Disappointing Inter draw with Parma

Posted by David Wilson

Nicola Sansone GettyImagesNicola Sansone scored twice for Parma as they held Inter to a draw.

In a thrilling game at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Sunday, Inter once again failed to hold onto a lead as they drew 3-3 with Parma.

Parma went ahead on Nicola Sansone's goal in the 12th minute. Rodrigo Palacio got Inter back on level terms in the 44th, but a horrific error by Samir Handanovic gave Parma the lead at half-time.

Inter were much better in the opening part of the second half. Palacio made it 2-2 after 54 minutes before Fredy Guarin gave Inter their first lead of the game two minutes later. But it lasted only four minutes as Sansone got his second goal to tie the score again.

Inter had a chance to win it late, but Antonio Mirante made a great save to deny Esteban Cambiasso in added time.

This was a game I never felt confident that Inter was going to win. The Nerazzurri were as flat as I have seen them all season in the first half. Inter’s midfield five of Jonathan, Cambiasso, Mateo Kovacic, Ricky Alvarez and Javier Zanetti were totally dominated by Parma and Inter were lucky to be only 2-1 down at half-time.

Inter’s back three is wobbly at the best of times. But when they are under pressure, as they were on Sunday, huge gaps appear all over the back.

During the winter break, Walter Mazzarri has to take another look at this 3-5-1-1 formation. as it is not working.

In theory the two wing-backs should give Inter five defenders when defending and then they are supposed to provide the width like wingers when Inter attack. The problem is that the wing-backs either push too far forward, exposing the back three, or play too defensively, which limits Inter’s attack.

On Sunday we saw examples of both. Jonathan was focused on attacking as much as possible, which worked when his cross was turned in by Palacio for Inter’s first goal. But Jonathan’s attacking intent exposed Hugo Campagnaro, and it was clear one of Parma’s tactics coming into the game was to take advantage. They attacked consistently down their left in the first half, causing all sorts of problems for Inter.

On the Inter left, Zanetti got the start. As I mentioned last week, the Inter legend does not have the legs anymore to get up and down the left. As a result, Inter’s attacks, especially in the first half, were almost non-existent down their left. However, Zanetti’s defensive presence helped out Juan, and limited Parma’s attacks.

In the second half, Mazzarri moved Zanetti and Alvarez a little farther forward and Inter started to create more opportunities down the left. Unfortunately, while Inter looked better offensively, the move exposed Juan and Inter’s right flank and Parma took advantage to create chance after chance.

In Mazzarri’s 3-5-1-1, the three central defenders are playing between the two edges of the penalty box, and teams are exposing the width on either side of the box. This formation works when you are chasing the game, but it is not solid enough defensively to withstand any sort of substantial pressure.

There is a reason why the best teams in the world all play with a base four-man defence. It makes you stronger defensively and harder to score against. The number of goals that Inter are giving up is really worrying, considering the teams that they are playing.

Missed Opportunities

Sunday’s draw was Inter’s seventh of the season. A remarkable number considering Inter has only played 15 league games this season.

What frustrates me the most about Inter’s last three league games is that the Nerazzurri have missed a great opportunity to take advantage of a wobbly Napoli.

Rafa Benitez’s side is struggling at the moment, as they battle domestically and in Europe. The last three league games were a perfect opportunity for Inter to close the gap on Napoli ahead of next weekend’s game.

But while Napoli were only picking up four points from their last three league games, Inter was doing worse. Picking up only three points against three teams that you would expect Inter to beat -- Bologna, Sampdoria and Parma, and with two of those three games at home.

That is simply not good enough, especially with Napoli away and then the Derby della Madonnina (Milan derby) to come before the winter break.

If Inter are playing in the Europa League next season, and Napoli in the Champions League, Inter fans might look back at this spell and rue the three draws.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.