The sixth round of the Italian Serie A saw Inter tripping to a last-minute draw against Parma and moreover bringing back the concerns regarding the defense’s performance that has not been convincing at all since the starting of the season. There is no good news for Antonio Conte considering the immediate game against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Liverani instead can be partially satisfied with the performance of his Parma, with some regrets perhaps. The win slipped away just a few minutes before the end of the game in which Parma seemed to be confident and quite organised tactically. Parma got the best out of their three shots on target, beating Handanovic twice, showing a great sense of opportunism which is quite useful in such a competitive league like Serie A.
With plenty of similitudes to the Genoa game, Inter dominated the first half, showing good ball possession, winning ten corner kicks, and limiting Parma to their own half, but once again, they were not able to create good opportunities to break the deadlock. This time Conte’s second half changes were able to recover a game that seemed lost.
On the contrary, Parma clearly prepared the game in a certain way, aiming mostly to limit Inter’s key players. Even though the construction phase and the offensive transitions have not been positive, Gervinho’s cynicism brought a good result.
In this tactical analysis, we will examine how both teams approached the game, understanding the tactics put in place by Liverani, and Inter’s approach and changes during the game. In the analysis, we will also highlight the difficulties faced by Inter and its vulnerable defense.
Antonio Conte starts with his usual 3-4-1-2, with six different players from the Genoa and Shaktar Donetsk games. This was forced due to some injuries and Tuesday’s match against Real Madrid. Inter had de Vrij, Ranocchia, and Kolarov defending Handanovic. Darmian and Hakimi as wingers, with Gagliardini and Barella on the midfield. Eriksen, much like against Genoa, will start behind the forwards Lautaro and Perisic, who is replacing the injured Lukaku.
On the other hand, Liverani, who collected only four points after 5 games, adjusted his classic 4-3-1-2 to a 5-4-1. Sepe, the goalkeeper, with Pezzella, Gagliolo, Iacoponi, Balogh, and Grassi forming a line of five. Kurtic, Hernani, and Kucka are the three midfielders, leaving Gervinho and Cornelius in the attack.
Parma’s defensive organisation
The first half of the game showed a clear perspective of what type of game Liverani prepared. Nine or ten bodies behind the ball line in order to limit Inter’s players and close every space possible. The defensive set-up and organisation brought a positive outcome for Parma as they were able to finish the first half without any troubles.
Pezzella and Grassi were respectively marking Hakimi and Darmian, the two wingbacks, while the three defenders, Gagliolo, Iacoponi, and Balogh often found help from the midfielders.
A special note on Balogh, as it was the debut in Serie A for the young Hungarian player, who often took care of Perisic marking him into a sort of one-to-one situation, limiting the Croatian player, often with his back to the goal.
If the defensive performance was positive, Parma lacked in constructing with ball possession as well as in transition. Another option was a long ball for Cornelius, however, the Danish player was not able to keep the ball and he lost it several times. He was left on the bench and replaced by Inglese after the first half.
Inter’s territorial supremacy
If we are going to check out some of Inter’s previous analysis from a few days ago, we will probably find out several details that are exactly the same as this Parma game.
Inter dominated the match during the first half. They had more ball possession, more corner kicks, and more shot attempts. Even though Inter was not able to score or impact significantly in the game. Another specific subject was the absence of ball possession in the penalty area, which is usually guaranteed by Lukaku.
The footage below shows Barella preparing a cross trying to find the head of Lautaro and Perisic. Eriksen is trying to find space, however, his movement is direct towards a defender. Hakimi at the same time trying to surprise Pezzella, but Barella did not notice it.
Not having the strength and the height of Lukaku, deliveries like this especially against a well-positioned defense are quite comfortable to be cleared away.
Shocking start – Gervinho’s goals
The beauty of the game. Handanovic who was never called to make any save, saw Gervinho scoring twenty seconds after the referee blew for the start to the second half.
The footage below helps us to understand and appreciate Parma’s start as well as the bad positioning of Inter’s defenders.
Hernani shows great vision and great passing skills. His long pass is precise and accurate in finding Gervinho, who will attack the depth behind de Vrij. Hakimi instead is too far behind Gervinho and he will not be able to recover the space left. Gervinho will score with a one-shot touch impossible to save for Handanovic. It was the first assist for Hernani and the first goal for Gervinho this season.
The analysis shows a great sense of awareness from Gervinho that, with good pace and technique, takes advantage of the lack of position and concentration from the two Inter defenders. The first mistake from Inter’s defense was punished at a higher price.
As against Genoa, Conte makes some change right before the hour mark. Gagliardini and Eriksen were substituted for Brozovic and Vidal, with Barella replacing the Danish player as the attacking midfielder. Once again the Danish International has not performed up to the expectations.
Even though was Parma to score again with Gervinho. Inglese, who replaced Cornelius finds the right pass through the Inter lanes for Gervinho, who will attack from deep the space behind de Vrij, beating Handanovic.
Gervinho closed his game with two shots on target and two goals. What is quite alarming for Conte is the simplicity of how Parma scored. The positioning and the reaction of his defenders were not quite right. De Vrij is not aligned with his teammates, therefore no offside strategy could have occurred, and at the same time, he was slow to react to Gervinho’s movement. He will not be able to anticipate or close the passing lane.
Immediately after Gervinho’s second goal, Inter finds its first with a good shot from the edge of the penalty area from Brozovic.
Conte redesigned Inter, with Vidal, and Brozovic in the midfield, Barella, Hakimi, and Darmian were also called out. The wingbacks are now Young and Perisic, who comes back to his natural role. Nainggolan and Pinamonti are the fresh energies for the final attacks.
Precisely Pinamonti will earn the free-kick, after a silly foul committed by Kucka a few minutes before the final whistle.
Kolarov’s first assist of the season finds the head of Perisic, the first goal for him this season, who is kept onside by Inglese. the footage below shows how all the Parma players were aligned except Inglese, a misjudgment that caused probably the win to slip away right on the edge.
Antonio Conte needs to find a solution to Inter’s fragilities. So far Inter has already conceded ten goals in the league and Serie A, by history, is a league where the winner concedes very little. At the same time, Inter without Lukaku and with Lauraro not in shape, failed to create danger. The next game against Real Madrid will be already a significant match impacting the rest of the season. On the other hand, Liverani can appreciate the effort and organisation of his team. With this dedication, Parma would be able to have more satisfaction this season.