Max De Luca – What We Learned From Inter’s Win Against Fiorentina
Inter kicked off the 2017-18 campaign in style with a 3-0 win over Fiorentina at San Siro. The Nerazzurri were in control from start to finish with Mauro Icardi leading the way with two goals and Ivan Perisic adding another, as Interisti breathed a sigh of relief following an underwhelming summer mercato that never really delivered the promised goods.
To make matters worse, AC Milan splashed the cash with reckless abandon forcing us to endure the braggadocious boasts from our delirious rivals unable to resist the intoxicating allure of a return to relevance. It was exhausting, infuriating and left a bitter taste in our mouths to say the least.
So with nervous anticipation and a hint of resentment bubbling beneath the surface we awaited the season opener. The uncertainty was like getting ready to see a band which the critics wrote off for being terrible live, or reading an unflattering review on Rotten Tomatoes about a movie you’re eager to watch, but then wondering what all the fuss was about after the lead singer hit every note and the plot flowed seamlessly from one thrilling scene to the next.
The moral of the story is – besides always mute Milan supporters on social media – is everybody has an opinion and is eager to share it, but opinions are like cars on the road, there’s way too many of them, and sometimes it’s better to drown out the noise, take a deep breath and let the magic unfold.
It was just a small sample size to be sure and there’s a long way to go, but boy it felt damn good to have Inter allay our fears with a dominant display.
Here’s what we learned from Inter’s victory:
Mauro Icardi poised for a career year
Icardi started the season off with a bang as his two first-half goals gave Inter the early boost it was looking for. The Argentina international sent Fiorentina goalkeeper Marco Sportiello the wrong way from the penalty spot in the sixth minute before his glancing header doubled the Nerazzurri’s advantage less than 10 minutes later.
Only a heavy touch after intercepting a pass deep in Fiorentina territory late in the first half and a point-blank reaction save from Sportiello in the second stopped Icardi from netting a hat trick.
The 24-year-old is ready to have his best season to date and is primed to show the rest of Europe what we already know: that he’s an elite striker.
Valero could be one of the shrewdest signings of the summer
There were rumblings of discontent among some Interisti when the club signed Borja Valero for €7 million, but the Spanish midfielder has already started to show his worth with a stellar performance against his old team.
The 32-year-old organized the midfield with the experience of a four-star general and hardly put a foot wrong as Inter comfortably won the battle in midfield. His calm demeanour and ability to play himself out of danger with the simplest of touches reminded me of another bald-headed midfielder who used to ply his trade at the Meazza – Esteban Cambiasso.
Valero is not going to win any 100-yard dashes but he doesn’t need to as long as he provides a steady, veteran presence in the middle of the pitch. It’s only been one game but the Spanish midfielder looks to be a bargain buy for the Nerazzurri.
Perisic Power On Display
We all expected Ivan Perisic to be a Manchester United player by now especially after the Croatia international bid farewell to the fans in the final home game last season.
It seemed like every week in the summer there was news about Perisic’s imminent transfer to the Premier League, but the move has yet to materialize. It’s a good thing too as Inter are fortunate to have the services of the 28-year-old, whose vast array of skills were on display Sunday.
He delivered a perfectly weighted cross to Icardi for Inter’s second goal and added his name to the scoresheet with a diving header in the 79th minute, which put an exclamation point on an impressive opening-week win.
Max De Luca is a journalist based in Toronto, Canada and has been published on Reuters, CBC, Yahoo, Goal, USA Today and many more. Every week Max pens a column exclusively for SempreInter.com discussing the most pressing topics of the past week.