Even as its preseason has been interrupted by COVID-19 concerns, a revolving door of star players heading out of the San Siro, and the introduction of a new manager, Inter can lay claim to a perfect preseason. The Nerazzurri outscored its opponents 25-2 through six games, winning all of them (though FC Lugano managed to take Inter to a penalty shootout). The final friendly before things get serious next Saturday against Genoa was a 3-0 win over the champions of the 2020/21 Ukrainian Premier League, Dynamo Kyiv.
Simone Inzaghi’s starting eleven gave us a surprise with the inclusion of then-Roma player Edin Dzeko upfront. The Bosnian had yet to be announced as an Inter player by the time kickoff rolled around and the first mention of his name by the club’s official Twitter account was a nonchalant announcement of Roma’s third all-time scorer slotting home a preseason goal for Inter. Dzeko’s strike, which put Inter up 2-0, was sandwiched in between goals from Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi. Six of the last seven goals Inter has scored came from the midfield, a sign of Inzaghi’s tactics making their mark. The first goal was a particularly impressive example of Inzaghi Ball™. A series of one-touch passes and flicks carved Dynamo apart before Sensi found Barella’s late onrushing run into the box with a smart backheel that his fellow Italian sent into the back of the net. If Sensi can stay healthy, he’s primed to succeed in Inzaghi’s version of calcio. But as we know all too well, that is one massive if.
Inter’s Starting XI (3-5-1-1): Handanovic (73′ Radu); Skriniar (73′ Ranocchia), de Vrij (73′ D’Ambrosio), Bastoni (73′ Kolarov); Darmian (81′ Zanotti), Barella (61′ Vecino), Brozovic (81′ Agoume), Calhanoglu (81′ Salcedo), Perisic (61′ Dimarco); Sensi (61′ Vidal); Dzeko (46′ Pinamonti)
- 13’ Barella (Sensi)
- 33’ Dzeko (Barella)
- 60’ Sensi
Less than one week until kickoff next Saturday (12:30 PM EST, 6:30 CEST) at the San Siro against Genoa. The countdown is on.