Connect with us

Tactical Analysis

Napoli 4-2 Inter Milan: Tactical Analysis | Benitez counters Mazzarri

Napoli came in to this match after suffering a heartbreak exit from the Champions League, despite winning 2-0 against the in form Gunners and amassing a total of 12 points in the group stage, which included a victory over Napoli. Rafa Benitez’s men were now relegated to the Europa League had the task of making the most of their league campaign in order to play Champions League football again next year. A 3-3 draw last match day against Udinese saw Juventus and Roma pull away at the top.

Inter Milan started the game four points behind Napoli. After three consecutive draws (Bologna, Sampdoria and Parma) in the league, Inter look to close the gap and give Napoli a fight for their much yearned Champions League spot. With Fiorentina leapfrogging in front of them after a 3-0 victory against Bologna earlier that day, three points against Napoli was massively crucial for Walter Mazzarri’s men.

 Napoli 4-2 Inter Milan

Created via TacticalPad

Created via TacticalPad

Line Ups:

Napoli: Rafael, Maggio, Fernandez, Albiol, Reveillere (Pandev 90′), Inlet, Dzemaili, Callejon, Mertens (Armero 86′), Insigne, Higuain (Behrami 78′).

Inter: Handanovic, Campagnaro (Icardi 82′), Ranocchia, Rolando, Taider (Kovacic 61′), Alvarez, Jonathan, Cambiasso, Nagatomo, Guarin, Palacio.

The Midfield Banks

Inter’s midfield comprised of two wingbacks in the form of Jonathan and Nagatomo pushing up field to construct a crowded five man midfield with Alvarez and Taider positioning themselves symmetrically on either side of Cambiasso.

Napoli, on the other hand had a more central approach with Inler and Dzemaili holding and Insigne, Mertens and Callejon comprising the main attacking threat.

The Inter midfield placed themselves specifically between the two banks of the Napoli midfield i.e. right behind the attacking trio of Insigne, Mertens and Callejon and in front of Inler and Dzemaili. This gave Inter an advantage in numbers in midfield allowing them to passes the ball laterally with ease. Although Inter enjoyed majority of the possession in the middle of the park, they were unable to break through the centre of the Naopli team with Inler and Dzemaili showing excellent displays of positional discipline. As a result, Inter were unable to find a channel down the middle and were forced to play the ball to the flanks.

Credits: Squawka.com

Credits: Squawka.com

Benitez’ men counter Inter

Napoli often struggled to get their passes going from the back, losing possession far too easily along the way. With majority of the possession with the away team, Napoli were forced to play on the counter and they did that in exquisite fashion.

As mentioned earlier, the Inter midfield placed themselves between the two banks of the Napoli midfield which created a lack of cover for the Inter defence when the attacking trio of the Napoli midfield got the ball. Once the ball was beyond the Inter midfield, who more often than not were fairly high up field, it set up a perfect counter for Napoli who saw themselves with three pacey attackers in Insigne, Callejon and Mertens with Higuain being the icing on the cake. Napoli played the ball quickly up field setting up this advantages situations, the second and third goals being testimony to that.

CounterAttack

Inter’s passing was largely lateral, as already touched upon, with little success in penetrating Napoli’s defence. Inter thus had more possession (56%), but failed to make full use of it. Napoli were effective with the amount of possession they saw. Napoli took advantage of Inter’s lack of success through the middle, winning possession back and quickly countering. They did a fantastic job of transition from defensive zones to attacking zones.

In the above example, Napoli’s defenders were able to win back possession and start a counter from the edge of their own box. Often the defenders were left to deal with wide play from Mazzarri’s side, which wasn’t very effective. The midfielders then took possession and looked to counter. Higuain spent much of his time alone in Inter’s half, offering his side the option of a route one counter. Napoli midfielders however, usually, opted to take the ball directly into the attacking zones.

The Inter Defence

Any defence with a lack of cover will be vulnerable and Inter’s back three were another example of that. A formation with a three man defence requires exceptional discipline and coordination, two necessities that Inter critically lacked. While Nagatomo and Jonathan were important to provide a different shape to Inter’s attack, it compromised their effectiveness in defence. It’s the biggest flaw of the 3-5-2, ineffectiveness of the full-backs in both departments.

three man defence

As seen above here, the man in possession (no circled) had a number of attacking option to supply to. A big developed down the left side to exploit as Inter failed to have enough men over to provide cover. This is what Napoli took advantage of in their quick counters. Inter were invited forward, but shut out completely, the home side won possession and immediately started a counter.

All the blame cannot be hurled at the defence as they were left susceptible to swift counter attacks that were fabricated from quality players that the Napoli attack was composed off. With Campagnaro and Rolando often venturing forward when the Inter midfield had pushed up high, this left an already weak defence vulnerable to yet another counter attack where Napoli had the man advantage.

Inter concentrating on wide positions while attacking

With Inter hitting a wall every time they tried to play down the middle, playing down the flanks seemed the only other route to getting the ball into Napoli’s penalty area. On Inter’s left flank, Alvarez often got the better of Maggio, drawing him out and playing Nagatomo on the overlap. Inter’s right flank saw Jonathan combining with Taider to bring out Reveillere in a similar fashion

Although both of Inter’s goals originated from the right flank, it is worth mentioning that majority of the threat remained from the left flank with Cambiasso playing perfect passes out wide to Nagatomo who then combined with Alvarez to provide Napoli a potent threat to deal with. Ricardo Alvarez, in fact, created the most goal-scoring opportunities among all the players on the field (4).

Where does that leave them?

On the back of an emotional exit from the Champions League, Napoli have shown that they are willing to fight all the way for that third Champions League spot. The two goals conceded can be pinned down as shabby defensive work, something which they can work on. For Benitez’s men, it’s going to be a long season for them in the Europe as well as the league.

Inter, on the other hand, have a lot of work that needs to be done on the team. For one, figuring out the best formation for this diminished Inter side would be a good start. Mazzarri will definitely look to Erick Thohir to help the club out by strengthening the squad this coming January transfer window. If Inter are to push for that third and final Champions League spot, it’s certain that reinforcements are necessary.

What did you’ll think of Napoli’s win over Inter? Leave a comment below.

Make sure you follow us on Twitter @OOTB_football and like us on Facebook. We’re on Google+ and Tumblr as well for those interested.

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR OTHER TACTICAL ANALYSES

100 to Watch

Latest

Talent Radar8 months ago

2018-19 U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #6: Luka Jovic, Anthony Martial and Reiss Nelson feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled...

Talent Radar9 months ago

Talent Radar: A-League’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2018-19

Brian Bertie writes about the 10 young players to watch in this season’s A-League. Australia have made rapid strides forward...

Interviews9 months ago

Interview: Abneet Bharti on Indian footballers abroad

SU Sintrense defender, Abneet Bharti, the only Indian footballer to be plying his trade in Europe, talks to Kaustubh Pandey...

Talent Radar9 months ago

2018-19 U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #5: Matthias De Ligt & James Maddison feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled...

Opinions9 months ago

Borja Fernandez: The underappreciated genius of ISL’s infancy

On the eve of the latest edition of the ISL, Arinjay Ghosh pays a tribute to Borja Fernandez, an ISL...

Opinions9 months ago

Tactical Philosophy: Domenico Tedesco

While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...

Tactical Analysis9 months ago

Liverpool 3-2 PSG: Liverpool edge deserved victory against dysfunctional PSG

Siyang Xu writes a detailed tactical analysis about the UEFA Champions League match that ended Liverpool 3-2 PSG. Liverpool faced...

Talent Radar9 months ago

2018-19 U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #4: Matthias De Ligt & Ousmane Dembele feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled...

Opinions9 months ago

UEFA Champions League: The 5 hipster sides to follow this season

Gear up with your organic ginger ale and mystical moustache oil, as Richard Pike briefs us about 5 off beat...

Talent Radar10 months ago

2018-19 U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #3: Maxi Gomez & Marco Asensio feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled...

Opinions10 months ago

Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea: Tactical Approach & Key Players

Miles Olusina writes about Maurizio Sarri and the approach he is likely to take at Chelsea. Despite a successful 2016/17...

Talent Radar10 months ago

2018-19 U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #2: Joe Gomez & Bertrand Traore feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled...

Talent Radar10 months ago

2018-19 U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #1: Joe Gomez & Kylian Mbappe feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled...

Opinions10 months ago

Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid: Tactical Approach & Key Players

Aamer Aslam writes about what we can expect from European Champions Real Madrid after the arrival of Julen Lopetegui On...

Opinions10 months ago

Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli: Tactical Approach & Key Players

Charles Onwuakpa writes about Carlo Ancelotti and the approach he is likely to take on at Napoli. After three intense...

Scout Report10 months ago

Scout Report: Gonçalo Paciência | Eintracht’s exquisite forward

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Eintracht Frankfurt’s striker, Gonçalo Paciência. For those who have been attentively observing...

Talent Radar10 months ago

Talent Radar: Liga MX’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2018-19

Thomas Harrison writes about the 10 players to watch out for in the Liga MX for this coming season. Mexico...

Talent Radar10 months ago

20 Key Young Players to Watch from 20 La Liga Teams

Tom Canton takes a look at they key young players to watch from each of the 20 La Liga teams....

Scout Report10 months ago

Scout Report: Alphonso Davies | Speedy Canadian winger

Griffin O’Neill writes a detailed scout report about Alphonso Davies, the Vancouver Whitecaps winger. While many still believe that the...

Scout Report10 months ago

Scout Report: Diogo Gonçalves | Benfica’s tricky winger

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Benfica’s tricky winger, Diogo Goncalves Having been deprived of their biggest...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

More on Outside of the Boot

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this