Three takeaways from Genoa 1-1 Inter: Arnautovic is no Lautaro, Gilardino showing signs of maturity as Grifone coach

Genoa were able to hold Inter to a 1-1 draw on Serie A Matchday 18. It was clear that the Nerazzurri missed their talisman Lautaro Martinez, but Alberto Gilardino has done an admirable job as Grifone coach.

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After an impressive 2023 in which Inter reached the Champions League Final and won the Coppa Italia, the Nerazzurri ended the calendar year with an underwhelming 1-1 draw away to Genoa on Serie A Matchday 18.

The Serie A leaders were put under pressure constantly by the Grifone, and they were a bit fortunate to have taken the lead after Marko Arnautovic was quick enough to get the rebound off a Nicolo Barella effort. However, the Rossoblu were not afraid of the Biscione and Radu Dragusin scored a deserved equaliser.

Inter now have 45 points, but Juventus could close the gap on them to two points with a victory against AS Roma on Saturday. Meanwhile, Genoa are comfortably midtable under Alberto Gilardino, and the former Parma, Fiorentina, and Italy Men’s National Team striker is showing that he might have what it takes to make it as a coach.

Arnautovic does not offer the same quality and attitude as Lautaro

Inter captain Lautaro Martinez was ruled out of the Genoa match with a thigh injury, which meant that Nerazzurri coach Simone Inzaghi had to start Marko Arnautovic alongside Marcus Thuram in attack. Although the Austria Men’s National Team player scored his club’s only goal of the game and his first for the Serie A campaign, he is no replacement for the Argentine.

Not only is Lautaro much more prolific, the Argentinian forward applies pressure, and combines well with teammates. It was clear that Thuram was struggling to develop an understanding with Arnautovic, and despite the goal, the Austrian veteran was eventually replaced with Alexis Sanchez.

It is clear that the performances from Arnautovic so far this season have not been satisfactory, so it is no surprise that Inter are looking at other options to boost their attacking depth in January.

Inter players Hakan Calhanoglu and Nicolo Barella in action. (@Inter_en)

Gilardino displaying significant improvement as Genoa coach

Alberto Gilardino was one of the most prolific forwards of his generation, scoring 188 goals in 514 Serie A matches as well as 19 goals in 57 matches for Italy. However, his coaching career did not get off to a glamourous start.

He began in a caretaker role at Serie D club Rezzato in 2018/19 before having disappointing spells with Pro Vercelli and Siena in Serie C. Taking over as Genoa Primavera coach in the summer of 2022 seemed like a step back, but he replaced senior coach Alexander Blessin during the 2022/23 Serie B campaign and earned them promotion to Serie A.

Gilardino lines his team up in the 3-5-2 formation, they are comfortable on the ball, and they can press high up the pitch. After earning a draw against Juventus in their previous home game, they were able to spring a surprise on Inter as well. Although the Nerazzurri had more possession and took more shots, Genoa were able to peg the giants back, and just needed more cutting edge in the penalty area.

If Gilardino can ensure that the Grifone play with effectiveness and confidence on a more consistent basis, then he’ll have a brighter future coaching at a bigger team than the Rossoblu.

Inter striker Marko Arnautovic beats an opponent to the ball. (@Inter_br)

Genoa lacking prolificacy to take them higher up the Serie A table

For all the enterprising play Genoa have, it is clear that with Mateo Retegui not being at full fitness, the Grifone are short on scoring options. The Argentinian-born Italian international replaced Caleb Ekuban in the second half and the Ghanaian showed that he is not up to standard for Serie A.

Breaking down what is often a resilient and assured Inter defence was always going to be demanding for the Rossoblu, but a fit Retegui would find space in areas which seem not to have any, and he would have stretched the Nerazzurri backline more often. Ruslan Malinovskyi also came on in the second half, but he was not able to produce one of his thunderous long-range shots to win it for the Ligurians.

If Retegui keeps struggling to stay fit, then Genoa need to purchase another striker in January who can offer more than Ekuban so they can move further away from relegation.

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