Having both recorded just four wins from their opening seven league games, Inter and AS Roma were in a similar position as Serie A returned from the international break, with the Nerazzurri sitting just one point behind the Giallorossi.
Yet, a more detailed look highlighted a larger gap between the two sides in terms of what they had showed so far. While the stats put José Mourinho‘s team up there amongst the more wasteful sides due to their difficulties to take their chances, the Nerazzurri faced a wide array of issues.
They include their defensive fragility and the inability to both respond to adversity and protect the advantage when in front.
Inter depleted by injuries ahead of AS Roma clash
In fact, as much as it appeared a bit too harsh, their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Roma on Saturday evening proved that the international break was not enough to fix things and stop what is starting to look like a landslide.
The situation didn’t look good by the time the official line-ups were out. As expected, Simone Inzaghi was forced to replace the injured Marcelo Brozovic by giving Kristjan Asllani his first start of the season, and hopes of having Romelu Lukaku back were dashed in the days preceding the encounter.
On the other side, not only did Roma see Paulo Dybala recover from injury, they also opted to leave Tammy Abraham on the bench, providing Mourinho with an additional option to count on in order to change what was already expected to be a very balanced contest.
Inter started well before losing their way
Despite still not looking as fluid in build-up as they did last season, the Nerazzurri looked like the better side in the first half, although Federico Dimarco’s opener was spoiled quickly after by Handanovic’s failed attempt to keep Dybala’s volley out.
The hosts also came the close to scoring a second after the interval, as they saw a sensational free-kick from Hakan Calhanoglu hit the woodwork, but once again it took them a single distraction to spoil all the work, as Chris Smalling was given the freedom to jump and meet Lorenzo Pellegrini‘s cross into the box and head in the winner.
Such mistakes have already been costing Inter too many points and can’t be tolerated anymore unless their title credentials are considered no more than a joke.
It looks like Inzaghi has been trying to transform Inter into something different, but all the positives from last season, such as an unmatched build up from the back and their impressive offensive creativity, have been lost along the way.
It is now hard to imagine how the current gaffer can help his side reverse the trend as he seems to have few other ideas – in fact, he may not even be given a chance to do so if Inter lose their sixth game across all competitions in the space of less then two months when they face Barcelona on Tuesday in a crucial Champions League clash.