Moses, Sanchez & Young combined for a goal so good we’re just confused
The Premier League likes to market itself as the best league in the world, but when Antonio Conte returned to Italy to manage Inter, we can’t say we were expecting him to do his summer shopping in England.
Conte knew the league from his two years at Chelsea, of course, but the other 12 years of his managerial career have all been spent in his homeland. Indeed, he even spent a couple of years in charge of the national team. So it’s not like he doesn’t know the Italian market.
And, sure enough, six of his first nine signings were from fellow Italian clubs. But then August came around and Conte moved for not one but two Manchester United players in the shape of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. And not players United wanted to keep but players they were actively looking to get rid of. Clearly, Conte saw something in them that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – and plenty of others – did not.
He’s been proven right. Well, maybe not massively so with Sanchez – he’s been OK – but Lukaku has scored 25 goals already this season, eight more than anyone else in the Inter squad. He’s been a sensation.
Still, we just weren’t ready for what Conte did in January.
OK, signing Christian Eriksen from Tottenham made sense. He’s been one of their best players for years and was going cheap with his contract nearing its end.
But as much as he impressed under Conte at Chelsea, we still can’t get our heads around the fact that Victor Moses went from not being wanted by Frank Lampard, playing on loan at Fenerbahce, to being signed by an Inter team who were at the time only two points behind Juventus in a real battle for the top spot in Serie A.
Even that wasn’t anywhere near as weird as them signing Ashley Young. He’d been a great servant for Manchester United, there’s no doubt about that, but he was 34 and only started 10 games in the Premier League in 2019-20. He didn’t scream difference maker in a title race.
Fast forward five and a half months, and Inter have dropped off in the title race. They’re now eight points behind Juve and have been overtaken by Lazio too, but they’re still on track to improve on last season’s fourth-placed finish. And their Premier League Old Boys Club have all been playing plenty.
Indeed, three of thee five started the 6-0 win over Brescia on Wednesday night – but not the three you’d expect. While Lukaku and Eriksen both started on the bench, Moses, Sanchez and Young all played from the start. And after just four minutes, they combined to do this.
It’s left us with a whole load of questions. Chiefly, why has Young been keeping that lovely head of hair hidden from us for so long?
But this is a seriously brilliant goal. The run from Moses and the cross from Sanchez are one thing, but just look at Young. As the clip starts, you can see him at the top of the screen on the far side of the pitch. The second Moses plays that one-two, he’s off.
And when Sanchez sends that cross into the penalty area, there’s Young, perfectly placed like that transition to full-back never happened. Arms up, screaming for it, he makes the perfect connection, firing the ball down into the ground and into the far corner.
But just look at the celebration. Imagine, for example, what Jamie Carragher’s reaction would have been had he scored this goal. Then look at this. That isn’t the reaction of a player surprised to score, even a wordly like this. He takes the knee, gives a salute then shares a hug with some team-mates.
We’ve been waiting to see what the new normal would be after lockdown. Apparently, this is it.