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Serie A Preview: Palermo vs. Inter

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The Nerazzurri look to continue their positive start to the season with a win in Sicily…

Marco Luzzani

There is good reason to be optimistic around Appiano Gentile as Inter is riding a five-game unbeaten streak in the early stages of the new campaign.

The Nerazzurri brushed aside Sassuolo 7-0 in Serie A action last weekend before taking care of business in the Europa League with a 1-0 win against Dnipro in Ukraine on Thursday.

There is hope among Interisti that the Beneamata have finally turned the corner under Walter Mazzarri, but it's still probably too early to make sweeping judgements about the squad.

Still, there are some positive takeaways from the first three weeks, especially the play of Mauro Icardi and Mateo Kovacic.

Inter's backline has been surprisingly stout, keeping five straight clean sheets and they hope to extend that streak when they make the trip south to Sicily.

Palermo is back in the Italian top flight after winning Serie B, but have stumbled out of the starting blocks with only one point from two games.

Rosanero owner Maurizio Zamparini is infamous for his itchy trigger finger and another poor result could heap more pressure on manager Giuseppe Iachini.

None of that is the Nerazzurri's concern though, as they will be focused on securing their first win in Palermo since 2010.

THE VITALS

Date: Sunday, September 21

Time: 2:45 ET

Venue: Renzo Barbera

BATTLE DOSSIER

Inter Probable Formation: 3-5-2: Handanovic; Ranocchia, Vidic, Juan Jesus; Jonathan, Hernanes, Medel, M'Vila, Dodo; Osvaldo, Icardi

Palermo Probable Formation: 3-5-2: Sorrentino; Andelkovic, Terzi, Feddal; Pisano, Bolzoni, Rigoni, Barreto, Lazaar; Vazquez, Dybala

Unavailable For Duty: Kovacic will likely miss another match after injuring his leg in training midweek.

Operation Sicilian Kiss: The objective is to render the enemy impotent with a strong mix of relentless pressure and resolute defending.

Enemy Of The State:
Argentine strikers usually always punish Inter as some sort of retribution hoodoo for the club spurning their services. It has gone on for way too long now. I mean Inter only has room for so many Argentine strikers. Can we just put a stop to this nonsense? With two Argentines, Paulo Dybala and Franco Vazquez, in attack the Nerazzurri backline needs to be vigilant at all times.

Medal Of Honour: Mauro Icardi has been firing on all cylinders so far this term and looks poised for a breakout year. The 21-year-old netted a hattrick in the drubbing of Sassuolo and looks for more of the same against a Palermo side which has some glaring holes in defense.

Fear Factor: 6: Palermo is as scary as the organizing team with a crazy leader at your local bocce tournament. The boss wields some serious power but usually makes a bumbling mess of things, eventually running his own team into the ground.

Likely Outcome: Inter has won just once in its last four meetings with Palermo and I don't see them picking up all three points without Kovacic pulling the strings in midfield. I'm going with a 1-1 draw here.