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Tactical Analysis: Inter’s Midfield Problem

robby-manciniInter’s lack of goals has been an issue since pre-season and while it is easy to point the finger at the strikers, the problem lies a little further back – and that is with the midfield. Mancini has prioritized defense over creativity in the midfield and it has worked as Inter has the Serie A‘s best defence with just 12 goals conceded.

In the middle of the Inter midfield has been Felipe Melo or Gary Medel and they have done a great job destroying attacks and protecting the back four. But creativity is not their strength which is why the Nerazzurri has a midfield which has created the least amount of chances amongst the title contenders with 69.

Compare those 69 chances with the other title contenders like Napoli who have created 129. Fiorentina are close behind at 126 and then both Juventus and Roma with 112 and 113 goalscoring opportunities respectively. All of them have created twice as many chances as Inter’s midfield this season!

When you are creating half as many chances as your rivals on a weekly basis that puts a lot of pressure on your defense as they know that one mistake could cost them the game, as we saw on Sunday.

One reason why Inter’s numbers are so low, compared to the other teams is that the Inter midfield plays too deep. Inter have forced only 132 turnovers in the opposition’s half of the field, the least amount amongst all the title contenders adn this because they don’t press very high. Mancini has preferred a sit back and counter attack approach.

And even when Inter do force a turnover they are often wasteful in possession. Inter midfielders have given away possession 1,070 times this season. Only Roma have done worse with 1,154 balls lost but that is hardly anything to take solace from.

Roberto Mancini fans will argue that his tactics have worked as Inter are in the top three and just two points off the Serie A summit. But if the Nerazzurri are to maintain that position and even push higher and challenge for the title, Mancini will have to remove the handcuffs and let some of Inter’s more creative players attack defenders and create chances for the strikers.