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Using a three-man defense has been a nice revelation for Stramaccioni this year, but new tactics always require growing pains. Inter created their chances today, but it's somewhat alarming as to how the team's passing stats are coming out.
Inter have been in the habit of using a 3-4-3 this season, but today's formation was more of the 3-5-2 that Juventus have been using over the last year and a half.
Stramaccioni's foray into using the 3-5-2 has been met with the same thing that Antonio Conte encountered last year: a lack of space in the midfield for his players.
The leader in completed passes today was Walter Gargano, but he only completed 64 before being withdrawn in the 74th minute for Alfred Duncan. This says to me that the 3-5-2 did what it did to Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal at one point last year: It compressed the middle of the field and didn't allow them as much room to operate.
Inter completed 25 long balls today and attempted 30. That number of long passes tells me that the middle of the field was getting squeezed and they were having problems moving the ball along the ground, which necessitated bypassing the midfield and trying to take more direct routes to the front line.
This isn't something fatal—Conte had to abandon the 3-5-2 at one point and revert to the 4-3-3 he started the season with until he could work out the kinks and put in the version of the formation that has allowed the team to soar.
What it does mean is that Stramaccioni needs to drop back to something a bit more successful if he wants to use this particular formation again until he's able to work all the trouble spots out on the training ground.