan makes the run into the left half-space.

The timing of the runs in the channels is their most impressive trait. Once the ball goes wide, there’s always someone there to get behind that pinned right-back or outside center-back on the ball-side.

They’ve lost a couple important players, but I think they’ve either matched or upgraded this season with the addition of Yann Sommer, Benjamin Pavard, and Marcus Thuram. There’s a lot of experience in this squad, but Pavard and Thuram add an additional element of technical ability and youth that they were missing last season at right center-back and center-forward.

Match: Inter 1-0 Atletico Madrid, 20 February 2024

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