The Three Best and Worst Players of Inter Season So Far

In our third edition of the series, we’ll turn our attention towards the black and blue part of Milano. It hasn’t been an ideal start of the season for Antonio Conte’s side, with another early Champions League elimination, and some unconvincing domestic displays. Nonetheless the Italian tactician would be forgiven if he manages to oust Milan and Juventus en route to the club’s first Scudetto in 11 years. So let’s take a look at the top Inter performers so far in the season, as well as their flops.

#3 Flop: Ivan Perišić

It’s been a weird year for Ivan Perišić. The Croatian won the Champions League as part of Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich, but for some reason, the Bavarians opted against permanently signing him, which meant that he had to return to his parent club at Milano.

Adding a European medal to his trophy cabinet may have tempted Antonio Conte to give the left winger a fair chance at Inter. However, it turned out that the tactician’s initial assessment was correct, as Perišić is not exactly a great fit for the 3-5-2 formation.

The former Wolfsburg man is struggling to find his place in the Nerazzurri line-up, as a 35-year-old Ashley Young has proven to be a better fit for the left wing-back role, whilst his experiences as a supporting striker weren’t very fruitful. A quick divorce would be the best solution for everyone involved.

#3 Top: Achraf Hakimi

How Real Madrid allowed one of the best young wing-backs in the world to leave so easily is still a mystery. Achraf Hakimi has been a major force on the Nerazzurri’s right flank ever since his arrival in the summer, and beside a short period of doubt when Matteo Darmian took his starting role, the Moroccan international has been starting almost all of the matches.

The former Dortmund man is just the ideal wing-back for Conte’s plans, and with four league goals (including a brace against Bologna) and as many assists, Hakimi has so far contributed in 23% of his team’s Serie A goals, and Inter can rest assured that they have found themselves a top player in last summer’s calciomercato.

#2 Flop: Aleksandar Kolarov

Unfortunately for Inter, not all of their summer wing-back business has turned out to be successful, at least so far. Several of the Beneamata players are currently having an underwhelming season, but the reason why we picked Aleksandar Kolarov is the fact that the Serie A veteran was expected to bring a certain sense of certitude and composure with him to Appiano Gentile.

Alas, the former Lazio and Roma left-back was deployed as a part of the back-three during the opening rounds of the season where the Nerazzurri were conceding multiple goals against the likes of Fiorentina and Benevento, and that was followed by an under-par performance from the Serbian in the derby defeat against Milan. 

Kolarov spent few weeks out due to testing positive for Covid-19, but upon his return he found himself sitting on the bench for the last four league matches as Conte was able to find some stability with last season’s season defensive trio of Milan Škriniar, Stefan De Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni. Nonetheless, a return to his more familiar left wing-back role could help in launching the Serbian’s Inter career before it’s too late.

#2 Top: Nicolò Barella

When Inter started the season with a seemingly top midfield composed of eight well-established players vying for three starting spots, we expected them all to get their fair share of rest.

Nonetheless, Conte is obviously not a fan of neither Christian Eriksen nor Radja Nainggolan, while Marcelo Brozović, Stefano Sensi and Mattias Vecino have been unavailable at times. With Arturo Vidal not proving to be as reliable as expected, Nicolò Barella had to cover for additional shifts.

The Italian international has started all 6 of the club’s Champions League fixtures, while also participating in all 14 rounds of Serie A so far – 11 times as a starter – as his coach knows that he just cannot afford to rest him not even for a single match. It’s safe to say that the former Cagliari man is the breathing lungs of this Inter side.

#1 Flop: Christian Eriksen

This one is probably self-explanatory. Ever since making the move to Italy 12 months ago, Christian Eriksen’s career has been on a horrific decline. The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder rarely gets to start a match, as Antonio Conte often prefers to deploy a more hard-working player in his stead.

But even when the Dane gets to start, his performances have never been any inspiring, and is almost always taken off around the hour-mark. Luckily for all parties, this fruitless relationship could be about to reach its natural end as soon as January.

#1 Top: Romelu Lukaku 

Romelu Lukaku may have had his ups and downs during his first season at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, but his incredible start to the current season leaves no doubt in mind regarding the quality of the Belgian striker.

With 11 goals in Serie A and 4 in the Champions League, the former Manchester United player is his team’s obvious top star of the campaign so far, as his goal contribution has been extremely vital for Inter who are currently riding on a 7-match win streak.