The first international break always feels the longest. Two matches into the Serie A season then two weeks of anticipation, especially after two great results to start the campaign. Now for the light at the end of the tunnel, the bulk of Simone Inzaghi’s squad returns from international duty injury-free to begin the first serious stretch of the season that includes Champions League fixtures as well as midweek Serie A in the coming weeks. To kick off this run, Inter will face Roberto D’Aversa and his new look Sampdoria side on Sunday afternoon.
Though only on one point so far this season, Sampdoria have provided two decent showings against strong competition in Sassuolo and AC Milan. They drew 0-0 away to Sassuolo then suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Milan. The Ligurian side also added a substantial striking presence to supplement Fabio Quagliarella in another veteran, Francesco Caputo.
The new arrival from Sassuolo may make his debut alongside Quagliarella to complete a front two with a combined age of 72. Despite their ages, both strikers are still very dangerous in front of goal and will benefit from the service of Mikkel Damsgaard and former Inter winger Antonio Candreva out wide on either side of a possible 4-4-2. All things considered, this current Sampdoria side might be their most balanced attacking setup in years.
The events of Inter’s last Serie A match are undoubtedly still fresh in the minds of Interisti. The 3-1 comeback victory away to Verona that signaled the beginning of the Joaquin Correa show, as the new signing come on late for his Inter debut only to score the winner and top it off with an insurance goal in added time.
The Argentine then went off with his compatriot Lautaro Martinez to Argentina’s South American World Cup qualifiers, where a bit of chaos ensued. However, the returning Argentines are not expected to start against Sampdoria. Rather, it will likely be Edin Dzeko starting with Stefano Sensi just behind him in the 3-5-1-1 that was so successful in the first match of the season against Genoa. The Co-La partnership will be saved for Wednesday’s Champions League opener against Real Madrid.
Elsewhere on the pitch, Inzaghi is expected to keep things similar to Inter’s first two matches. Sensi and Alessandro Bastoni were rumored to have picked up knocks before Italy’s final World Cup qualifier, though both players quickly dispelled the rumors. The same midfield, wingbacks, and centerbacks will look to keep the heat off of a shaky Samir Handanovic, who will be looking to keep a clean sheet and regain some form after his sluggish start to the season.
2-1 (A) - 6/1/2021
5-1 (H) - 8/5/2021
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Sampdoria 1-2 Inter
There are a few interesting storylines following Inter into this match. Sampdoria were one of the few teams to beat Inter in Serie A last season in this exact fixture. There is also the factor of Daniele Orsato officiating the match, but that is something to get into another day. On top of it all, the match is a lunchtime kickoff in Italy, a timeslot that has seen Inter come out flat directly after an international break many times before. However, this current Inter team exudes a level of professionalism that should help them overcome the issues of travel. On the pitch, Inter’s quality should see them through, but it may seem slow at times, similar to the match away to Verona.