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Saturday, 13 January 2018 09:09

Imitating History - Inter Milan

Written by Tezombie

I have been a defender for my entire footballing career, primarily a left back. It was something that started way back in school where I was spotted to be a great reader of the game possessing roadrunner speed, a long-throw and a fearless attitude to match. Defending has always been in my blood, and that is plain to see in my PEN team. All-out-defence, deep defensive lines, anchormen, the whole works.  It also should come as no surprise to my huge admiration for Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan Treble Winning Season, so I decided why not use that as a basis for my PEN team.

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A rare thing in Italy - a treble winning season!

 

For my previous seasons I had almost exclusively used the very common 4-3-3 formation, utilising the width of the pitch to stretch my opponents. Although a solid option, I found this to be very predictable and any manager who marked the wingers would pretty much make it endgame for my side. So far for Season 12 it had been quite successful, going unbeaten with three wins and three draws in six matches, scoring 7 and conceding just 2. However, every game had been a struggle with just over a goal a game, and most matches were won on a single moment of luck, magic, or Hennessey wonder-saves. It was quite clear that my luck would run out at some point so, despite an unbeaten run, a change of formation was definitely a gamble worth taking.

 

The problem; where to start. After studying Inter Milan’s setup through youtube, wiki and other sources I knew the style and game plan. It needed to be a rigid 442 diamond but within that midfield roles needed breaking down, which required watching a few matches. In the end it was quite simplistic; Cambiasso was without a doubt the most crucial player to make it all work, always acting as an shield for the back four with his amazing reading of the game, constantly dropping deep and covering for anyone out of position. Zanetti, previously a fullback, was on the right side of the diamond. He made the whole team tick and was the man to do the defensive duties. On the left side Stankovic would be the powerhouse who provided support for defence and attack. At the tip of the diamond would be Wesley Sneidjer, who could orchestrate attacks brilliantly and also put in a defensive shift when needed. Up front it was quite simple really, two powerful strikers were critical. Eto'o used his pace to pull defences apart and create space, constantly dragging defenders with him whilst Milito would exploit that space with his clinical line-breaking runs. At the back, Chivu kept it simple and defended the left flank, rarely pushing forward and almost acting as a third centreback at times. Maicon would support attacks down the right side when the opportunity arose, and was key to Inter Milan’s attacks as he always positioned himself in space down the right side. His assists were important to Inter Milan. In the middle, Samuel was the smaller of the partnership and was the purist of ball-winners whilst Lucio used his brute force and size to win the aerial battles. Behind them lay Cesar, a seasoned goalkeeper who was an exceptionally talented shot-stopper.

 

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The MVP of the team was Cambiasso, not Sneidjer as people would usually assume.

 

The targets were quite easy to identify from this. I already had a few in my squad; Hennessey was a monster in goal, so there was no need to change there. Supporting him in defence; De Sciglio was to offer the defensive side in Chivu and Pearce to be the powerhouse of Lucio. Bridcutt’ s natural deep lying positioning would be perfect for Cambiasso, Mazzitelli would represent Zanetti and up top Calvert-Lewin's powerful goal-poaching runs matched Diego Milito perfectly. This left me with spaces to fill and players to find. Another PEN shopping list. Magic. I needed a ball winning centreback, playmaker and a striker to bully defenders and create space.

 

This meant a reshuffle and clear-out as Sassuolo. Luckily I had a chance to bring in two star players, Propper and Lapadula. Both fitted in perfectly with the style I wanted to portray. Propper would fill the left sided CMF role and support the attacks, whilst Lapadula provided unreadable darting runs to drag defenders out of position, as well as the attacking prowess to be a major threat inside the box in a similar style to Samuel Eto'o. Perfect. Over the course of the Christmas period Locatelli, Bodiger, Louis, and Rincon all saw their way out of the door to be replaced by Propper, McDonald, and Lapadula with Bridcutt coming back into the starting Xi from his previous benched position.

 

Six games later and things looked good. 5 wins and a draw, scoring 13 and conceding 2 giving Hennessey 4 clean sheets to be proud of. Calvert-Lewin scored 5, Lapadula with 4 and both also provided 2 assists each, along with Propper and Mazzitelli. Form-wise both strikers were consistent getting an average of 6.5, with the entire midfield hitting 6 across the board. At the back, despite PES2018's inability to give defenders high match ratings, they all matched 5.5 to 6.0 every game. Solid stuff.

 

Despite this I had a deep review of the six matches and it was clear to see where I needed to reinforce. The sided needed a silky ball-winning centreback, which I found in Jordi Amat (traded for Ferreira). For the AMF role Eraso slotted in as a more natural option in the mould of Wesley Sneidjer. Then the BOD opened up, and there was one person I needed to make it all tick - right back Andre Almeida. He could offer the defensive power needed to represent Maicon, and also support attacks with his high passing ranges. To do this I needed to break the bank with a huge offer, which meant releasing my most valued asset. The decision was made to trade Calvert-Lewin for Niasse, giving me an older striker who was better on the ball. This left me with three star players, and I needed two. Knowing that Inter Milan’s two strikers were superstars themselves, it would mean Propper had to go. As luck had it a trade offer for Darder was agreed quickly (he has always been one of my favourite midfielders) and I swapped for a quick trade deal with some PENce my way, another perfect fit. My Stankovic had been found!  

 

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The completed project? Inter Milan 2010 brought back to life in PEN.

I now sit with a side that I can proudly say represents Inter Milan to a tee, and it will certinally be intesting to see what comes out of this for the remainder of my season. It is certinally proud times at Sassuolo, who look to be challenging this year for the title but in football, anything can happen!

Read 343 times Last modified on Saturday, 13 January 2018 12:07