Milan is destroyed by Inter, Man United is defeated, Barcelona is outstanding, and more

Sep 24, 2023

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LONDON, England – Last week the international break came to an end, and this weekend European club soccer made a triumphant return, with some significant victories and unexpected outcomes to talk about. Manchester United suffered a humiliating 3 to 1 loss at home to Brighton in the season’s first Milan derby, while Barcelona put on arguably their best performance of the year in their demolition of Real Betis.

Real Madrid, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City, and Tottenham were among the teams with newsworthy victories that could be found elsewhere.

The word “pragmatism” has a bad reputation in football since it is frequently used by pundits to signify “defensive,” although it is just poor word choice. It entails adaptability, being able to identify the optimum strategy for a given game and really being able to use it. And Simone Inzaghi, the coach of Inter, does just that.

His entire team has played possession, pressed, and committed guys forward as evidenced by our observations. We have also seen them perform in a manner like how they did in the derby match on Saturday against Milan: giving up the ball and making devastating breaks on the way to a convincing 5 to 1 triumph.

True, Inter seized the lead early once more, but winning in sports is much simpler when you are ahead. But it is also true that they gave off the impression that they were in charge the entire time, especially after Rafael Leo got one back and cut their lead in half.

Let us acknowledge Inzaghi for two other accomplishments. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Hakan alhanolu’s transformation from offensive midfielders into all-arounders is the first. Since both were nearing the end of their careers, it was accomplished during last season, making it even more impressive. That involves more than simply tactics; it also involves people skills and emotional intelligence.

The second is the speed with which Inter has adapted to Marcus Thuram replacing Edin Dzeko and Romelu Lukaku. Although the Frenchman is tall and powerful, his skill set is completely different from that of the men he replaced. However, his collaboration with Lautaro Martnez has been a great success.

After a strong start to the season, Milan was dealt a severe blow by this. Being forced to play right-back Davide Calabria in midfield like he was a mix between Joo Cancelo and Dani Alves looks like a horrible decision, and manager Stefano Pioli is taking heat for some of his decisions.

Does he feel compelled to do it because Rade Krunic, his deepest positioned midfielder, isn’t a playmaker? When Ismael Bennacer is healthy again, perhaps, and hopefully things will get better. Until then, Milan will struggle if they go behind against a side that plays tight defense and looks to attack on the break unless they receive a magical performance from one of their players (Leao, Theo Hernandez, Christian Pulisic), a set-piece, or both. That presents a challenge.

It is too soon to tell whether they can repeat their successes from the previous season, and I don’t enjoy what they did in the summer (adding Benjamin Pavard and former reserve strikers, for starters), but despite their financial limitations, they appear to be competitive once more. Inzaghi, who is once again demonstrating how many people were mistaken to underestimate him for so long, bears a large portion of that responsibility.

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