AC Milan and Inter hold the top two positions in the Serie A table, with only the latter’s derby win separating them in terms of points.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) recall that it is 20 years since the Milanese sides amassed this many points (27) after 10 combined games, so they have compared the two sides department.
Inter’s midfield is the core of their strength, the centre of their power, especially since Hakan Calhanoglu has sublimated himself from attacking midfielder to regista well. Simone Inzaghi then placed Mkhitaryan’s technical and tactical intelligence alongside him.
How much the department are missing without the leadership of the Turk seemed clear against Real Sociedad. The arrival of a player like Frattesi – who can give Barella a break – has increased the productivity of the sector.
The numbers speak for themselves: Inter first in goals with 14 (Milan 10), in shots with 97 (Milan 53) and in assists, 11 (Milan 7).
Inzaghi’s is a machine are running on full steam, but Stefano Pioli can also be satisfied with his midfielders. Reijnders immediately showed technique, tactical intelligence and a very Dutch multi-functionality. Ruben Loftus-Cheek brought size and personality. Musah is growing.
When Chukwueze is as confident and aggressive as he was in La Liga and echoes Leao’s attacks, Pioli will have fun. Milan have a lot of room for growth, even in the handling of the ball.
Dumfries got off to a flying start (2 assists, one goal) while Dimarco went from strength to strength with 3 assists and a goal. The prize for the first five days goes to them.
The Rossoneri full-backs must improve their condition and deliver more deliveries to the strikers, given that for now there is only one assist (from Calabria). The average rating also explains it: Calabria 5.87, Theo 6.25, Dimarco 6.62, Dumfries 6.75.
Inzaghi’s defence was better with only one goal conceded, seven less than a year ago. Pioli’s side have conceded seven – two more than a year ago – but the number is influenced by the defeat suffered in the derby, when the Rossoneri paid for the absences of Tomori and Kalulu plus Thiaw’s bad day.
The different protection of the other departments also made the difference. Balls recovered: Calhanoglu 12, Mkhitaryan 11; Loftus-Cheek 3, Reijnders 2. Milan’s dam is almost exclusively Krunic: 11 stolen balls and 6 interceptions like Calha.
As such, the underrated Krunic will be sorely missed in the heart of midfield. To recover impermeability, Pioli used Pobega and Musah while changing the formation to create more density in between the lines.
Inter also benefited from the great work in the passing lanes of Thuram and Lautaro (five interceptions), while Leao and Giroud do not have a single interception.
The two players with the best average rating in the championship are the two Inter forwards: Lautaro (7.5) and Thuram (7.25). The Argentine is top scorer (five goals), while the Frenchman scored one and assisted two.
The first five days have shattered the nostalgia for Lukaku and Dzeko. Thuram has shown he can play as a runner in behind but also as a lethal finisher. Having lost Arnautovic, Inzaghi can also use Sanchez’s technical talent.
Giroud also started well with four goals and three assists. However, when things get tough and the opponent defend well, the Diavolo struggle to score as the Inter and Newcastle games show.
Pioli, who doesn’t have a Thuram-type figure due to an ‘imperfect market’, must hope that Okafor and Jovic grow and focus strongly and that the pure talent of Leao (three goals in the last three league games) keeps going.