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“Internazionale took the field this weekend fielding a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation. Giampaolo Pazzini was chosen to lead the line, with Samuel Eto’o and Philipe Coutinho forced out into the wider positions.

Despite winning the game 3-1, Inter showed they still have flaws in their side. Top of the list, a distinct lack of width; this will be apparent to any fan of the team who has watched them over the last few seasons. Inter tend to follow a trend amongst Serie A teams, not to play with wingers; the last proper winger the club had was Ricardo Quaresma, and things didn’t exactly work out well with the Portuguese player.

Traditionally, Italian teams have relied on the fullbacks to provide the width for their side. Inter’s great team of the 60’s featured the remarkable Giacinto Facchetti at left back, a player who was renowned for his surging runs and regular goal contributions. Nowadays, the side rely on the Brazilian, Maicon, to create space for his team-mates and his lung-busting runs have ended up in many a goal and assist.

Yet this season, Maicon hasn’t been himself. He’s struggled for form and fitness. When the team’s needed him, he’s been found lacking. This is where the argument for the use of a winger becomes significant; had Inter kept hold of Jonathan Biabiany then at least they would have someone who resembled such a player. A winger could slot into the right side of the team, drag the opposition defenders out of position, creating space for Eto’o and Pazzini to make darting runs into. Add to this the potential service to the strikers from crosses, it could turn games in the Nerazurri’s favour.

This season, Napoli have demonstrated the effectiveness of using width to attack the opposition. They play a 3-6-1 formation, featuring three centre-backs and two wingbacks. Andrea Dossena and Christian Maggio are key to Napoli’s success. They are able to launch swift counter-attacks, stunning their opponents and can whip crosses into a waiting triumvirate of Cavani, Lavezzi and Hamsik. Opposition teams cannot cope with the speed which the team move the ball from back to front and their often slow defence are left exposed.

When Jose Mourinho arrived at Inter, one of his first demands was for Moratti to sign him a winger. This was done by signing the enigma that is one Ricardo Quaresma. The transfer didn’t work out, not because Inter couldn’t fit a winger into their system, but because Quaresma’s attitude was poor and he didn’t apply himself adequately. Mourinho’s next step was to employ Samuel Eto’o as a winger, sacrificing his goal-scoring threat, but his work-rate compensated for this. Had Quaresma applied himself properly, it would have been fascinating to see how he’d combine with Eto’o and Pazzini in the present side.

This summer, Inter need to sign a winger. This could be Alexis Sanchez, the Chilean of Udinese. Personally, I’d like to see us move for Roma’s winger Jérémy Menez. The French player is reportedly set to leave the Gialorossi this summer and a move to the Club World Champions could be tempting. He’d provide some spark to an offence which recently has looked bereft of ideas. Realistically, when Pep Guardiola becomes manager this summer, he can persuade Leo Messi to follow him. We can all dream right?”

Ryan Ross

I became enthralled with Calcio back in the 90’s, when James Richardson presented Football Italia. My early mornings were spent following the trials and tribulations of Internazionale, during a period where they always flattered to deceive. It took a Frenchman to get me hooked though; Youri Djorkaeff, my favourite player of all time. This guy was key to Inter’s midfield, never mind his role in France’s World Cup win in 1998! I have a keen interest in Calcio’s rich history.

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  • Walker

    Interesting to see if the Argentine connection at Inter can entice Carlos Tevez away from Manchester City this summer.

  • Ted

    We saw how Inter played with wingers against Schalke 05. It wasn’t pretty to say the least.

  • Ryan R

    I really don’t think Tevez is what they need…another expensive forward who won’t alter what they have…and how will it affect their perfomance under Financial Fair Play??

    Unless they offload another expensive player, such as Maicon (something they should have done last summer), to offset the costs, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

    The problem against Schalke was Leonardo being unable to respond to the opposition’s tactics in a high pressure situation; it was a disaster. But I don’t think it’s fair to use that as ana example as to why not to aign wingers.

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