We’re in the middle of the World Cup, we’re linked with an ocean of new players every day and I doubt even the management is clear on what our team will look like, and I’m halfway through a summer class and still have no clue what it’s about, this is as good a time for a tactical analysis article as any. So prepare a few snacks and make sure you’re well rested, I’ve got a lot to say.
There are two big questions I ask when I’m thinking up formations, who are we building the attack around and how do we plan to bring the ball forward? At this stage, this is where I have to make assumptions.
I’ll begin by taking a stab at the second question, how do we plan to bring the ball forward? This past season, we saw Mazzarri try to lay the foundations for what seemed to be a patient possession side. This is interesting, since what worked so well for him at Napoli was a very dynamic counter-attack, even in his later seasons there when the team saw more of the ball, their preferred mode of attack was still the counter. His first season at Inter, however, the team often seemed reluctant to counter, even when presented with good chances and even with players like Guarin and Nagatomo who specialize at running into space. Instead, we saw lots of pushing up, playing sideways passes to the wing-backs, getting in and around the box, and while it often led to nothing, the intention seems clear. Mazzarri wants a possession-based team.