Inter’s 2022/23 season opener went far from expected - what was thought to be a routine victory after just two minutes ended with the Nerazzurri needing a 95th-minute winner from Denzel Dumfries to scrape by newly promoted Lecce after a, uh, less than inspiring performance. Nonetheless, Inter will try and put to rest early doubts over its fortunes when Spezia pays a visit to Milano on Matchday 2.
Despite managing to stay in the top flight for the second season in a row, Spezia underwent another offseason of change. After losing manager Vicenzo Italiano to Fiorentina two summers ago, Thiago Motta followed his predecessor out the door at the end of the 2021/22 campaign. The Brazilian managed to guide the Aquilotti to a 16th-placed finish, six points clear of safety and generally tried to play a positive style of football. But rather than building on Motta’s relative success, Spezia mutually parted ways with him and changed direction via Luca Gotti. The ex-Udinese manager is more of a 3-5-2 type of guy compared to Motta’s 4-3-3 and will offer more defensive stability to the second-worst backline of the 2021/22 season. The early results are positive, and Spezia got off to a perfect start with a 1-0 home win over Empoli last week. New signings Bartlomiej Dragowksi and Mattia Caldara helped anchor the defense and pick up the shutout, while much-maligned striker Mbala N’zola got the game-winner. Still, this is a team that will be fighting tooth and nail for safety and won’t have an easy season ahead.
Inter’s preseason and season opener have been far from confidence building and it’s hard to shake the feeling that the Nerazzurri have become a bit stale of late, dating back to the second half of last season. A high-scoring victory over Spezia wouldn’t do much in the long term to reassure those worries, but it would keep Simone Inzaghi’s side facing forwards ahead of a jam-packed autumn schedule.
Inter has 7 wins and a draw against Spezia in all competitions with a +16 goal differential, including wins in both fixtures last season.
- 2-0 (H), 1/12/2021
- 1-3 (A), 15/4/2022
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Inter Milan 2-0 Spezia
Spezia will follow the lead of Gotti’s Udinese sides and be a pain to play against, but in the end the good guys will come out with the three points thanks to strikes from Lukaku and Lautaro.