Inter’s quest at preserving its 100% start to the Serie A campaign continues with a rare midweek Serie A matchday. Simone Inzaghi’s men take on its bogey team of years past, Sassuolo, on Wednesday at the Guiseppe Meazza.
Sassuolo has six points on the season, good enough for 11th in Serie A. Its tough schedule hasn’t helped, with meetings against Napoli, Atalanta, and a surprisingly good Frosinone to open 2023/24. Nonetheless, it’s hard to deny that the Neroverdi have slipped a little bit further from the heights it reached under Roberto de Zerbi every summer of late, and subsequently deeper into midtable territory come the following season. The most recent transfer window was no exception, and this time it was Maxime Lopez and Davide Frattesi departing Emilia-Romagna. Sassuolo did, however, manage to keep ahold of Domenico Berardi (3 goals) amidst heavy Juventus interest along with talented 24-year-old French winger Armand Lauriente (1 goal, 1 assist), and those two form the attacking corps alongside ex-Inter man Andrea Pinamonti (4g). That frontline flexed its might for the first time last weekend in a 4-2 win over Juventus, with all three notching a goal Saturday. It also served as a sign that this Sassuolo side is still capable of springing a surprise against the big clubs and a warning to Inter that Wednesday’s meeting won’t be easy at all.
Inter’s 1-0 win over Empoli wasn’t one for the aesthetically minded, but it got the job done and three more points added to the Nerazzurri’s total. Inzaghi’s side has a three-point lead on Milan, four on Lecce (!?), and five on Juventus atop the Serie A standings with a perfect record so far. This week’s double-matchday gives Inter an excellent opportunity to further separate from the pack, but to do that it will have to take care of business against Sassuolo and then at Salernitana this weekend. Sassuolo is no easy opponent, and will still be riding the wave of momentum its 4-2 win over Juve provided. Inzaghi’s squad rotation should mean enough players are fresh enough so that fatigue won’t be a factor on Wednesday, although the striker position is becoming a concern after Marko Arnautovic’s injury, putting more pressure and minutes on Lautaro, Thuram, and Alexis Sanchez.
Inter leads the all-time record, but only just barely at 10W-2D-8L, although the good guys did beat its bogey team in both fixtures last season.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Inter Milan 2-1 Sassuolo
Pinamonti will snag a goal for the visitors (see: Law of the Ex) but Inter will take all three points thanks to strikes from Barella and Calhanoglu.