🇮🇹 Inter jump into second after heaping further misery on rivals Milan | OneFootball

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Chloe Digby·6 February 2023

🇮🇹 Inter jump into second after heaping further misery on rivals Milan

Article image:🇮🇹 Inter jump into second after heaping further misery on rivals Milan

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A Milan derby win that puts you up to second in the table and heaps further misery on your cross-city rivals?

That sounds like an outcome that would be pretty high on most Inter fans’ wish lists, and that’s exactly what happened on Sunday evening.

There was plenty of talk of an emergency in the Milan ranks after a 5-2 humiliation at home to Sassuolo had followed a 4-0 thumping handed out by Lazio, prompting boss Stefano Pioli to move the narrative away from retaining the Scudetto to affirming that the target was simply to qualify for the Champions League.

Pioli had responded to calls to change the formation – from the 4-2-3-1 he has preferred throughout his career – to a 3-5-2 ahead of this huge derby fixture, as well as dropping Rafael Leão to the bench.

Such a cautious approach meant that Milan registered no shots on goal in the opening 45 minutes of the match as opposed to nine from Inter, and the final score meant that the Rossoneri had lost four consecutive matches for the first time since February 2017.

Article image:🇮🇹 Inter jump into second after heaping further misery on rivals Milan

“It’s clear recently we had not been solid defensively, so we thought these were the right positions to take against a team like Inter,” Pioli admitted after the match. “It was still not our intention to only defend, we struggled to get past their initial press, including their strikers.

“I don’t regret it, because considering all I saw during the week and in this match, the positions I wanted to take and the shape of the team, this was the right choice.”

The Italian newspapers disagreed, as Corriere dello Sport spoke of a Milan side ‘deep in crisis’ and Gazzetta dello Sport offering that the change of formation had come from a ‘place of fear’.

How much time Pioli has left to save his job is still up for debate, but his side’s shortcomings helped Inter to a perfect derby win this weekend.

And elsewhere …

Highlights available in UK and Ireland only

Serie A leaders Napoli just keep marching on. Luciano Spalletti’s side now sit 13 points ahead of Inter with only 21 games played after a 3-0 win over Spezia.

Summer signing Khvicha Kvaratskhelia continues to live up to his ‘Kvaradona’ nickname, as he became one of a select group of only five players to reach double figures for goals and assists this season. Only Lionel Messi, Neymar, Randal Kolo Muani and Serge Gnabry have reached that mark already, and what’s more Kvaratskhelia is still only 21 years old.

Roma made it three wins from four in the league as Paulo Dybala was once again the driving force behind the attack. The former Juventus man weighed in with another two assists to make it six for the season as Tammy Abraham continued his good form with his second goal in his last three league outings.

After a stunning 5-2 demolition of Milan at San Siro last weekend, could Sassuolo follow up that incredible result with another win?

The answer was yes, as their 1-0 victory made sure they won back-to-back games against opponents who began the matchday in the top four places for the first time ever. The Neroverdi now sit in the relative comfort of 15th place after it had looked like they might even be dragged into the relegation battle.

😱 Goal of the Weekend

Armand Laurienté is part-way through only his first season in Serie A after moving to Sassuolo from Lorient in the summer, but he’s certainly making his mark.

His goal against Atalanta not only won his side the game, but was the best of the weekend in the Italian top flight as he launched a rocket from the corner of the penalty area with superb technique.

The 24-year-old is one to watch, as he has now scored four goals and provided three assists in his first 15 Serie A starts, but also ranks third in the league for key passes with an average of 2.8 per game.

🥇 Player of the Weekend

Victor Osimhen one of the most talked about players in Europe this season, and he did nothing to dampen that enthusiasm as he delivered a brace against Spezia this weekend to take his tally to 16 goals in 16 league starts for Napoli.

In fact, the Nigeria international is only the fourth player in the club’s history to score 16 goals in the first 21 Serie A games of the season, joining Luis Vinicio from 1956, Edinson Cavani in the 2012/13 campaign and Gonzalo Higuaín on his way to a record breaking year in 2016.