The team, unlike the other big teams, has not yet conceded a goal. The Dutch top with Darmian and Bastoni waiting for Acerbi. And Pavard is champing at the bit
It’s not how much. At least, it’s not just the quantum. But the how affects the how. Inter does not concede a goal, it hasn’t happened for 57 years, since Helenio Herrera sat on the bench. And no one else in Europe’s five major leagues has managed to do the same. These data are enough to understand that we are faced with exceptionality. Even more, however, Simone Inzaghi will be satisfied with the way Inter defended: never in crisis, never in difficulty, never under pressure. Sommer is grateful, it must have seemed like paradise to him to find himself between the Inter goalposts. That zero is a very sweet number. Because it erases doubts and problems. Because it’s soothing. Because in the team building phase, with the market still open upon returning from the tour in Japan, the coach and the club made a point to understand where to invest the majority of the remaining financial resources. The concept that came out loud and clear at that time was the following: “We need a defender. We need to take care of that aspect because due to our characteristics, we are a team that will never have problems scoring goals”.
01. The pressure
And in fact, Pavard arrived, with a 30 million investment. But the work goes beyond the Frenchman, who in fact has never been seen in the field so far. Even Acerbi, the best in the department last season, goes further, today still at zero minutes due to injury. The work is comprehensive. Inter is different. He has changed the way he plays compared to last season. And the differences also brought benefits to the defensive phase. Inter is learning – to be honest very quickly – to attack the opponent by raising the pressing line. When he tried to do that in the early part of last season, things didn’t work. Now the timing is perfect, the pressing is carried out by the team, and it is no coincidence that the recovery of the ball is much higher. And, above all, it succeeds. As a result, the defense almost never gets into trouble.
02. The midfield
The other key to understanding is in the work of the midfielders. Because when even the opposing team manages to overcome Inter’s initial pressure, the screen offered by Calhanoglu and his teammates is remarkable. It is no coincidence that we mentioned Calhanoglu. There have never been any doubts about the Turk and its quality construction. But at the start of the season, it is his ability to cover that is surprising. Not just tackles, not just contrasts: the former AC Milan player is also proving to be exceptional in reading the passing lines of his opponents.
03. The individuals
And then there are the singles. Darmian is a computer of reliability: Pavard will struggle to take his place away. De Vrij is back as the defender of the Scudetto with Conte, physically fit, and mentally always on track. And finally, Bastoni, who has never lowered his concentration level, also showing growth in terms of marking. Nico Gonzalez was there against Fiorentina in his area: he didn’t arrive.
04. The more choices
More choices Now this growth, collective and individual, must pass the most difficult test. Milan is, together with Inter, the most prolific offensive department in Serie A. It will be curious to understand if Inzaghi will maintain the same playing philosophy seen in the first three matches. Pioli’s team has the weapons to strike even at speed. Inter is ready. The mechanisms work, Inzaghi can’t help but rejoice. “We have to improve,” he said after the victory against Monza on his debut. It was done, Fiorentina was already an important testing ground. But the full result that Inzaghi wants to achieve is to maintain such a high performance regardless of the protagonists on the pitch. Now the defense also has enough men to manage energy and rotate when the schedule is busy. Pavard’s inclusion in this sense is crucial. He is an owner, in everyone’s opinion: this is demonstrated by the type of investment made. Inter have added bricks to his wall. And that’s a good thing, looking at the data. The last three championships in Serie A have been won by the team with the fewest goals conceded. And Inzaghi knows this too.