Welcome back to The Serpents Kiss and if this is your first time viewing my blog you can get up to speed by viewing Part 1 and Part 2. Well to say my first season at Internazionale as been enjoyable would be an understatement. I am totally immersed in the save and loving every minute. In part one of the save we had played our first ten games of the season and sat comfortably in 6th position just 2 points off of 2nd place and 8 behind leaders Juventus. So I will pick the save up from the end of part 1 because part 2 was a post about my objectives for the save going forward.
With 4th place the minimum expectation from the board this season our start to the season was just what was required we were sitting pretty and playing well, so much so that the board thought it would be a good idea to offer me a two year contract extension which I signed without hesitation.
So back to our Serie A campaign and matchday 11 would see Maurizio Sarri bring his Napoli side to the Meazza who were sat in third position 2 points ahead of us in the standings. This was probably our best performance so far this season with Mauro Icardi grabbing both goals, one in each half. But it was the overall team performance that grabbed the eye with our midfield dominating the game. Another win followed this time a 1-0 win away at Udinese with a goal from Marcelo Brozovic. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola seems to be at all our matches courting both Perisic and Icardi who are both in good form. Our next three games produce a win (Benevento 3-1), a draw (Chievo 1-1) and a defeat (Roma 1-2).
With the Derby della Madonnina against our city rivals Milan on the horizon we manage to pick up a couple of injuries to both Icardi and Candreva that will rule them out of the game. Andrea Pinamonti came in to replace Icardi with Perisic switching to the right wing to replace Candreva allowing Eder to come in on the left. The game itself produced few chances ending in a 0-0 draw which takes our clean sheet total to 9 from 16 games. On the night both Gagliardini and Valero performed well in our midfield. I am continuing to be pleased with our gameplay and can’t help thinking that the system we are using could be the best that I have created in the last few years on FM in terms of style of play which is resembling the Italian game in many ways.
Not to get carried away but we record two more clean sheets in the Meazza the first a 2-0 win against FC Crotone in the Coppa Italia and a 4-0 win against Bologna in the league. A midfield trio of Valero, Gagliardini and Vecino produced the goods in our next league game by scoring our goals in the 3-1 win at Cagliari. I decided to rest a lot of our regular starting XI for the Coppa Quarter-final against Ascoli which we ended up going out after a penalty shootout to decide the winner after a 3-3 draw. I am not too disappointed with the result because it allows us to focus on getting in to the top 4 and the Champions League. With Icardi still not completely 100% we went in to the halfway point of the season game against Sampdoria with Andrea Pinamonti leading the line and he responded with a sublime goal in the first half, Borja Valero scored our 2nd and 3rd goals in a 3-2 win that ends the first half of the season in 4th spot 4 points ahead of Torino in 5th place.
Looking back at the first half the season the thing that stands out most to me is how well we have played with very good team cohesion. A repeat in the 2nd half of the season will see us reach our minimum expectation.
I have added the talented Romanian Florinel Coman to the club. The pacy youngster can play out wide or up front in a number of roles. The idea is to send the 19 year old ex FC Steaua București player out on loan to gain some first team experience.
We kicked the second half of the season off with a comfortable 4-0 win at home to FC Crotone however what came next shook us a little, just as we thought we would go on a bit of a run we got stopped in our tracks by an inform Domenico Berardi and his US Sassuolo side who inflicted a 4-2 defeat upon us. Now Berardi is and as been on my shortlist for a while because I see him to be a direct replacement for either Perisic or Candreva come the summer but his performances this season have seen his value increase so we may have to turn our attention elsewhere. With our egos bruised it was not the correct time for the visit of Juventus to the Meazza, the old lady turned up and ran the show defeating us 2-3 and to be honest the scoreline flatters us because we never looked in it until Nicolő Zaniolo pulled a goal back for us in the 83rd minute that seemed to kick start us in to life and put Juve on the back foot but despite a second goal in the 88th minute from Borja Valero it was just too little too late.
It was Borja Valero who inspired us to a 3-2 win against Verona which turned out to be the catalyst of a 13 game unbeaten run that comprised of 7 wins and 6 draws.
The wins came against Verona 3-2, Fiorentina 1-0, Spal 3-1, Napoli 2-1, Udinese 1-0, Chievo 3-0 and Benevento 4-2. The 6 draws came against Atalanta 0-0, Lazio 0-0, Torino 1-1, Genoa 1-1, Roma 3-3 and Milan 1-1.
We then fell to a surprising 0-2 defeat to Bologna but then recovered and secured a 4th place finish by beating Cagliari 4-0 before ending the season with a 1-1 draw away at Sampdoria.
We have met the boards expectations by qualifying for the Champions League
Serie A Top Goalscorers
Mauro Acardi’s 23 goals were good enough to put him in the top 3 behind Ciro Immobile 32 and Dries Mertens 24.
Clean Sheet Table
Our aim is to top the clean sheet table each season but this season we had to make due with 2nd place after keeping 17 behind Champions Juventus who kept 21.
We have had a decent first intake with the following 4 players being our top potential players. I am planning on releasing a youth development post in the near future covering how I develop players coming through our ranks. The Indonesian forward Andi Yusuf is already making his mark in the youth leagues and looks to be a potential star in the making. Defender Oscar Lera again is putting in top performances in the youth leagues and is playing a covering role in our pre season.
Well that concludes the first season of The Serpents Kiss and I have really enjoyed my first season in charge. Season 2 will be interesting with a number of players being tracked by some of Europe’s big clubs. Thanks to Michael @totalfootball71 aka thewideplaymaker for allowing me to copy his layout of his blog along with how i create some graphics and the kind words and patience in helping me navigate around word press, I really appreciate the time you gave me over the last few weeks.