This Sunday 21 August 2016 sees Inter start their 2016/17 Serie A campaign with a trip to the Stadio Bentigodi to face Chievo (kick-off 20:45 CET).
Inter’s pre-season was anything but plain sailing, but whenever is it? Inter did however win their last friendly against Celtic, in Frank De Boer’s first match in charge. Chievo had a similar pre-season and also finished their pre-season with a victory. When Inter and Chievo clashed heads last term Inter came out on top both times with narrow 1-0 wins.
Jeison Murillo is suspended leaving Inter with a rather suspect looking defence other than Miranda. Summer signing’s Cristian Ansaldi is set to miss out through injury and will have to wait a little longer to have their competitive debut for the club. Fellow defender Marco Andreolli will also not feature as a result of injury while Caner Erkin could feature. Further up the field, Eder will play no part as he recovers from injury.
Probable line-up (subject to change): (4-3-3) Handanovic; Nagatomo, Ranocchia, Miranda, D’Ambrosio; Brozovic, Kondogbia, Banega; Perisic, Icardi, Candreva
Historically speaking, Inter have won eight of the fourteen encounters played in Verona. There has been three draws and three wins for Chievo, who last won this fixture on home soil at the tail end of the 2013/14 season. Odds are heavily in favour of an Inter win without a doubt.
With this being Frank De Boer’s first competitive game in the dugout, it is definitely worth a mention that his first competitive match in charge of Ajax – his only other managerial gig – ended in victory against none other than our rivals Milan in the Champions League.
Icardi will be key
Mauro Icardi will be key for Inter on Sunday. The captain will need to lead by example and get Inter’s season started in the best way possible, three points. In the past two meetings, it’s been Icardi’s solitary goals that have given Inter victory.
Icardi forms part of the tasty front trio Frank De Boer has at his disposal also involving Ivan Perisic and new boy Antonio Candreva. If there was a place out field Inter look over powered in, attack is definitely that place.
Massimiliano Irrati is the referee for this encounter. His assistants are Manganelli and Pegarin. The fourth official is Gava. The additional assistants for the game are Guida and Ghersini.
Prediction and Authors Note
Inter to win 2-0 with goals coming from Icardi and Perisic seems a fair result, In the 28 total meetings Inter have averaged 2.25 goals a game while Chievo average slightly less with 2.21 but have not found the net in the past four encounters, while Inter have scored 4 times, winning three of them and playing out the only 0-0 in the series in the other.
Ultimately, Inter should win this game, Chievo are not easy customers by any means but Inter’s attack should prove too hot to handle for the ageing Chievo defence. Three points is absolutely vital and will get confidence flying high, even if it is only Palermo and Pescara in the two weeks after.