Mediocre marks abound after Inter Milan's draw at Bologna
Inter struggled massively against Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara. After a bright opening two minutes, they let the Felsinei walk all over them with Simone Verdi scoring a beauty on 32 minutes to send the Rossoblu ahead.
Inter improved a little after the break -- Bologna were never dangerous again -- but could never really get things going, earning a penalty when Ibrahima Mbaye floored Eder. Mauro Icardi made the most of it, but the Nerazzurri failed to siege the home side from then on and settled for a 1-1 draw.
Inter recovered in the second half, to the extent that Bologna were never dangerous again. That's about it, really.
The Nerazzurri are horribly wasteful and were unable to do anything in the final third for most of the game. Inter were muscled off the ball and never could settle into any sort of rhythm. The midfield wasn't able to shield the defence, or really help the attack. It feels like that area of the field is not physical enough, though this happened with Geoffrey Kondogbia last year, too. Joao Mario looks lost in the middle.
Criticism -- especially from Italy -- about video assistant referees (VAR) is getting irritating: Mbaye's arm obviously smacked Eder's leg. It was a clear scoring chance. The new system is working in a majority of cases, and who knew that innovative concepts needed to go through a testing phase anyway?
The initial assumption was that Inter could really win all their games before the Derby di Milano and get overhyped. They haven't made it that far ...
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Still no Plan B. Inter can't keep getting jostled off the ball like this. Luciano Spalletti got praise for making his teams play more direct football in his second stint at Roma, but none of it was evident here. The 4-2-3-1 may no longer be the best formation, and Antonio Candreva needs a benching to refresh his ideas.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Samir Handanovic, 5 -- Nearly got pipped by a near-post shot, and cleared awfully, early on, right into the path of a Bologna player. The basic errors are adding up.
DF Danilo D'Ambrosio, 5 -- Can't cross, and it's not a coincidence that both Verdi and Federico Di Francesco had more success down his wing, where he especially struggled against the taller Verdi. Fluffs easy passes and crosses.
DF Milan Skriniar, 5 -- Failed to come off his line for Verdi's goal. Initially looked like he needed to foul opponents in order to get a handle on them, especially Di Francesco.
DF Joao Miranda, 6 -- Looked better than Skriniar, and looked like he could hold up against the increased physicality of Bruno Petkovic.
DF Yuto Nagatomo, 6 -- Tended to be beaten in the air by Verdi, but actually looked dynamic, also sending an interesting shot wide. Spalletti has turned him into a league-average full-back! What a time to be alive.
MF Matias Vecino, 5 -- Had a hand in Bologna's goal and was never able to establish any sort of midfield domination.
MF Borja Valero, 5 -- Came off second best in the midfield. He should be benched for games like this, and spared for when the Nerazzurri need to unpick locks, not fight for territory.
MF Joao Mario, 5 -- Looked completely lost. He needs these games to work out what he's doing.
MF Antonio Candreva, 4 -- Couldn't stop missing simple crosses and corners. We've talked about this before. Aside from the neat feint to fool Adam Masina, he really shouldn't be starting if he keeps this up.
MF Ivan Perisic, 5 -- Ineffective. While it may complicate things for Mario, having two wingers who don't come inside seems to leave Inter outnumbered almost everywhere on the pitch.
FW, Mauro Icardi, 5 -- Scored the penalty, but was otherwise uninvolved, though he tried to track back.
FW Eder, 6 -- Actually got things going a little bit, earning the penalty without shining.
MF Marcelo Brozovic, NR -- Came on with nine minutes to go, didn't really have an impact.
MF, Roberto Gagliardini, NR -- A late introduction.
Edoardo Dalmonte covers Inter Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @EdoDalmonte.