Henrikh Mkhitaryan may have netted an injury-time winner to give Inter all three points at the Stadio Artemio Franchi against Fiorentina on Saturday night, but the contribution of Lautaro Martinez during their 4-3 win secured the striker our Serie A Player of the Week for Matchday 11.
With some of those above them in the league standings – Atalanta, AS Roma and Udinese – all losing at the weekend, the Nerazzurri are now just three points off La Dea in the final Champions League qualification place and will hope to be within the top four when the season pauses for the World Cup next month.
Fast start in Florence for Inter
Despite the nervous end to the match in Tuscany, Inter had raced into an early lead and looked dominant even when Arthur Cabral reduced the arrears from the penalty spot on 33 minutes.
After just 97 seconds, the Lautaro showed quick reactions to feed Nicolo Barella for the opener.
Shortly afterward, Lautaro made the most of some lack-lustre defending from the Viola. Bursting through the middle of the pitch and avoiding several half-hearted challenges and sending a shot past Pietro Terracciano. The goal made the South American the first player since countryman Diego Milito, in January 2011, to score and assist in the opening 15 minutes of a Serie A fixture.
After Jonathan Ikone equalised on 60 minutes with an impressive strike, it was Lautaro who stepped forward again to drive Inter forward. Winning and converting a penalty 13 minutes later and became the only Serie A player this term to have converted goals with both his right and left foot the league this season.
Vital midfield contribution
Although Lautaro is the standout performer for the Nerazzurri at the moment, coach Simone Inzaghi will still appreciate the contribution from further back, with Barella and Mkhitaryan scoring either side of Martinez in Florence. With the ex-Arsenal and Manchester United man one of four midfielders involved in 50 or more Serie A goals since 2019/20.
However, Barella is now as dispensable for Inter as the Argentine striker, having found the net in three consecutive outings. The first time since 2016, when Ivan Perisic went on a four-game run. While the Italian international also became the youngest midfielder involved in a half-century of goals, since debuting for Cagliari in 2014/15.