A new Serie A season is upon us, and it kicks off with last year’s winners Inter hosting mid-table outfit Genoa.
I Nerazzurri are the current champions, although a summer of sales and uncertainty means they are by no means favourites to reach the Serie A summit for a second successive season.
The departures of Antonio Conte, Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi have stunned the fanbase, and the arrivals of Simone Inzaghi, Edin Dzeko and Denzel Dumfries have relatively underwhelmed.
The former Lazio coach will be keen to get off to a winning start against Genoa, and three points would be the perfect medicine to help supporters move on from the inspirational Conte and their former favourite Lukaku.
So, can Inter kick off the new campaign in the perfect manner, or will Genoa be waiting to spoil the champions’ opening title defence?
Here’s 90min‘s preview of the game.
When is Kick-Off? Saturday 21 August
What Time is Kick-Off? 17:30 (BST)
Where is it Played? San Siro
TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport 1 (UK and ROI), bet365 App (UK and ROI), Paramount+ (US)
Plenty of fat to chew over for Inzaghi heading into his opening game as Inter boss. Immediate problems are posed in attack, as he aims to plug the gap left by Lukaku’s departure. Dzeko has arrived from AS Roma and could start up top, but there’ll be no Lautaro Martinez alongside him, who is suspended.
Christian Eriksen is not available as he continues his recovery from a shocking cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, while Alexis Sanchez is not fit for selection. Inzaghi could turn to youngster Martin Satriano to partner Dzeko, although he may prefer to play Hakan Calhanoglu behind the Bosnian.
Genoa coach Davide Ballardini is blessed with an almost fully fit squad, although he will have to do without Mattia Bani and Valon Behrami, who are both suspended for the opening game of the season.
Inter: Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Sensi, Perisic; Calhanoglu, Dzeko.
Genoa: Sirigu; Biraschi, Radovanovic, Criscito; Sabelli, Badelj, Rovella, Czyborra; Hernani; Destro, Pandev.
It’s safe to say, Inter supporters have looked forward to this fixture over the past few seasons. I Nerazzurri haven’t lost to Genoa in the league since February 2018, when the underdogs pulled off a shock 2-0 victory.
Since then, Inter have won all six meetings – by an aggregate scoreline of 21-0. It’s hard to make a case for Genoa with statistics like that…
Inter are not fancied to reach the heights they achieved last season, but beating Genoa on the opening day should not be a bridge too far for Inzaghi and his stars.
We fancy I Nerazzurri to get the job done against Genoa, although given the injuries and suspensions in attack, don’t expect it to be too straight forward. Dzeko should lead the line, and we back him to get on the scoresheet.
Prediction: Inter 2-0 Genoa