So much can change in three months. It’s a new season and a new look for Inter Milan, fresh off of breaking their decade-long trophy drought by winning the Scudetto in May. Much has changed for the club in the summer in the form of the departures of Antonio Conte, Romelu Lukaku, and Achraf Hakimi. A medical scare for Christian Eriksen at the EUROs has all but ruled him out of playing for Inter for at least this season as well, though that is no one’s fault at all.
The Inter coaching job has been filled by Simone Inzaghi, who has been given Denzel Dumfries, Hakan Calhanoglu, and Edin Dzeko so far this transfer window as replacements and reinforcements with the possibility of at least one more player to come. With all of the changes, it is time to see what Inter can do in retaining their Serie A title as they open up the season against Genoa.
Despite the hectic summer, it seems that the Inter squad have responded well to Inzaghi and his brand of 3-5-2 football, focusing on tight interplay and high pressing. We have seen front two parings of Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez as well as Stefano Sensi playing behind one of the strikers in a 3-5-1-1. A 3-4-2-1 has also been experimented with in Inter’s friendlies. The champions did not lose a single friendly in the preseason, but that all goes out the window when the matches begin to count.
With Lautaro suspended for the first match of the season because of yellow card accumulation from last season, it is likely that we will see Sensi starting behind Dzeko. In the midfield, Marcelo Brozovic and Nicolo Barella will be joined by one of Calhanoglu or Matias Vecino. Federico Dimarco could get his first Serie A start for the club, though Ivan Perisic was the favorite for much of last season’s title-winning team. The back three and goalkeeping duties essentially write themselves onto the team sheet. The Skriniar-De Vrij-Bastoni trio will pick up where they left off while captain Samir Handanovic kicks off what should be his last season as the number one at Inter.
Genoa are one of the few teams in Serie A to bring back their manager from the previous season. Go figure. They’ve also brought back ageless wonder Goran Pandev for what could be his final season. Manager Davide Ballardini brings back a very similar squad to last season, minus striker Eldor Shomurodov, who signed for Roma earlier in the summer. They have added former Torino goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, Parma midfielder Hernani on loan, and Inter product Zinho Vanheusden on loan as well.
Genoa finished a comfortable midtable 11th, nine points clear of relegation. With the team not losing much in terms of players, it is likely that they will be able to fight at the same level this season.
0-2 (A) - 24/10/2020
3-0 (H) - 28/2/2021
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Inter 2-0 Genoa
This team is not quite the finished product that they will be a few months from now and they will likely show that at times. Nonetheless, spurred on by their first substantial crowd since early 2020 who have not seen this team on the pitch since long before the Scudetto was raised, Inter should be able to ride the San Siro momentum to victory over a lesser Genoa side.
Here’s to another season! Forza Inter!