Inter treated themselves to an acid flashback of the pre-Roberto Mancini years, going down with all hands in embarrassing fashion to elite opposition at the San Paolo. Having smashed Fiorentina in the opening ten minutes last week, they proceeded to let a spectacular Napoli do the same here, Piotr Zielinski's snorter of a half-volley complemented by an excellent Marek Hamsik run, which he capped off by slotting the ball past Samir Handanovic.
Though they were able to eventually get to grips (somewhat) with Maurizio Sarri's footballing equivalent of the shell game, the Nerazzurri blew two one-on-ones through Mauro Icardi. Having blown their chance to at least go into the tunnels only a goal down, the Biscione's defensive demons killed the second half just as quickly as they had the first, allowing Lorenzo Insigne to curl in a crafty third on 51 minutes.
Very little. It was great to see players like Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic step up to the plate in what was a nightmare game and show some personality. Though Perisic fluffed a late effort, he's often criticised for bringing little to the game. This was not one of them.
Everything else! The setup was horrendous, and each Napoli goal was aided by hapless defending, as well as the Partenopei's blistering speed and execution. Coach Stefano Pioli also needs to play a defensive centre-midfielder. Danilo D'Ambrosio couldn't play for Inter Zapresic, never mind Inter, and he's not the only candidate.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- Back to the drawing board for Stefano Pioli, who tried to apply a scheme which conceded two goals last week, and against an opponent who was already beaten at that. Having two defenders rush to stop Manolo Gabbiadini from turning is questionable, especially when the open spaces left in front of the defence were being gleefully exploited by Napoli. Wouldn't having an actual defensive midfielder have helped? And what does Assane Gnoukouri have to do to get a game around here?
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Samir Handanovic, 6 -- Blameless on the opener, could have done better on Hamsik's effort on six minutes, and looked a bit too frantic in coming off his line for the third. Then again, it's thanks to the Slovenian that the scoreline wasn't a whole lot worse, pulling off a stunning save off a close-range Hamsik thumper.
DF, Danilo D'Ambrosio, 4 -- A player who brings such little added value in attack, D'Ambrosio needs to be faultless at the back. The man who saved an Edin Dzeko effort on the line at the San Siro back in October 2015 is gone, and has been replaced by someone who was responsible for both Napoli's second and third goals.
DF Joao Miranda, 5 -- Doesn't look anywhere near as calm and assured as he was last season, and not being provided any midfield cover definitely doesn't help. This isn't what you use ageing defenders for, full stop.
DF Andrea Ranocchia, 4 -- Has the same extenuating circumstances as Miranda, which explains why he's so slow at moving up to leave strikers offside. Was also slow to react when he saw that D'Ambrosio was harrying Gabbiadini, leaving Hamsik a motorway on the left to net Napoli's second. Let's hope he builds on his confidence, and stops picking up dumb yellows for aggressive, late challenges.
DF Cristian Ansaldi, 5 -- Same goes for D'Ambrosio, with the addendum that he offered little going forward. Makes elementary technical mistakes, and was slow covering Jose Callejon as he teed up the opener for Zielinski.
MF Marcelo Brozovic, 6 -- Was great to see this man still take a breather and make good decisions. Though he generally needs to work on his defensive skills, he launched a dangerous counter with a superb sliding tackle on an errant Elseid Hysaj clearance. Plays the ball forward and gives this Inter team some order and tempo, which is what Ever Banega and Joao Mario were arguably signed for.
MF Geoffrey Kondogbia, 5 -- Didn't really add anything, and was an obvious candidate to be subbed off. One wants to root for him and hope that consistent game time will help him turn into Patrick Vieira, but he's turning into a handicap, and the Nerazzurri have plenty of those already.
MF Ever Banega, 5 -- As much as he wasn't assisted by his teammates, the Argentine really needs to be more involved. If he had a free role, why wasn't he trying to get closer to where the game was, something we argued was a strength of his?
MF Antonio Candreva, 6 -- Earns much the same praise as Brozovic. Found Icardi with some nice through balls, and at least looked involved. Hard not to blame him for losing Hamsik when exactly the same thing happened last week.
FW Mauro Icardi, 5 -- Gets good marks for effort, but that's not really his job. Sent through twice on goal, the Argentine was beaten by Pepe Reina's speedy rushing off the line. Surely Icardi should have known this would happen the second time?
MF Ivan Perisic, 6 -- The Croatian has earned a lot of unjustified anger for his game. Works very well away from home, where he can exploit the superior space on the counter to make incisive runs. Sent Ansaldi through a couple of times, looked threatening and did his part defensively by playing deeper.
FW Eder, 5 -- Had a whole half to do something, but we're back to asking what his best position is. Or whether he has one at Inter.
MF Joao Mario, 5 -- Didn't do anything to distinguish himself, but was thrown on when it was already too late.
FW Rodrigo Palacio, N/R -- Only had fourteen minutes of regular time. Can't escape the feeling that he wouldn't have done anything, anyway. Having forgotten how to score these past three seasons, the Argentine may have forgotten how to impact games, too.