Goals aplenty and a proven winner – Conte's record sparkles against Spalletti's
Antonio Conte's appointment as Luciano Spalletti's replacement at Inter may not be a hugely popular one among fans given his Juventus background, but it looks a smart hire.
Spalletti was dismissed on Thursday despite guiding Inter to successive fourth-place finishes in Serie A and the club announced Conte's arrival on a three-year deal the next day.
It marks Conte's return to football following his sacking by Chelsea at the end of the 2017-18 season, as the Blues missed out on Champions League qualification.
Conte's last job in Italy was with Inter's bitter rivals Juve, whom he coached for three seasons having represented them for 13 years as a player.
Some Inter fans might not be enthusiastic about Conte's hiring as a result of those Juve ties, but Opta data suggests the club has taken a step in the right direction with his appointment.
Although critics of Conte might accuse him of being a pragmatist, generally over spells with Juve and Chelsea, his teams have not been short of goals.
Across the five seasons in question, Conte's teams have never averaged fewer than 1.74 goals per game (2017-18), while Chelsea netted an average of 2.3 in each match of his first season at the helm.
By contrast, Spalletti's Inter managed only 1.65 goals per game in 2017-18 and that decreased to 1.5 this term.
While Spalletti's backers will rightly point out Conte has had better squads at his disposal, the latter even had a more impressive record in the season he was sacked by Chelsea.
Defensive solidity to suffer?
During Conte's time at Juventus, the Old Lady were fairly defensively shrewd, conceding 0.71 goals per game at most in a single campaign.
At their best in 2011-12, they only allowed 0.6 goals in per match, increasing to 0.71 in 2012-13 before dropping back to 0.67 the following campaign.
But at Chelsea there was a significant increase, letting in 0.93 and 0.98 goals every game in his two seasons in charge.
Spalletti's Inter have averaged 0.77 and 0.88 concessions each outing over his two years at San Siro, considerably better than Conte's Chelsea record.
However, Conte would likely suggest such an increase is to be expected when playing more attacking football, as Chelsea scored more than 100 across all competitions in both his seasons at Stamford Bridge.
4 - As a manager, Luciano Spalletti has ended a term in the first four positions in 12 of his last 13 campaigns among Serie A and Russian Premier League (min. 3 apps). Reliable. pic.twitter.com/YFNn1hdZxD— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) May 30, 2019
A proven winner
Arguably Conte's greatest draw statistically is his winning record at both Juve and Chelsea.
Even in his second – and less successful – season in the Premier League, he still managed to win 54.2 per cent of his 59 matches in all competitions.
By comparison, Spalletti has only won half of his games in both campaigns with Inter.
Should Conte really inspire Inter, he will be hoping to get somewhere close to the 78.7 per cent winning rate he posted at Chelsea in 2016-17, as they won a Premier League and FA Cup double.
Conte also boasts an average of 2.19 points per game in his past five seasons as a club manager, while Spalletti has managed 1.79 with Inter.