Inter Milan: Are they as disappointing as they have looked?
Before the 2018/19 Serie A season began, Internazionale were 'a team to watch'. Luciano Spalletti produced a Champions League berth last season and even had the team in the pole position for the Scudetto for a few weeks. The thought process this summer was simple. A few additions could only help.
Management spent in attack and on defence. Inter added Sime Vrsaljko and Stefan de Vrij to the back line. Kwadwo Asamoah, Radja Nainggolan and Matteo Politano promised grit and creativity in midfield. Keita Balde and Lautaro Martinez juiced up the attack. Seven new players equated to a new Nerazzurri spine.
In the early doors, things have not gone according to plan. At times, Inter look downright bad. Spalletti has won just one from the first four league matches. That's not good enough. It's nowhere near pre-season expectations that rated the squad potential title contenders. What has gone wrong with Inter through the first four games?
With DiMarco's goal, Inter fell 1-0 at home to Parma on Serie A Matchday 4. Icardi played all 90 but Lautaro Martinez was not even on the bench. The team has posted four from a possible 12 points.
Early-season form suggests Inter should have far more points. Sassuolo, Torino, Bologna and Parma shouldn’t strike fear into any top team. Conservatively speaking, Inter should be on eight points, not half as many. It might be too early to say Spalletti is on the hot seat, but he will be if the team doesn’t turn things around soon.
Inter began the year with a 1-0 loss away to Sassuolo. Admittedly, the Neroverdi are an early Serie A surprise. Inter rebounded in their next two matches. A 2-2 home draw against Torino preceded a convincing 3-0 away win over Bologna.
The international break couldn’t have come at a worse time. Upon returning, Inter endured a 0-1 defeat in front of their fans, to newly promoted Parma. The loss frustrated. Game stats told a tale of dominance. Spalletti’s men doubled up in possession (67:33%), had three times more goal attempts than Parma (24:8), nearly twice the shots on goal (11:6) and more corner kicks (10:1). Then this happened.
Out of nowhere, Parma won the game. Shocking, to say the least.
It’s hard to say why Inter struggle. They look competent for extended periods, generate sufficient scoring chances and aren't outplayed. Fans can only hope the new squad requires time to gel. Martinez, Vrsaljko and Balde not only need to become familiar with new teammates but a new league, too.
The biggest question is whether Inter can turn things around soon? A pivotal Champions League match against Tottenham looms. Their Serie A schedule features Sampdoria, Fiorentina, Cagliari and SPAL, not to mention another Champions League tie against Dutch champs PSV Eindhoven. All that comes before the October international break. On paper, Inter should have decent results. The San Siro pitch is turf, however.
Inter were paper tigers to begin the campaign, too. Until they deliver results, observers will doubt they can. That’s something no one expected just a few weeks ago.