Tuesday, February 24 th, 2015
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Roma vs Inter, how the Gervinho-Guarin face-off decided the game
The Ivorian scored in Serie A three months after Roma-Fiorentina and created many dangerous situations for Inter's defense. Mancini has to solve a long-lasting dilemma: what's Fredy Guarin's role?
by F.F.
Roma needed a convincing win to get rid of critics and debates triggered by the disappointing draw at CSKA Moscow. And it happened, as Garcia's side beat Inter 4-2 in an entertaining game. The return of Maicon after a two-month injury was crucial for the Giallorossi and it seems that his good example also egged Holebas on, as the Greek full-back scored a great goal yesterday.

Mancini tried once again with an offensive 4-2-3-1 scheme but there's still a lot of work to do for il Mancio to implement this kind of game at Inter. Sure, we can consider the absences of Nagatomo, Hernanes and Icardi (the Argentinian only played a fistful of minutes at the Olimpico) as mitigating circustances, but Inter is still far from having a clear personality, the distribution of the ball is still complex and there are still many - too many - defensive amnesias. Dodò's had an under-par perfomance and his face-off with Maicon had an humiliating outcome for the ex Roma. Let's compare two among the most techinically skilled footballers on the pitch yesterday: Guarin and Gervinho.

Gervinho. It was a long time since the Ivorian scored a Serie A goal: he was scoreless since the opening game Roma-Fiorentina 2-1. Gervinho was not too involved in the game yesterday, he only intervened sporadically, but he did it with great effectiveness. Apart from the goal that broke the deadlock in the 20th minute, as we can see from the graph below, the Ivorian created four goal chances and put a poisonous ball at the center of Inter's penalty box, although none of his team-mates converted it in a goal. Gervinho managed to be dangerous thanks to his main weapons: pace and dribbling skills. Garcia releaved him from defensive tasks and this choice bore fruits as "er Tendina" was free to concentrate only on offensive runs. If we had to point out a lack in his performance, we would say that he was inattentive sometimes, as he ran too early bumping into the offside trap, without looking at Inter's defensive line.

Guarin. Mancini trusts the Colombian and he has high expectations on Guarin, as the number 13 is one of Inter's game-changers without any doubt. Il Mancio is probably right. But the problem is: what's the right role for Guarin? Is he an offensive midfielder, a winger or a side midfielder? He has skills for each one of the aforementioned positions but this uncertainty restrained his career in Serie A so far. Shall he be considered defensively reliable enough to be deployed in the midfield line or is he an offensive footballer that should be discharged from defensive duties? Yesterday, he played basically as a backward winger. He played on the right flank above all, and from there he created two goal chances and a shot. Unlike Gervinho, Guarin had to give a hand to his team-mates in the defensive phase as the Ivorian could't be left free to play in acres of space. Anyway, Guarin's contribution was quite poor in this sense, as he failed three tackles and - in the 90th minute - he conceded the foul that led to Pjanic's double.


In the end, Gervinho won the face-off with Guarin, although the Colombian could play a crucial role in Inter's resurgence provided that Mancini will find the right position for him.

Monday, December 1 st, 2014
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