A rejuvenated Inter Milan made a great start to the season, coming into this clash with Fiorentina with a perfect record. The match was always billed as a tight contest, but the result ended up being completely one sided, with Fiorentina bossing proceedings and running out big winners.
Inter 1-4 Fiorentina
Mancini chose to field an Inter side with some differences than from what we have seen this year. The midfield three of Kondogbia/Guarin and Felipe Melo was present again but this time Ivan Perisic was not playing in front of them at a number 10/ trequartista role but on the right wing. During the defensive phase the Croat was also becoming a fullback/ wingback, placing himself besides Santon and creating a five-man defence. The centre backs were closing down Valero and Ilicic when they were between the lines of defense and midfield.
Fiorentina pressed high up the field, taking advantage of Melo’s slow reactions with the ball. They also tried to force Inter on long goal kicks. Their defensive shape was also oriented towards forcing Inter to play mostly trough the sides.
In the above screenshot you can see the centrally oriented defensive shape that Fiorentina created. You can also see a movement that Perisic made a few times in the game creating space for Guarin to run into.
After the second Fiorentina goal Roberto Mancini decided to change his team’s shape.
Perisic was now a right wing back with Santon playing on the left and Medel being the RCB .
Fiorentina makes it 0-3 and Mancini changes formation yet again.
This screenshot is taken a little bit before the third goal. Borja Valero attracts Medel towards him, creating a space in the Inter defense for Marcos Alonso to take advantage of after easily dribbling past Perisic. Santon is also at fault at for this goal, looking only once behind him to see where Kalinic was from the moment this screenshot was taken until the ball went into the net.
Inter returned to a 4-man defence with Perisic now playing behind the two forwards but being oriented towards the flanks.
But this change did not help either . With Inter now having 2 center backs , Fiorentina could press much more easily and force Inter into long kicks ( the fact that the Inter full backs were moving higher up the field quickly did not help with the build-up either).
In the 32nd minute, Miranda got a red card after being forced to foul Kalinic, who took advantage of a ball passed through a space that Medel had evacuated by being somewhat needlessly in attack.
Mancini was then was forced to change his team formation for the fourth time in under 45 minutes.
Felipe Melo was now a CB. After a few minutes Perisic moved to the right, next to Guarin and Kondogbia with Palacio moving closer to Icardi.
Kondogbia was substituted with Andrea Ranocchia, Inter now changing to 4-4-1 formation. Inter decided to defend and wait, for Fiorentina to lose the ball, and then counter-attack with pace.
The shape was moving in relation to the ball, with Inter getting higher up the pitch to press only when the Viola were returning the ball to their defence. When the defenders had the ball, Melo and Guarin were marking the opposition CMs, not to allow a build up from the centre of the field.
Ranocchia was following every opponent that received the ball in front of him, as far as needed, in order not to allow them to turn and face the Inter defence.
Inter makes it 1-3 and surprisingly Mancini changes formation again.
The 3 man defence returned again, with Ranocchia changing his marking mentality slightly and getting out of defence when needed in order to not allow time and space for the opponent to pass the ball and speed up the ball circulation (something that would lead to more mistakes).
Icardi was positioning himself in front of the midfield three, creating a central diamond that forced Fiorentina to move the ball through the sides.
Paolo Sousa gave the order to Marcos Alonso to pressure Biabiany immediately when he received the ball in order to not allow the extremely quick Frenchman to gain pace and take advantage of spaces in the middle and Viola’s defensive third.
Fiorentina’s excellent passing game despite being under pressure made Mancini decide to have another change in formation.
With Medel joining the midfield and Palacio becoming a fourth midfielder when in defence, Inter had theoretically more chances to cut off passing lanes in the centre, mark and press better, but to no avail.
Fiorentina even managed to score a fourth goal with Kalinic moving between the out-of-position defenders after Inter unsuccessfully pressed high up the pitch.
Inter were surprised by the quick goal from Fiorentina. Mancini never managed to improve a side that seemed to lack concentration and was not in a mental shape to turn a match around. An excellent Fiorentina then took advantage of every downside the team from Lombardy had.
Written by Thanos Chelas