Sunday, January 4 th, 2015
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Gonzalo Higuaín vs Mauro Icardi, the tactic face-off
For two opposite reasons, it wasn't a memorable night for the two Argentinian forwards. Whereas Icardi found himself locked inside the opposition box for most of the game, Higuaín struggled to get in the high goalscoring chance areas of the pitch
by Samuel Still
One of the rising stars of Serie A and Inter this season is Mauro Icardi, the 21-year old Argentine striker. Icardi was purchased by Inter from Sampdoria after the 2012-1013 season. His comparatively young age seemed like an anomaly purchase for Inter on the transfer market, but it is clear Icardi is filled with talent as well as youthfulness.

Mauro Icardi. When Napoli came to Milan on Sunday, the showdown between the compatriots Icardi and Gonzalo Higuain seemed to be a key feature. Icardi, with a single cap to his name for Argentina, lining up opposite of Higuain, the veteran Galactico and forty-five time Albiceleste's member. Unfortunately, even on a day where Inter played better than Napoli, Icardi was still unable to find his name on the scoresheet. The reason Icardi failed to get on the scoresheet during this match was due to his lack of finishing ability that he showed. In a 3-1-4-1-1 formation like the one Mazzarri used against his former team, it is essential that Icardi stays central, attempts to get behind the backline, and ultimately finishes anything in the box. Unfortunately for Icardi, only managing one shot on goal throughout the entire match was not enough.




Not only did Icardi’s finishing fall short on Sunday, but his attacking movement let him down as well. While Icardi has a rather average game for his standards, I believe he could play much better (even surpassing Higuain) if Mazzarri was to play a more free flowing formation. At the current moment, Icardi’s heat map shows him showing up in only two places: the midfield line for kick-off and the penalty spot (compare that to when he played against Juventus for Sampdoria in 2012). While Icardi certainly does have the ability of finishing off chances in the box, his sharp sense of attacking runs that cut open the opposition back line are his biggest asset. With that movement being restricted by Mazzarri’s tactics, it is difficult for me to see Icardi developing into the phenomenal goal-scorer he could well be. With Walter calling the shots, expect to see more mediocre performances from Icardi.

Key Stats:
Passing: 76%
Shots (Shots On Target): 7 (1)
Chances Created: 1

Gonzalo Higuaín. While at one end of the pitch Mauro Icardi was putting in his average performance, Higuaín was having a miserable day at the office at the other end. The grizzled veteran and ex-Galactico has been struggling with form over the course of the season, no doubt a lingering issue from his poor form with the national squad during the World Cup. Higuaín could have had a field day with the shaky back three of Inter’s defense, yet had a very poor performance during the match. Ironically, the problems Icardi encountered during the match were exactly the opposite of Higuaín.

Whereas Icardi found himself locked inside the opposition box for most of the game, Higuaín struggled to get in the high goalscoring chance areas of the pitch. While recording an impressive 90% pass completion, Higuaín managed to create 0 goalscoring chances for his time over the course of an entire ninety minutes. This was mainly due to Higuaín’s odd positioning, often finding himself too far out to chance a goal or too far wide to be effective.

Key Stats: 
Passing: 90% 
Shots (Shots On Target): 2 (1) 
Chances Created: 0

Monday, October 20 th, 2014
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