Be wary of the wing-backs
Achraf Hakimi’s replacement, Denzel Dumfries, is starting to find his feet at Inter which is ominous for Juventus ahead of Wednesday’s Supercoppa. The Nerazzurri’s dual-threat at wing-back is frightening.
Dumfries is a physical powerhouse and a final-third contributor who’s being used as an auxiliary winger by Inzaghi. If Juve are to slow the Dutchman down, their left-back, which is hopefully Luca Pellegrini, will need assistance from Giorgio Chiellini at left centre-back or the closest midfielder. Inter will attempt to create a qualitative superiority by isolating Dumfries against Juve’s left-back. They could do this via overloading the left-hand side in the build-up before rapidly switching the play, or rotating positions down the right to facilitate Dumfries’ advancement upfield. Inter do both superbly.
To mitigate the Dutchman’s threat, we might see Juve’s left-midfielder drop into the backline to create a back five with the left-back tucking infield as a left centre-back. This ploy worked a treat in the 1-0 home win against Chelsea earlier this season.
On the other flank, Ivan Perisic provides a more subtle and insidious threat. His evolution as a wing-back was one of Conte’s great coaching experiments. The Croatian is two-footed, markedly athletic and brilliant in one-v-one situations. He’s a match-up nightmare for the Bianconeri, with his threat in the air also noteworthy.
He’s just an excellent footballer and Inter’s wing-back pairing certainly have the potential to overwhelm Juve on Wednesday. Last time out, Perisic and Matteo Darmian dominated the flanks against Danilo and Alex Sandro. I fear what the Croatian and Dumfries might do this time around.