Mauro Icardi and the Internazionale conundrum

In recent seasons, strikers are becoming very underrated. This is understandable, because there are now goals coming from all positions apart from the goalkeeper. With the advent of 20 goal-a-season wingers, midfielders chipping in with double figures in goals and centre backs like Sergio Ramos bagging 6 league goals already this season, the over reliance on out-and-out centre forwards feels a bit old school.

With more and more managers, like Klopp and Sarri, opting for the smarter play of the False 9 over the more bullish penalty box heroes, a striker who isn’t adding more and evolving his game may find himself at the bottom of the food chain and his game time limited. However, in Italian football, because of the styles of play, the conventional number 9 is still very much in play. Being big and bullish, with an ability to hold up play, win headers and be in the right place at the right time, are all qualities you find in a typical striker in the Serie A. Strikers like Madzukic, Zapata, Caicedo, Ciofani, Cutrone, Piatek, Inglese and Quagliarella, to name a few, look like they are built for the Serie A and are all excelling one way or another.

Mauro Icardi, though not exempt from this A-list of Calcio strikers, has more about his game than most of these strikers and has seemingly continued to evolve his game over the last couple of seasons. Not lacking in pace, technically very adept from any position in the final third and with a positional sense like that of former Internazionale striker Samuel Eto’o, he’s added hold-up play to his game to take him to that all-round striker table.

Inter Milan offered him the platform and he has ripped the hand off, all while consistently dragging them almost by himself sometimes. However, his legacy at Inter is about to go from the man who brought back Champions league football, to that of just a passerby hated by the Curva Nord.

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Modern football and the art of adaptability

By Muyiwa Adagunodo

All things, concepts, inventions, jobs and ultimately humans, in the parenthesis of the world always need to evolve. The world is constantly evolving, thus, to not evolve is not only to be stagnant, it is to be behind. In this particular race, football is not left out as we have seen over the years constant improvement in this game, which on the flip side is millions of people’s jobs worldwide. In the top, top jobs all over the world, workers are never put in straight jacket conditions where the use of their initiative is suppressed. In fact, the use of initiative and having problem solving skills are the hallmarks of these top jobs. In this vein, football as a job is also not exempted as we have seen football players (who in the economic cycle are employees of clubs) develop attributes and master skills which have even become sort of like a niche and are iconic to some of these players. In this method of arbitration and scrutiny, we do not expect football managers and coaches to be left behind because fundamentally, as much as they are employees of these clubs, they are also responsible for the performances for the other employees (the players). It’s like the human resources wing of a company; except these managers are also in the forefront of questions as regards the performance of these employees and these human resource aspect of football is where our focus will be through this analysis.

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Away from home, a goal gets you home: the big debate on the away goal rule in European competition

Today (Wednesday) UEFA are set to meet to discuss a potential abolition of the away goal rule in European competition. This debate is set to be one, like VAR, to divide football fans. On the one hand, it can make ties interesting. On the other, it could ‘ruin’ games a bit premature. Here, Adagunodo Olumuyiwa looks at the debate, and gives his view… 

European competitions are famed for lots of goals and a constant swing in dynamics right throughout the knockout stages, up until the final minute of the grand final – Manchester United fans would agree with me. A reason for there being a great deal of goals may be attributed partly to the quality of players and football on show on the night. Yet, another reason may be the presence of UEFA’s away goal rule.

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