With barely any time to recover from a wild 4-3 win over Fiorentina, Inter Milan’s attention must turn to a Wednesday clash at the newly promoted Benevento. This fixture was originally meant to be played on Matchday 1, but Inter’s extended Europa League run lead to a postponement.
Benevento showed considerable character in its season opener against Sampdoria, coming back from 2-0 within twenty minutes of kickoff to win 3-2. All three goals came from defenders, though, so whether such form is sustainable is questionable at the least. Still, to get a more complete picture let’s revisit @TotalSerieB’s summary of Pippo Inzaghi’s side in this piece.
Le Streghe are now primed and ready for Serie A Act II and have every reason to believe they can avoid the drop this time around. Their historic season in the second division, which equaled Palermo’s record points tally (86), was buoyed by their airtight defense and ability to find the back of the net from a variety of positions. Pippo Inzaghi’s men conceded a paltry 27 goals in 38 matches, 13 fewer than the next best defense, and goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipò kept a staggering 18 clean sheets. In the offensive phase, Marco Sau led the way with 13 goals but there was plenty of love to go around with Nicolas Viola, Roberto Insigne, and Massimo Coda each scoring seven or more.
Head coach Pippo Inzaghi has a bit of personal redemption in his sights after unsuccessful spells at Milan and Bologna. The skipper has quite the array of weapons at his disposal already, and an array of notable acquisitions this summer will have the 47-year-old much more confident in his starting XI and squad depth.
Veteran defender Kamil Glik brings boatloads of experience in the top flights of Italy and France, midfielder Bryan Dabo will be looking to have a standout year following spells at Fiorentina and SPAL, Gianluca Lapadula can add his offensive prowess to the mix on the heels of a solid season up top for Lecce, and Gianluca Caprari’s arrival from Sampdoria offers quality at the second striker position. Finally, Moldovan midfielder Artur Ionita can be a pillar in the middle of the park with a four-year stay and 132 appearances at Cagliari in the rear view.
Inter, meanwhile, will want a much smoother ninety minutes than Saturday’s experience. Stefan de Vrij’s return from suspension will help, but the center-back we all want to see starting is Milan Skriniar. He’s been linked with a transfer for months, but Piero Ausilio poured cold water on it after the Fiorentina match. Conte, though, made a sale seem more likely, saying the club would consider offers of sufficient size. Whether the Slovak starts Wednesday could give us a hint to what his future holds.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Benevento 1-2 Inter Milan
I could see this one being a lot closer than anyone anticipates, but Inter will still come out on top thanks to Lautaro Martinez’s second goal in as many games and an Alexis Sanchez strike from off the bench.