Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce – tactical analysis - tactics
Artwork by @chapulana

Inter’s debut could not have been better after facing Lecce, one of the newly promoted teams. Inter’s resounding victory left several important points for tactical analysis to review. The team led by Antonio Conte wants to fight for Serie A and take the throne from Juventus. That’s why Inter reinforced themselves with several players and made a big investment during the transfer market. In addition, the hiring of Antonio Conte is logical for a team that wants to return to places of privilege.

The following tactical analysis will show us Inter’s tactical and strategic changes for this season. This tactical analysis will also show how Inter easily defeated Lecce. In addition, the analysis will be based on the tactics of both teams and what the coaches’ proposals were. From the tactics, it can be said that Conte based his scheme on the characteristics of his players. From the strategic part, it became evident that Inter is going to base its idea on possession and mobility. This is why an analysis of the first match of the season is necessary.

Lineups

Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce - tactical analysis tactics
Taken from Wyscout.

Antonio Conte set up his first official Inter formation without making many changes to last season’s Inter. Just two of the new signings were starting in the first match of the season. Stefano Sensi and Romero Lukaku were the two players who started in Conte’s first scheme. Sensi played in the position of the interior midfielder on the left. Lukaku played as a striker accompanying Lautaro Martinez in that sector of the pitch.

In addition to the entry of Sensi and Lukaku, Inter changed their tactical system. Last season Inter used a system based on a 4-3-3 tactic. Conte changed radically and based his tactics on the characteristics of his players. Inter played with a three-player backline, something they never used last season. He also used a lot of players in midfield and tried to take advantage of the external lanes.

For their part, Lecce based their match on a 4-3-3 tactic. The tactical analysis showed that coach Fabio Liverani wanted to occupy more sectors of the pitch across the width. Thus Lecce’s idea was to fight Inter’s 3-5-2 tactic. This means he used that tactic to try to cover the external lanes of the pitch. In addition, Liverani’s tactical idea was to use more players than Inter in the middle of the pitch without ball possession.

Liverani also brought three of the new signings into the starting line-up. The new goalkeeper was Gabriel, who played last season in Perugia. One of the two defensive midfielders was the Greek Panagiotis Tachtsidis, who played last season in Nottingham Forest. Gianluca Lapadula, the team’s only striker, was the other signing who played in the starting line-up.

Inter’s 3-5-2

Conte’s tactical idea in this first game and for the rest of the season will start from the base of a 3-5-2 formation. From there it can vary depending on the context of each match and the movements of the players. The first thing that needs to be said, for example, is that Marcelo Brozović will be one of the most important players in Inter. Brozović in this match was responsible for being the link between the backline and the midfielders, ie the axis of Inter. In fact, Brozović was positioned for free moments to receive the first pass and start the game.

Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce - tactical analysis tactics
Brozović freely located between the backline and the midfield line. At times Inter made a 3-1-4-2 to start the game.

Another tactical disposition of Inter was to make a triangle in the middle of the pitch. Brozović played for moments of a defensive midfielder and Matías Vecino and Stefano Sensi for interior midfielders. In this way, a triangle was formed to generate a clean start through the internal lanes. In addition, Kwadwo Asamoah and Antonio Candreva were close to the sidelines.

Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce - tactical analysis tactics
A triangle formed in the middle of the pitch between the defensive midfielder and the interior midfielders. Another of Conte’s tactical dispositions.

Thanks to the number of Inter players in midfield, moves were made through the internal and external lanes. In that sense, Asamoah and Candreva took advantage of Lecce’s tactical disposition to exploit the wings. Both players made many long passes for the other to run into the space left by Lecce’s defense. Lecce did not use the width of the pitch well and Inter took advantage of that.

Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce - tactical analysis tactics
Candreva kicking a long pass for Asamoah running into space. The wings were one of the sectors best exploited by Inter thanks to the 3-5-2 formation with wingers.

In addition, Inter also attempted to generate numerical superiority in all sectors of the pitch, especially in midfield. This must be accompanied by good movement from the players and good use of time and space. Every Inter player knew exactly when and for which sector to run. The sense of location was fundamental and the mechanical movements were noticeable in Inter.

Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce - tactical analysis tactics
Inter generating numerical superiority thanks to the pressure and the good use of time and space by the players.

Inter’s pressure

Inter also focused on pressuring Lecce to force them to play fast, but also to generate mistakes. The few times Lecce tried to play between the goalkeeper and the center backs Inter blocked the pass lines. The first Inter players to exert that pressures were Lautaro Martinez and Romelo Lukaku.

In other words, strikers should be the first to defend. In addition to that, Inter pressed in midfield thanks to the number of players in that part of the pitch. The tactical analysis showed that practically pairs were formed thanks to Inter’s good pressure. Inter’s idea was to quickly regain possession of the ball when it was lost. This was the only way to come back and start play inside or on the flanks. To recover the ball the best way is to press the opponent and this is something that Conte evidenced in his tactics in Inter’s first match.

Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce - tactical analysis tactics
Inter exerting pressure to make Lecce uncomfortable and generate a mistake in the backline.
Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce - tactical analysis tactics
Each Inter player had the task of referring to a Lecce player. In this way, pairs were formed through the pressure from Inter.

The few moments that Inter did not have possession of the ball made a different formation. This means that Conte has tactical moves to defend when his team loses the ball. In that sense, Asamoah went back several meters in the sector of the left-wing until being positioned in the backline. Therefore, a line of four players was formed in defence. In addition, there was an automatic four-player line in midfield. 4-4-2 was the tactical system set up by Conte to defend.

Inter 4-4-2 formation without possession of the ball.

Lecce’s 4-3-3 

Lecce’s tactical disposition surprised because they never found a solution to Inter’s problems. The problem is not the 4-3-3 formation, it is not to adjust the strategy during the match. If what was raised in the preview doesn’t work you have to adjust the tactic, but Liverani never did. That’s why Inter got the match easier because they played with pleasure against Lecce’s tactical approach.

Liverani’s initial idea was a midfield with a defensive midfielder and two interior midfielders, but he could not implement it. In other words, a triangle. But the tactical analysis showed that Lecce’s midfield had to play almost the whole match in line. Moreover, Lecce’s tactical system did not change at any point during the match.

Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce - tactical analysis tactics
Tactical system 4-3-3 by Lecce.

Lecce could barely overtake their lines during some parts of the match. Faced with the pressure and suffocation from Inter, who came out to take the ball away quickly, Lecce could barely overtake a few meters on the pitch. Lecce tried to beat Inter in midfield, but that tactical system was not enough. For a few moments, the interior midfielders went ahead and the strikers went back. With this small movement, Lecce looked better, as they pressed the Inter midfielders who received the ball.

Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce - tactical analysis tactics
Tactical moves by Lecce in midfield. The interior midfielders played close to the strikers to bother the Inter player who was ready to receive the ball.

The problem for Lecce happened when they were going backwards and the midfielders’ line was very close to the backline. Jacopo Petriccione, one of the interior midfielders, was positioned in the backline to form a five-player defence. In this way, Lecce made a tactical system 5-2-3 with the offensive line very far from the rest of the team. The wingers and the striker did not perform any defensive tactical function and the team was completely unbalanced.

Serie A 2019/20: Inter vs Lecce - tactical analysis tactics
Lecce retreated too far and changed their formation to a 5-2-3 tactical system. The problem was that the lines were too far apart and a very large space was formed which Inter took advantage of.

Conclusion

Inter wants to fight this season for the Serie A title and showed it in the first game. In fact, there are two reasons to believe that Inter can dethrone Juventus, the team that dominates Italian football. First, the quantity and quality of the signings. Inter signed Romelu Lukaku, Diego Godín, Matteo Politano, Nicolò Barella, Valentino Lazaro, and Stefano Sensi. In addition, the hiring of Antonio Conte makes us believe that he is the ideal coach for Inter’s new project.

The other reason why Inter can dethrone Juventus is the resounding victory over Lecce. Inter showed very interesting tactical aspects and a strategy that can give results in this new season. In addition to the new tactics for the team employed by Conte, Inter showed a remarkable improvement in the style of play. The tactical analysis showed that the coach’s idea is that of an attacking team. In the next away match against Cagliari, we will see the tactical role that Inter will assume.

For their part, Lecce will have to fight for the opposite of Inter. Lecce spent several years in Serie B and struggled to return to Serie A. In the first match they showed no major things and were largely surpassed by Inter. The important thing for Liverani’s team will be to try to win as many home games as possible.

For now, Lecce will have to prepare their next match against Hellas Verona. There can be a good opportunity to earn the first three points, as they are an affordable rival. Lecce’s objective will be to maintain the category, something complicated for a newly promoted team. What is clear is that with a tactical proposal of attack based on a 4-2-3-1 shape, they can achieve it.


Artwork by @chapulana

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Juan Ricardo Arenas Amaya

Writer at Ronnie Dog Media
From Bucaramanga, Colombia. Fan of Atlético Bucaramanga. 26 years old. Football as a lifestyle.
Juan Ricardo Arenas Amaya