Date: Sunday, September 27, 2015
Time: 9:00am ET/ 15:00 CET
Venue: Stadio Luigi Ferraris; Genova, Italy
Last week's loss was painful. And deserved. And maybe it was what Inter needed to open their eyes and realize that they couldn't keep winning scoring just one goal per game. Especially because their defense (or Handa) was bound to make a mistake at some point. Furthermore, this defeat revealed that Mancini needs a lot more time before knowing his team well enough to make the right adjustments when his team is in trouble.
There is no need of being pessimistic now though. The Nerazzurri are still (tied for) first in the Serie A and all the good things they showed so far surely won't disappear just because of one poor game. If they learn from the mistakes made, while keeping the mentality they had before last week's match, Inter will be even stronger and should keep making it rain league points.
Jovetic won't be available against Sampdoria, so Ljajic and Palacio will fight to replace him. Against Fiorentina Mancini put El Trenza in the starting XI as soon as Jojo injured himself and he surely didn't shine. On the contrary, it looked like he was really struggling against younger opponents, even though it must be said in his defence that it's always hard to replace the team's most important player at the very last moment. Sampdoria is not the best defensive team on earth, so Palacio's incessant running and pressing on the opposition could turn out to be really useful, even more than Ljajic's amazing, but often lazy, creativity.
Miranda picked up a totally avoidable red card last week and won't take part to the match against the Blucerchiati on Sunday. Ranocchia is Mancini's first choice to replace him and he will probably play alongside the recovering Murillo, who will resume playing after missing the last two matches. The back four will be completed by Santon and either Juan Jesus or Telles.
The only good note from last week's debacle was Icardi's goal. It was his second in the last three matches and it came from Inter's only clear goal chance of the game. Having our goleador back is especially vital now that our top scorer is injured and unable to play. They need to feed Icardi more, though, and if they want him to keep scoring important goals for the team Mauro needs to be more involved in the maneuver - provided that there actually is one.
Prone to tinkering, Mancini is planning to make a small change in the midfield too. In fact, Medel and Melo could play side by side this Sunday, with the Pitbull acting as defensive midfielder and the Brazilian and Kondogbia on either side. It's a risky choice, since Melo doesn't look like the most agile player ever and also because the young and talented Brozovic and Gnoukouri will be on the bench just raring to play.
As I already said, Sampdoria's weak spot is the defense, and that will be especially true this Sunday as Silvestre suffered a knee sprain and won't play. Moisander and Zukanovic will pair up at the center of the back four, neither of whom are the most reliable in defense. The Blucerchiati have two of the best strikers of the Serie A in terms of technique, and Muriel and Eder's quickness and dribbling skills can be a real threat for any defense.
Sampdoria: Eder, Soriano, Muriel
Inter: Icardi, Murillo, Medel