If Inter learned one thing from their 3-1 Serie A defeat at Lazio, it was that they are not the kind of team that can be allowed for themselves to be distracted for even a minute, even when the game looks in control.
While the Nerazzurri’s 3-1 victory against Cremonese has helped quickly get back on track after their first seasonal loss, it hasn’t dispelled all the doubts surrounding the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza outfit.
After drawing huge criticism for some controversial calls against the Biancocelesti, such as the one which saw him replace Denzel Dumfries and Romelu Lukaku at once midway through the second half, coach Simone Inzaghi made some more bold choices – with the Belgian sidelined with a thigh injury, he opted to field Joaquin Correa beside Edin Dzeko, benching Lautaro Martinez.
Regardless of the coach’s tweaks, Inter started on the front foot and took as little as 12 minutes to find the opener through Joaquin Correa, before doubling their lead with a stunning Nicolo Barella volley.
Cremonese exposed Inter’s weaknesses
Yet, despite ending the first half with a two-goal cushion, the Nerazzurri never really showed signs of what they did so well when they were at their best last season by wearing opponents out through their possession-based football, with a rock-solid defence also preventing them from having too many issues.
In fact, they instead showed the worst of their 2021/22 form and gave the impression that something could go wrong at any moment.
It wasn’t the case against Cremonese though, even if they still posed a tricky test for Inter. Unlike many other newcomers, the Grigiorossi were not scared of pressing high and leaving space behind them, as much as such a bold approach ended up facilitating the hosts’ attacks.
And in spite of what the scoreline suggests, the visitors created several potentially-dangerous chances, only lacking the sharpness required to take them. It was notably David Okereke to trouble the Biscione’s defensive line with his runs and speed, although the rearguard somehow managed to calm all threats until the closing minutes, when the Nigerian forward found the net with a nice curled effort.
The pattern, however, is clear – while Inter can boast an enormous offensive potential, even with their biggest summer signing sidelined, they don’t possess the qualities needed to strike a balance between threatening on the front foot while also being solid.
Their weaknesses are still easily exposed when they lose the ball and have to cope with fast transitions and pacy opponents.
It might just be a matter of time for them to find the right setup, but sterner tests await Inter and Inzaghi certainly has something to work on. Saturday’s Derby della Madonnina against AC Milan will probably give us a better idea as to what stage of the process they are at the moment.