Internazionale host Fiorentina on the opening day of the Serie A season this Sunday. Armed with new owners, new signings and a new manager in Luciano Spalletti – expectations will be high amongst the home faithful.
Coming off the back of a seventh placed finish, Inter have no European football this season to distract them, making a strong league finish their main aim.
Fiorentina, perhaps surprisingly, have won five of the last six league meetings making this a tough start for Spalletti.
Here’s how Inter could line up on Sunday.
No surprises here. Samir Handanović is going into his fifth season with Inter and will surely retain his first team place.
Two new faces in the defence, as €20 million centre back Martin Skriniar and Brazilian full back Dalbert join the ranks. Improving the defence was imperative for new boss Spalletti, as Inter look to challenge for the Scudetto.
Partnered with Miranda, Škriniar has impressed in pre-season and the Slovakian will be hoping for a clean sheet on his competitive debut with the Nerazzurri.
Spalletti usually deploys a 4-2-3-1, so expect nothing different come Sunday. Noted for being quite fluid in the attacking phase, Spalletti will rely upon newcomers Matías Vecino and Roberto Gagliardini to control the midfield.
While the latter is the most likely starter, Vecino’s place will be contested by Borja Valero, Charles Kondogbia, and Marcelo Brozović. This will allow the attacking trio of Antonio Candreva, João Mário and Ivan Perišić to be free of defensive duties, allowing them to create.
The spearhead of the Inter attack and the club captain, Mauro Icardi will lead the line against Fiorentina. The last time the clubs met, Icardi bagged a hat-trick – this time he will be hoping to be on the winning side, following a bizarre 5-4 loss last season.
With the World Cup on the horizon, Icardi will be hoping for another prolific season for Inter in order to pip Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero to the starting spot.
Last season, Icardi registered 24 league goals for the Nerazzurri and will be looking to hit the ground running this Sunday.