Eto’o's arrival could change Inter’s entire approach
It is a bit early to be making judgements on the new Inter Milan (especially after a lacklustre first league game) but the 4-0 thrashing of AC Milan at the weekend suggests the Samuel Eto’o-Zlatan Ibrahimovic swap could completely change their way of playing.
Ibrahimovic, who scored on his Barcelona debut in Monday’s 3-0 win over Sporting Gijon, was everything to Inter. He was the target man, the talisman, the go-to man when a flash of inspiration or a goal was needed.
Inter’s over-reliance on the tall Swede was only exposed in Europe when better defences than in Serie A shut him out and nullified Inter’s occasional long ball approach.
In Saturday’s derby, Inter passed the ball more than I remember them doing under Jose Mourinho last season. Thiago Motta, a midfielder with attacking instincts which they lacked last term, scored a wonderful opening goal following a flurry of quick passes.
Forward Diego Milito, also a new signing from Genoa, then blasted in a penalty. Eto’o had taken the spotkick in the previous weekend’s 1-1 draw with Bari but he was quite happy to share the duties with his strike partner.
Inter suddenly looked like a collective group far more than they had in the four years of Ibra.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, however. Milan were awful and Gennaro Gattuso’s dismissal, after he had asked to come off with an injury but couldn’t because substitute Clarence Seedorf wasn’t ready, summed up their display.
Inter need to prove again and again that they are now more pleasing on the eye, especially in Europe…
PHOTO: Inter Milan’s Samuel Eto’o celebrates their win at the end of the Italian serie A soccer match against AC Milan at the San Siro stadium in Milan August 29, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo