Three key features of Inzaghi’s defensive success: What makes Inter the best defence in Europe?

Inter are yet to concede a goal in Serie A this season and some subtle changes to Simone Inzaghi's team have led to such a strong defensive start to the campaign.


Following the departure of key central defender Milan Skriniar from Inter to PSG this summer, concerns were raised about the Nerazzurri‘s defence heading into the 2023/24 Serie A campaign.

However, coach Simone Inzaghi responded to the critics, deploying a defensive unit that no opposition has managed to break through so far, guiding his side to their best-ever start to a new season in 57 years. As it stands, Inter currently sit at the top of the Serie A standings with a perfect record of nine points out of nine available, easing past Monza, Cagliari, and Fiorentina.

In their opening three fixtures of the new season, the Beneamata notched eight goals and have yet to concede a single goal in 270 minutes of open play, making Inter the best defence across all of Europe at the moment. La Gazzetta dello Sport have highlighted numerous key features of Inzaghi‘s “new” defensive unit.

A front-foot high line and aggressive press

Lautaro Martinez, Marcus Thuram and Alessandro Bastoni celebrate. (@Inter)

Inzaghi has seemingly moved away from a low-defensive block and has implemented an aggressive high line when Inter are not in possession, resulting in the Milanese club regaining the ball higher up the pitch and making it difficult for the opposition to get out of their own half.

The Italian tactician attempted to play with a high line in the early stages of the 2022/23 season. Consequently, Inter were in total disarray on the pitch, suffering four losses in their first eight matches of the campaign.

However, the Nerazzurri are clearly much more swift now as their timing has been impeccable when moving vertically, resulting in conceding very few chances so far.

The relentless work rate of the midfield

Hakan Calhanoglu celebrates a goal with Juan Cuadrado and Marko Arnautovic. (@Inter)

Inzaghi‘s three in the midfield have been ruthless, working extremely hard off the ball in order to execute an assertive counter-press, causing opponents to struggle when attempting to attack through the middle of the pitch.

A vital aspect of the remarkable work in the midfield has been the superb performances of Hakan Calhanoglu.

The Turkish international has filled the void at the base of the midfield following the departure of Marcelo Brozovic in fine fashion, displaying his astounding tactical awareness and incredible reading of the game when breaking up play.

The resurgence of Stefan de Vrij

Stefan de Vrij waves at the Inter crowd. [@Inter]

For some time, it seemed that Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij was on the decline after some dreadful performances last season, forcing Inzaghi to drop the former Lazio defender from the starting eleven in favour of veteran defender Francesco Acerbi for the majority of the 2022/23 campaign.

However, the 31-year-old has taken full advantage of Acerbi being injured for the opening three fixtures this season to prove his worth to the Nerazzurri.

The Dutchman has shown signs of his incredible form throughout the 2021/22 title-winning campaign under Antonio Conte, as he has been mentally sharp and physically strong, serving as the backbone that holds the defensive line together.


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