It’s hardly a secret that Filippo Inzaghi was one of the greatest poachers to grace the world football stage. But, it’s no secret either that the same stage hosts a different play in 2020. Here are 3 players, of the few, still able to take on the classic 18-yard box poacher role.
What is the “Inzaghi role”?
Filippo Inzaghi was one of the greatest goalscorers of the 1990s. His goals were vital in the success of Serie A clubs Juventus and AC Milan. His style was built on excellent positional play, speed, and efficient finishing. Many refer to Inzaghi’s role as that of a poacher. Although the issue may be more complex, his relative lax approach to dropping into midfield, together for his knack for scoring short-range goals, would make the Italian one of the leading goal poachers in the game.
1 Mauro Icardi (PSG)
You may be tempted to call Mauro Icardi selfish, but, there’s little reason for his team to complain when he scores a high number of goals. Although not physically imposing, or particularly fast, Icardi is capable of using his intelligence, positioning, and courage to get in front of the ball at just the right time. Although a controversial figure, Icardi has achieved success for Sampdoria, Inter Milan, and PSG, and his career shows no signs of slowing down.
2 Chicharito Hernandez
Chicharito may well encapsulate both the role of the poacher, as well as the decline in popularity for tactics favoring it. Nowadays, defenders are expected to be far more active, pressing and marking their opponents throughout the game.
Chicharito, which translates to little pea, is, as the name suggests, not particularly tall or strong. He does possess great work ethic, intelligence and the ability to lose his markers. He has played for teams like Manchester United, Real Madrid, or Sevilla, but with diminishing results. As the number of goals scored has plummeted, Hernandez has taken up residence in the MLS, playing for LA Galaxy.
One of several Polish players terrorizing defenses across Europe, Arkadiusz Milik is often tasked with a role similar to Inzaghi’s at AC Milan. However, Milik is known to also press in midfield when Napoli is not on the ball.
In attack, meanwhile, the Serie A side devotes a lot of the energy of its 4-5-1 formation to getting the ball over to the Polish poacher. While not a great dribbler, Milik does the work of two players and is capable of anticipating where he needs to be to meet the ball on its way to the net.
Filippo Inzaghi was one of football’s greatest players. He is often viewed as the last of an extinct breed of attacker. Sure, his kind is harder to find today, but there will always be a player defying the offside rule and ready to use his intelligence to beat his marker.