Inter’s 2023/24 season is off to a perfect start. The Nerazzurri debuted with style in a 2-0 victory over Monza, headlined by a brace from captain Lautaro Martinez. The Argentine opened the scoring 8 minutes in, and Inter never looked back, nor did Monza ever pose serious questions to the hosts’ backline. Simone Inzaghi’s men handily won the expected goals battle 2.73 to 0.74 and outshot Monza 22-12, while five new arrivals made their debuts at the San Siro, including a clean sheet from Yann Sommer and a Marko Arnautovic assist off the bench. So far, so good.
Simone Inzaghi rolled out the 3-5-2 (shockingly) with debutants Yann Sommer and Marcus Thuram in the team from the start, while Lautaro Martinez donned the captain’s armband. Francesco Acerbi missed out due to a short-term injury. Monza meanwhile gave Roberto Gagliardini and Danilo D’Ambrosio starts in a similar 3-5-2 to Inter’s.
It didn’t take long for Inter to find its first goal of 2023/24 through the boot of Lautaro Martinez, who pounced on a Denzel Dumfries cross to make it 1-0 eight minutes in.
A one-touch finish!— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 19, 2023
Inter captain Lautaro Martínez opens his 2023-24 Serie A account at the San Siro. ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/rMEwxtNvKg
Inter continued to be the more threatening side but couldn’t cause Michele Di Gregorio many problems in the Monza goal, with just 2 of its 12 total shots finding the target. Monza was even less active in the final third with 7 attempts (1 on target) as its midfield, heavily featuring Gagliardini, lacked creativity.
That changed early in the second half, however, and Monza almost equalized in the 48th minute. A punched cross from Yann Sommer fell to the feet of Giorgos Kyriakopoulos but a sliding Hakan Calhanoglu managed to block the Greek’s effort from off the line.
Monza never tested Sommer’s goal to such an extent again, and Inter persisted in control for the remainder of the second half. Inzaghi introduced Carlos Augusto, Juan Cuadrado, Yann Bisseck, and Marko Arnautovic as the game wore on, and it was the latter that helped ice the cake for the Nerazzurri through an assist to Lautaro in the 76th minute.
Marko Arnautović puts it in on a plate for Lautaro Martínez and it's two for the captain! pic.twitter.com/REoeXOhKQu— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 19, 2023
That proved to be the final major event of the night, which ended in a 2-0 victory for the good guys.
Sommer - 6.5: Kept a clean sheet in his debut, and though Monza didn’t test him much, the Swiss international managed two saves.
Bastoni - 7.5: Barely missed a beat after two months off, registering 6 duels won, 10 accurate long balls, and the second-most touches on Inter with 74.
de Vrij - 7: A strong showing from the Dutchman, which is especially good to see after his shaky 22/23 campaign. Made 4 clearances, 2 interceptions, blocked 1 shot, and had a 100% passing rate.
Darmian - 6: Not much of an involvement for Darmian, who ended the evening with just 1 duel and a 88% passing rate.
Dimarco - 7: A busy showing on both sides of the ball from the Italian, who won 4 duels, made 3 tackles, notched 4 key passes, 6 crosses, and a 94% passing accuracy.
Mkhitaryan - 6.5: A solid performance from Mkhitaryan, featuring 2 key passes, 91% passing accuracy, and 2 duels won.
Calhanoglu - 7: Filled the Brozovic-hole admirably with 2 key passes, 5 accurate crosses, 3 successful long balls, and 3 duels won in the center of the park.
Barella - 7: Three key passes, 4 accurate long balls, and 4 duels won in a very well-rounded shift from Barella.
Dumfries - 7: Assisted the opener, made 3 key passes, 5 crosses, and 3 duels won.
Lautaro - 9 (Man of the Match): The type of performance Inter needs from El Toro as the main striker and captain. Simply superb and hopefully a sign of things to come.
Thuram - 6: Couldn’t make much of an impact with only 26 touches, 0 key passes, and 2 blocked shots, but was quite physical with a team-high 12 duels to his name.
Inzaghi - 7: Rolled out a starting XI featuring the players he’s used to but wasn’t afraid to debut the new arrivals either. Finally has some depth to play with as well. It was quite nice to be able to bring the likes of Davide Frattesi and Juan Cuadrado off the bench rather than Gagliardini and an aging D’Ambrosio.
Inter will take the show on the road next week with a Monday night visit to Cagliari, but until then it will be tied for first and with one win from one.