Inter’s inability to score has been a cause of concern since the first pre-season games this year, and many Nerazzurri fans are beginning to wonder is the answer is not 33-year-old Rodrigo Palacio.
With last season’s capocannoniere Mauro Icardi struggling for form, and Stevan Jovetic having hit a rough patch, Inter find themselves with just nine goals from nine matches, a total only five teams have failed to surpass.
Icardi and Jovetic have started four matches together, but they have rarely shown an understanding with one another in the final third, which isn’t the case when either is fielded with Palacio.
In terms of shots on goal, statistics show that when the Palacio and Jovetic play together, Inter average 12.5 shots per game. Compare that to just 10.25 when Jovetic plays with Icardi.
Also, Inter as a whole average 382.5 passes in the oppositions half when Jovetic is partnered with Palacio, a huge improvement overt the 243.5 passes that the side produces when the latter starts with Icardi.
What the stats show is that Palacio’s style of play meshes better with one of Jovetic or Icardi, rather than when the latter are paired together.
The former Genoa man’s ability to move into open channels and open up space for the other two is an underrated quality that stands in stark contrast to Icardi, who remains most dangerous when in the penalty area despite the work put in by Mancini to change his style of play last season, or Jovetic, who prefers to receive the ball out wide before cutting in.
Before fans go calling for the benching of their 22-year-old starlet, take into consideration that he had five goals after nine matches last season, only three more than he currently has.
A closer look shows that three of those came in a 7-0 victory over Sassuolo, and the other two came via the penalty spot.
From February onward he netted nine goals, showing that the former Sampdoria man needs some time to settle in before making the most of his chances.
Thus patience is needed when it comes to Icardi and his form, the only question is whether Mancini will push for him to form a partnership with Jovetic, or opt to hand Palacio more playing time at the Montenegrin’s expense.