Verona 0-2 Inter Milan: 6 Things We Learned
Inter headed into this weekend’s fixture against Hellas Verona knowing a win would propel them above Fiorentina and into fourth place. Despite enduring another difficult campaign, doing so would represent significant growth for the rebuilding giants and provide some genuine hope for the future.
The ownership of Erick Thohir has been questioned ever since he took over the club, but the Nerazzurri are steadily improving on the field under Walter Mazzarri. For Hellas meanwhile, their excellent return to Serie A has stuttered as of late, and the Gialloblu are desperate to get back to their superb early season form.
However, they would once again succumb to one of Italian football’s truly great clubs, with a 2-0 loss which fails to highlight just how dominant Inter were on Saturday night. Over the following pages are six things the match in Verona taught us about both sides.
Fixture List Taking Its Toll on Hellas
After winning their first 10 home games of the season, Hellas Verona have appeared to struggle in their own stadium, failing to win there since December’s victory over Lazio. However, what that statistic fails to recognise is just how difficult their recent fixtures have been.
Since that game against the capital side, Hellas have visited Napoli, Roma, Juventus, Torino and Bologna, rendering their lack of wins much less surprising. With just four more games on their own ground, the tough challenges continue with games against Genoa, Fiorentina, Catania and Udinese remaining.
They will need to be at their best in order to hold onto their lofty league position, with the chasing pack hunting them down, as a number of clubs seek a place in Europe next term.
Juan Iturbe Continues to Impress
One of the undoubted highlights of the Hellas season has been the impressive form of attacking midfielder Juan Iturbe. Joining the Veronese club on loan from FC Porto, the 20-year-old has registered five goals and two assists so far this term.
According to WhoScored.com the Argentinean has taken just two shots per game, while creating one clear scoring opportunity per 90 minutes. He also completes 2.8 dribbles per game, more than all but four players in Serie A, and he can expect the big clubs to come calling for him this summer.
Inter Beginning to Resemble a Walter Mazzarri Side in Attack
The second goal of this game was classic Walter Mazzarri, as Inter scored on the counter attack in the same manner so often on show with his previous club. Already playing the 3-5-2 system synonymous with their new coach, the Nerazzurri scored in a manner eerily similar to numerous strikes from Napoli under his guidance.
Juan Iturbe almost drew Hellas level, skipping past Hugo Campagnaro, but failed to score. Meanwhile, Inter raced up to the other end of the pitch to seal the points. Fullback Jonathan was well placed to score, providing the same cutting edge so often seen from Christian Maggio at Napoli.
And in Defence!
Just like Mazzarri’s Napoli, Inter are also porous in defence, their backline struggling despite keeping a clean sheet. A dangerous Hellas side failed to capitalise on ten shooting chances, with Nerazzurri goalkeeper Samir Handanovic having very little work to do.
Danilo D’Ambrosio Proves His Worth
Danilo D’Ambrosio has seen little action since arriving from Torino in January, struggling to find playing time as Jonathan and Yuto Nagatomo continue to impress. An injury to the Japan international meant the versatile fullback would feature on Saturday, getting a chance to show just why he was brought to Milan.
According to stats site WhoScored.com, he made three tackles, seven interceptions and three clearances, providing good balance on the left flank. Eventually replaced by the evergreen Javier Zanetti, D’Ambrosio showed that he could be a potential long-term replacement for the club captain.
Rodrigo Palacio Has Earned His New Contract
Rodrigo Palacio signed a new contract with Inter this week and opened the scoring here with his 13th goal of the season. The 32-year-old has led the way for the Nerazzurri this term, and only two players have scored more times in Serie A during 2013-14.
While many of the club’s other older players look set to leave Milan this summer, the Argentinean has continually showed why he remains their best striker. With his tally representing 46 percent of the team’s league total so far, Palacio remains a vital part of this rapidly changing team.