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Creating the Squad to Save Inter Milan's Season

Alessandro RaffaContributor IISeptember 15, 2011

Creating the Squad to Save Inter Milan's Season

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    With three losses in three competitive games in charge of Inter, Gian Piero Gasperini's ability to manage this team's talents look to be minimal. He will need to drastically alter his side's formation, tactics and mentality if they are to salvage their season.

    In this slideshow, I will attempt to assess Inter's squad and find the best formation to bring out the talents that this team possesses. I will also ignore current injuries and suspensions and use the best squad that Inter can possibly put forth. 

Goalkeeper: Julio Cesar

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    Inter's best option at Goalkeeper is Julio Cesar and despite his recent blunders, there is really no debate to this one. When he is on form and mentally ready, he is a World-Class keeper with phenomenal physical talents and can be a leader from his position.

    Unfortunately, he has not been able to replicate his Champions League winning form over the last year and has even looked shaky on international duty with Brazil. The goals scored by Palermo and Trabzonspor were soft (argue with that all you want, positioning was his problem in Palermo and the more you watch Trab's goal, the more you wish he would not have retracted his hand as the ball rolled across the face of goal). He does not seem to be in the right place mentally. A clean sheet and a few consecutive wins should restore his confidence.

    Inter's backup is Luca Castellazzi and he is an unspectacular but solid No. 2 option for Inter. Emiliano Viviano is the most talented option behind Julio Cesar, but he is on his way to Genoa in January. Paolo Orlandoni is not a reliable keeper and should not factor into Inter's season, unless injuries wreak havoc on the position. 

Right Wing Back: Maicon

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    I have determined that it would be best for the team to have wing-backs, because Inter possess outside backs who are tremendously talented going forward and it would be a shame to limit their abilities and ask them to stay deep.

    When healthy and on form, there is no better right back in World Football than Maicon (insert attack from Dani Alves fan's here). A leader for this team, with Championship winning experience and qualities that have made him a nightmare for Serie A defenses over the last few years, Maicon would be a critical part of an Inter team that could save our season. His exploits going forward are on another level and although he is not what he used to be (He is now 31) , it is still difficult to argue that he be left out of any starting 11 that Inter could use.

    Jonathan is the primary backup for Maicon and possesses similar qualities, but at age 24. Still learning the odds and ends of the European game, he should prosper learning from his Brazilian counterpart for the year.

    J.Zanetti and Yuto Nagatomo could also appear on the right side for Inter this season, but are likely to fill other roles on the pitch.

    Youngster Marco Davide Faraoni has shown flashes of talent and the potential to make this position his own in the future.   

Center Back: Lucio

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    Inter's best option at Center Back is the imposing Brazilian enforcer, Lucio. The 33-year-old defender has the experience and passion to help Inter get back on top. He understands what it takes to be a leader (Captain Brazil) and has never been under pressure for not giving his full effort during a match.

    An Inter back-line without Lucio would be one lacking tenacity and Inter needs his effort in order to turn their season around. Arguing that Lucio should be left out of Inter's best possible side is futile and we should expect to see more of him, barring injury.

    Inter's best backup at Center Back is Walter Samuel. His experience off the bench should give confidence to the rest of the team.

    Cordoba and Chivu are likely to see some minutes at Center Back against weaker teams.

    The most promising youngsters at this position for Inter are Luca Caldirola and Matteo Bianchetti.  

Center Back: Andrea Ranocchia

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    Seen as Italy's future at this position and my first potentially controversial pick, heir to Marco Materazzi's No. 23, Andrea Ranocchia should be starting next to Lucio in Inter's team to save their season.

    Yes, he has been prone to mistakes in the past, but his composure and confidence have never been higher and it is time to take advantage of his potential. At 23 years old, Inter can no longer justify keeping him on the bench because at this point in his career, if he is not playing, he will not reach his potential.

    This is a critical year for his career, because with enough confidence and playing time, He can finally reach the next step in his career and be considered a top Italian Center Back. Walter Samuel is a great Center Back, but Ranocchia is Italy's starting Center Back and it is time to unleash his talents. Playing alongside Lucio for another year should help his growth and justify his high expectations.

    Inter's best backup at Center Back is Walter Samuel. His experience off the bench should give confidence to the rest of the team. 

    Cordoba and Chivu are likely to see some minutes at Center Back against weaker teams.

    The most promising youngsters at this position for Inter are Luca Caldirola and Matteo Bianchetti

Left Wing Back: Yuto Nagatomo

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    Inter's Japanese Sensation, Yuto Nagatomo, is too talented to keep on the bench and is ready to become a regular member of Inter's starting 11. Just like Maicon, his abilities going forward are top class and he has performed well for Inter in the Wing Back role.

    He always gives his best effort and his speed and determination make him a dangerous opponent for anyone to face. He does all things well and has received nothing but praise from his coaches. I believe that if Inter are to get out of their slump, Nagatomo will need to step up and show his quality.

    Backing up Yuto will be Javier Zanetti. His experience in the role and versatility will allow him to sufficiently cover for Nagatomo and occasionally spell him to give Nagatomo a rest.

    Chivu can also play in this role, but his age and lack of pace will hinder him against Football's best wingers.

    Obi is an outside choice if an injury crisis hits, but he is not good enough defensively and he does not possess the familiarity to play the position well. 

Holding Midfielder: Esteban Cambiasso

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    Esteban Cambiasso has been asked to play further up the pitch recently and his form has not been as exceptional as it used to be, when he was voted Inter's best player two years in a row.

    I believe that the Forward Runs of Nagatomo and Maicon necessitate a holding midfielder to provide cover and I will be placing Cambiasso back where he belongs. He is a World Class holding midfielder and arguably one of Inter's best ever examples of business (arrived from Real Madrid on a free transfer) and has been at the heart of Inter's major successes in recent years.

    I can not justify leaving him out of this lineup and I believe he will flourish in his original home, deep in the center of the field, breaking up opposition attacks and instilling confidence in his teammates.

    Thiago Motta is the logical option to be placed in the position if Cambiasso is absent, But Inter have many options, although not great ones.

    Stankovic, Poli, Obi, Muntari, and Crisetig could all play in a deep role for the team. 

Deep-Lying Playmaker: Thiago Motta

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    Thiago Motta is at his best when he is able to win the ball off his opponents, play simple passes to his attacking counterparts and provide an option for a backwards pass to restart their attack. He is deadly efficient at doing this, over, and over, and over and over again.

    Mourinho used him in this role and he developed into one of the best midfielders in the world. He can frustrate opponents defensively and keep things simple for his teammates.

    Inter have been trying to complete complex attacks. They need a player who can slow things down and keep play simple. When he is back from injury, I expect Thiago to grow into an even greater role for his team and become the play-making option they need deep in the field. 

    It is hard to find a player that can do what Thiago Motta does and as efficiently as he does it, but other options would be Stankovic, Poli, and Obi.

    Esteban Cambiasso has been asked to play this role in Thiago Motta's absence in the past, so he could fit this role as well.  

Box-to-Box Midfielder: Javier Zanetti

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    This was a tough choice, but I ultimately feel that Javier Zanetti's presence on the field for Inter is crucial. The Box-to-Box role is one that requires incredible stamina and ability to break up opposition movement, as well as provide an aggressive option going forward.

    Although I originally selected Stankovic to occupy this role, I eventually realized that Zanetti's leadership and effort are too valuable to be kept on the bench. The point of this lineup is to create the team that will bring Inter out of their slump and into success, and Javier Zanetti possesses the qualities to do so. 

    As I said before, Dejan Stankovic would be the best option to back Zanetti up in this role, but T.Motta, Poli, Cambiasso and Obi could all see playing time at this role. We can expect the most changes from this position as it is the one that requires the most versatility.  

Advanced Playmaker: Wesley Sneijder

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    Inter's best player and most crucial part of their system is Wesley Sneijder. Sneijder is arguably the best in the world at his position and needs to be on the field if Inter are to achieve any sort of success.

    Playing Sneijder in his natural position and keeping him comfortable is something that Gasperini should understand is important to the overall benefit of his team. A comfortable Sneijder is devastating for any team to come up against and he is one of a few players in the world that can change a game on their own.

    Giving Sneijder the keys to run the offense and unleash his abilities upon Inter's opponents is, in my opinion, the main component that can pull Inter out of this slump.

    Sneijder backups are young but promising. New arrival Ricardo Alvarez is likely to see time in a play-making role as he becomes comfortable in Italy and Coutinho will also be expected to provide fireworks for Inter in his second season with the team. 

Deep-Lying Forward: Diego Forlan

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    Inter's most high profile acquisition, Diego Forlan, will play a large role in Inter's offense for the upcoming year. As a deep-lying forward, Forlan's job will be to support the striker from a deeper position, picking up the ball and running from deep to create chances.

    Forlan's attributes suit this role and would allow him to be comfortable in his natural position and shine in his first season in Milan. Having Sneijder to support him and a striker to play off of, Forlan can be devastating for Inter in this role and help bring the team success.

    Possible backups for Forlan would include both Ricardo Alvarez and Coutinho—as well as Castaignos—but the most likely option is Mauro Zarate, and he could split time with Forlan in this position.

Target Man: Diego Milito

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    I chose to go with Diego Milito instead of Pazzini here because I believe that Milito offers more in the buildup of play than Pazzini does. The role of the target man is to hold up the ball for his teammates to advance into better positions and to take advantage of goalscoring opportunities in the box.

    Few are better than Diego in this role and he can return to his incredible form of a few seasons back with a bit of confidence. He will be crucial to helping end Inter's slump with his goalscoring exploits. 

    Giampaolo Pazzini is a devastating option for Inter off the bench and I believe he makes a greater impact on the side when he enter the game during the later stages. Milito starts better and Pazzini ends better. Either way it is a great combination to have.

    Luc Castaignos and Diego Forlan could also be asked to assume this role.

Tactics

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    • The Team sits relatively deep, but springs forward quick counterattacks.
    • The Central Defenders, as well as the Holding Midfielder stay deep, where their lack of pace will not be exploited.
    • The Wing Backs hold an advanced position, forcing the opposition's wingers backwards, and are allowed to make forward runs, where the Box-to-Box and Holding midfielders provide cover.
    • The Deep Lying Playmaker sits in the Center of Midfield and provides supporting passes, while the Box-to-Box midfielder is expected to provide both offensive and defensive cover.
    • The Advanced Playmaker sits in the hole behind the Forwards and provides through balls and Penetrating passes.
    • The Deep Lying Forward has the option of tracking back to provide support for the Advanced Playmaker if he is caught too deep, going wide to stretch the defense and provide a different option or moving into an advanced position seeking a through ball over the top.
    • The Target Man stays in the box and drags defenders with him on his runs to create space for his teammates. In the box he has the liberty to take the shot and must be a potent goalscorer.
    • Tempo is quick and the goal is for the ball to get forward as quickly as possible rather than retain possession.
    • Bench: L.Castellazzi, G.Pazzini, D. Stankovic, W.Samuel, M.Zarate, Jonathan, R.Alvarez
    • Reserves: P.Coutinho, L.Castaignos, Obi, A.Poli, C.Chivu. 

Thoughts?

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    Agree, Disagree? Comments, Criticisms, Questions? Let me know what you think! Twitter: @FCInterBlogGFT

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