Inter overcame a two-goal deficit to win against its town opponents and go top of Serie A, beforehand of defending champion Juventus on aim difference. The new AC Milan player Zlatan Ibrahimovic was trumped on his derby by “The new King in Town”, Romelu Lukaku, who stamped his authority.
The Derby Della Madonnina between the two Milanese clubs carries a weight that can define a season to say, as it’s The Talk Of The Town for all Milan fans. The log standings for the two Italian Giants are off less importance neither during the season where neither clubs is vying for the Serie A title, Milan comes into a stand steal and it’s the “The Clash Of The Titans”
The Title Race
In recent seasons, Inter has been vulnerable to comebacks and buckling under pressure. Losing leads away to Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona in the Champions League before
crashing out of the competition on the final group stage matchday for the second season in a row have shown the mental blocks that have plagued the club.
Inter last won the Serie A back in 2010, during the transfer window Inter left no stone unturned by showing their true intentions and ambitions to compete for the title by boasting their squad with prolific signings. Inter made some waves this transfer window, Inter spent a total of €235 million on transfers in the two transfer windows this season with them breaking their record transfer fee twice during that time, firstly to sign Nicolo Barella from Cagliari and secondly to sign Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United. The Nerazzurri club meanwhile sold €124 million worth of assets, including the circa €20 million sales of Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa to Flamengo, meaning the club has a negative net transfer spend of -€111 million. Spanish giants Real Madrid have the worst negative net transfer spend of all clubs in Europe with -€181 million. Premier League club Aston Villa is second with -€169 million and Barcelona third with -€166 million.
At the opposite end of the scale, Chelsea had the best net transfer spend as they spent just €45 million but earned €250 million in sales thus meaning a positive net transfer spend of +€205 million.
After 23 Serie A, Games
The biggest short-term implication of the win comes at the top of the Serie A table. With Juventus’ late loss to Hellas Verona, Inter has moved back ahead of the title holders on goal difference. Inter missed out on a similar chance to take advantage of Juventus dropping points earlier in the season. This came in October when Inter could only manage a 2-2 draw with Parma after Juventus drew 1-1 away to Lecce. Juventus has also missed out on chances to put Inter away. The most recent example is Juventus’ loss to Napoli on January 26 after Inter’s draw with Cagliari earlier in the day.
Both teams missing chances to initiate that bit of killer instinct has allowed for the tightest title race in Europe’s top five leagues this season. Inter, Juventus, and Lazio all currently sit within at most one point of each other. After 21 matches, Inter and Juventus both sit on 54 points while Lazio is just one off the pace with 53.
In My Opinion :
- Conte’s Philosophy
Manager Antonio Conte’s coaching philosophies rely heavily on creating a winning mentality to push average to slightly above average players to another level, as seen in his previous Juventus, Italy, and Chelsea sides. Before Inter’s comeback, Conte’s winning mentality had been seen in glimpses, such as Inter’s late wins against Slavia Prague away in the Champions League and at home against Hellas Verona. Now with such a huge win on the field and off in the minds of the players, Conte’s methods may very well take full hold at the club.
- Boaster To The Squad
The return of suspended striker Lautaro Martinez and the fresher midfield legs of both the new transfer Christian Eriksen and the injury-plagued Stefano Sensi will be crucial in this run of seven matches in 23 days. The absence of goalkeeper and captain Samir Handanovic will be a huge miss. Handanovic’s backup, former Torino goalkeeper Daniele Padelli, hasn’t convinced. The concern means the club may possibly resort to free agent Emiliano Viviano to stand-in. One thing is clear, Inter will face an uphill battle over the next few weeks, but the comeback against Milan may have set the tone for a strong run.
- Maintaining the Momentum
Against AC Milan, Inter was able to shake the mental blocks that have been wreaking havoc and complete a comeback of their own. They also further proved that they can handle the pressure of a title race, coming back from 0-2 down to claim a win when everyone inside the stadium knew the three points at stake were crucial to the title race. A comeback of such significance is a huge step forward for Inter’s mentally.
Within the next few weeks, Inter has a two-legged Coppa Italia semifinal against Napoli, another two-legged tie in the Europa League round of 32 with Bulgarian side Ludogorets, as well as potential title-deciding matches against direct rivals Juventus and Lazio. By March 5, Inter could either solidify their positions in their three competitions or unravel in real-time. The comeback against Milan could be the result the club needed to push through the coming weeks, where important matches will be coming thick and fast. While last March’s Milan Derby cooled off a hot AC Milan side, it could ignite this season’s Inter in their quest for a first trophy since 2011.
The first indications of whether or not Inter will be propelled to the next level by the result will come from the first leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal on Wednesday, at home to Napoli. The turnaround is quick from Sunday to Wednesday and both teams will surely be looking to put out strong teams. Napoli sits 11th in the Serie A standings after losing at home to Lecce on Sunday. Despite their position, they still have a strong squad and will be looking at the Coppa as their best bet to salvage a trophy this season. Conte also has to keep an eye on the weekend, as the match up with Lazio in Rome looms large.
Serie A is usually coming into life and being competitive and the battle is far from over, who will be crowned Champions of Serie A, between :
- Inter Milan
I say “The Glory Days” are indeed back in Milan. Who’s your money on?
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