After winning the Serie A for the first time in 11 years, Inter is entering the new season with a hope to repeat the win. Can they really do it?
Footballers across Europe had what appears to be the shortest off-season this summer. After the end of the club season and the European Championship, the teams have already started the preparations for the upcoming season.
Serie A starts on August 22nd and it look like we have a very unpredictable season ahead of us.
Inter won their 19th Serie A title last season and are entering the battle for the throne as the reigning champions. Every sports fan knows that it is difficult to win a title, but even tougher to defend one.
The most significant personnel change is the introduction of new coach Simone Inzaghi.
Antonio Conte managed to take Inter to the top of the league after only two seasons in the coaching position, but despite that, the management of the team decided not to continue the cooperation with him.
Conte demanded guarantees that the nucleus of the champions winning team would remain unchanged, prioritizing the extension of the contract with the club’s top scorer Romelu Lukaku.
Such guarantees were not given, which meant the end of his stint with Inter. Simone Inzaghi is probably the best young coach in Italy, maybe even in Europe.
He spent the last five seasons on Lazio’s bench leading the team to the Italian Cup victory in 2019. Inzaghi is known as the players’ coach, a coach who built a reputation for getting the most out of his players.
Like Conte, Inzaghi prefers a 3-5-2 formation with wings that like to get forward and join the offensive line. In his preferred formation, two central strikers are supported by an attacking midfielder who sits just in front of the other two players in midfield.
It is a tactically fluid system that appears like a 5-3-2 out of possession as the wingbacks drop back into defense. Inzaghi is also known for his versatility in how he sets his team up to defend.
During his spell at Lazio, he implemented both a high press and a mid-block to win the ball back when their opponents were in possession.
Inter’s current squad will allow Inzaghi to implement his playing style and the team management sees him as a long-term coach.
However, the real question is whether Inzaghi is capable of leading Inter to another title in his first season?
Conte managed to achieve that in his second season, but unlike Inzaghi, Conte is a much more experienced coach who has won titles before, three with Juventus and one with Chelsea.
Inzaghi certainly has the coaching quality for great success, but considering that this is his first job outside Lazio, the team where he spent his entire coaching career so far, winning the title this season would be a huge challenge.
The implementation of his way of playing will certainly take time and the first five to seven rounds will be crucial for Inter’s success next season.
If Inzaghi manages to win the majority of points in this period, Inter fans can expect another successful season. Of course, the competition is always tremendous but Inter has the quality to win back-to-back titles.
For that purpose, Inzaghi will have the majority of the roster that reached the throne last season. The main players in his squad will be Romelu Lukaku, Alessandro Bastoni, Nicolò Barella and Stefan de Vrij.
The biggest roster change is certainly the situation with Christian Eriksen. We all witnessed the dramatic scenes from the match between Denmark and Finland at the European Championship, in which Eriksen was on the verge of death.
Although, fortunately, the Danish player has recovered, medical prognosis says that he will never be able to play professional football again.
From last year’s squad, Simone Inzaghi will not be able to count on Ashley Young, who returned to Aston Villa, Achraf Hakimi left for PSG, Daniele Padelli went to Udinese while the fate of Aleksandar Kolarov is still uncertain.
So far in the transfer window, newcomers are Matteo Darmian, Hakan Calhanoglu and Alex Cordaz.
Matteo Darmian already played for Inter on loan from Parma, but the team finally signed him to a contract. He is an experienced defender and is expected to be regular in Inzaghi’s first team.
Hakan Calhanoglu has played for city rivals Milan for the past four seasons. The Turk plays amazing in the mid-field and is expected to immediately replace Christian Eriksen.
He has excellent playmaking skills and is a great passer. What makes him even more dangerous is his shot, which is often a threat to the opponent’s goal.
He, moreover, has a distinguished understanding of when to change directions when on the ball. This makes him especially dangerous in central half-spaces in the opposition half as defenders find it hard to close in on him.
Alex Cordaz will take over the reserve goalkeeping position that was left vacant after the departure of Daniele Padelli. Cordaz is a 38-year-old veteran who has spent the past six seasons in Crotone.
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