Date: Sunday, September 20, 2015
Time: 6.30pm ET/ 12.30 CET
Venue: Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi; Verona, Italy
It could sound obvious, but this Sunday is vital for Inter to earn the three points. Not because I think Chievo is a realistic threat for their Scudetto hopes, but because is a great chance for the Nerazzurri to increase the gap between them and their virtual rivals for the top spots. Juve, Milan are having a hard time lately and Roma will take on Sassuolo, which are one of this season's revelations and always a tough nut to crack. Lazio, Fiorentina and Napoli will be slowed down by their Europa League matches and will probably face dire straits.
It won't be an easy game. Not at all. Chievo's quality is far less than Inter's, but they make up for this with a really solid defense and a hard-working midfield. Plus, they tend to capitalize on every single possession they have, trying to take the most out of it and rarely wasting a good chance when they have one. Basically, they are the exact opposite from the Nerazzurri, which are careless - at times - and they often need three or more clear goal scoring opportunities to actually score one, even if they have last year's capocannoniere.
Don't be surprised if Mancini makes some changes in the formation from one week to another because, as he also stated in the pre-game press conference, Mancio has more than one realistic choice in every role, in contrast with the past few years. Inter's forwards department is one of the most packed in terms of quality and talent, so the Nerazzurro coach will have to make important decisions every week about it.
Chievo can't claim to have any top player in their squad, but I think that Meggiorini and Birsa will be the ones who will give us more troubles tomorrow: the first for his hustle and obduracy, the second for his quality and long shot ability. One thing Inter need to avoid at all costs is to let the Gialloblù catch them off guard, because of their great talent at playing on counter-attacks. The fact that both JJ and Miranda are still doubtful for tomorrow's match is worrying me, mostly because finding the right chemistry quickly among defenders is very difficult and without it, the risk of conceding easy goals increases exponentially.
On paper, this shouldn't be a high scoring game, yet I think we will see three or more goals tomorrow. Despite having two of the best defences so far, the forwards' skills of both clubs are perfect to cause issues to the opposing back-four. And besides Inter will have a super-motivated Icardi ready to end his dry spell, and willing to prove that last year's 22 goals were not a coincidence but a certification of his goal scoring abilities.