Can Inter challenge for the Serie A title once again?

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Inter Milan finished the 2014-2015 season 8th in Serie A, 14 points behind Lazio in the Champions League places and a staggering 32 points behind Juventus in first.

Astonishingly enough this is the same Inter that won the treble under Mourinho just five seasons before! So where has it all gone so wrong for this fallen Italian giant, maybe the poor performance in last season's Serie A holds some clues? 

Looking at the team performance statistics it is hard to see exactly where the Nerazzurri went so wrong under the guidance of Roberto Mancini, in terms of results at least.


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Inter recorded the highest average possession in Serie A last season, an impressive 60.3% showing their ability to dominate the ball effectively.

Furthermore, Inter had the joint-second most shots per game, behind only Napoli. Add this to the impressive form of Mauro Icardi who finished joint top scorer with Luca Toni on 22 goals and surely this screams attacking success and cutting edge?

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Yet, Inter struggled to hold leads, win and ultimately challenge for the Scuddetto, which, Inter fans will tell you is what they (historically at least) should be doing. 

To get to the heart of the problems, the team must be looked at in terms of defence, midfield and attack and the individual problems of each element examined. 


Inter have had some wonderful defenders in the past years, Cristian Chivu, Marco Materrazzi, Javier Zanetti, Lucio and Maicon to name a few.

The current crop are of course not to that standard, but, having said that there are still full internationals amidst the ranks and Nemanja Vidic has shown a few glimpses of his Man Utd form since arriving at the San Siro.

However, Inter conceded 48 goals last season, only Napoli and Milan had a worse defensive record in the top 10 teams, in fact even Cheivo in 14th conceded seven fewer goals than an Inter side with what on paper has a fairly good defence. 

The problem, in my opinion is a lack of consistency and a wide variety of defensive errors from experienced players with only a few members of the defence playing to the level they are capable. 

Juan Jesus is one who, in my mind, played to the standard an Inter player should last season. The young Brazilian recorded the third highest number of tackles per games last season with 3.4, and this was often playing at left back, not even his natural position.

With defensive errors clearly a contributor to their downfall last season, Inter's management have addressed this quickly with the signings of Jeison Murillo, the Columbian international from Granada and Miranda from Atletico Madrid.

Murillo was one of the standout players at the Copa America and Miranda has experience of winning La Liga very recently in an Atletico side famed for its defensive work-rate, if their form holds, these players could prove to be very astute acquisitions. 


Inter's midfield is still one of the strongest in the league, at least on paper. Inter can boast the third highest pass accuracy and the second highest number of dribbles per game from last season in Serie A.

Fredy Guarin had an impressive season at Inter last year and would have been one of the stand out midfielders in Europe were it not for his tendency to smash the ball over the bar from 35 plus yards whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Guarin was the fourth highest rated player in Serie A by with a rating of 7.56, behind only Vasquez, Pogba and Tevez. Furthermore Guarin completed 2.9 dribbles per game on average, the 5th highest in the league joint with none other than Paul Pogba. 

Another midfield starlet at Inter, Mateo Kovacic has continued to progress well during this turbulent time at the San Siro. Kovacic recorded the eighth highest number of dribbles per game and his vision and technique on the ball is clear for all to see even at this early point in his career.

Kovacic and Hernanes can boast the joint highest number of through balls per game in the league last season too. In addition to this, Gary Medel of Chile, performed very well in a range of midfield positions last season and can boast a league best pass success of 91.8% and a league high average number of passes per game. 

What therefore can Inter's inability to score and poor defensive record be put down to if the stats suggest creativity and consistency?

In my opinion the problem is that the defence do not have an effective shield, something all top teams require to push on. Again, Inter have addressed this problem early in the transfer window with the acquisition of Geoffrey Kondogbia from AS Monaco.

The young French international is strong and already a very capable reader of the game, something that will only continue to improve as he develops. Kondogbia recorded an average of 3.1 tackles per game in Ligue 1 last year, second only to Juan Jesus in that respect at Inter.

Kondogbia averaged 2.5 interceptions a game, therefore suggesting he could be the shield required to move inter forwards and provide them with a platform to build from defence. 


With Mauro Icardi leading the line you would think that attack would not be Inter's main priority, the Argentine notched 22 goals and six assists last season.

However, this totalled 37% of all Inter's goals, this, to me suggests a problem and an over reliance to some degree on a very impressive but nonetheless a still developing, young player.  

The problem here therefore is that with an ageing Rodrigo Palacio and a lack of support or alternative for Icardi Inter could not compete with the likes of Juventus in terms of firepower. 

The remedy for this, Inter hope, is the loan switch of Stevan Jovetic from Manchester City. Jovetic was one of the finest players in Serie A while at Fiorentina and in his final season for La Viola scored 13 goals and recorded 5 assists in 31 games with performances that earned him a move to a very ambitious Manchester City squad.

Jovetic has struggled in the Premier League but there is no doubt he has the quality to succeed once again in Italy. 


Inter have been a shadow of their former selves in recent years and still need time to develop under Mancini to become real contenders for the Scudetto.

However, they have addressed problematic areas and I predict the next season to be one of real, positive progress for Inter, though they may have to wait longer to add to their impressive trophy cabinet. 

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