MATCH PREVIEW: INTER VS ATALANTA; CAN THE DEFENDING CHAMPIONS PROVE THEIR EARLY TITLE CREDENTIALS AGAINST A RAMPANT ATALANTA?
The Serie-A is back this weekend and brings an exciting match up on Saturday. The defending champions Inter Milan host title-chasing Atalanta. Both sides made a promising start to the new campaign and are laying a marker indicating a cut-throat title race. The Nerazzurri are on a two game-winning run in the league just like their opponents on the evening. However, Atalanta looks to end Inter’s unbeaten run in the league.
Having ended Juventus’ decade long dominance in the league, Inter looks the real deal again. They lost their volatile manager Antonio Conte who led them to the Scudetto. They also had to deal with the losses of key men in Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi.
🌙 | GOOD NIGHT
We have now won 1,500 games in @SerieA_EN, 91 years, 11 months and 15 days after our first (against Livorno in October 1929)!
— Inter 🏆🇮🇹 (@Inter_en) September 21, 2021
Through smart signings and business in the window, they have registered a brilliant start to their title defence. New signings Edin Dzeko, Joaquin Correa made an instant impact. Their tight defence is proving to be a wall again and needs some breaking.
The boys from Bergamo however won’t take no for an answer. Gasperini’s charges are full of running and drain the life out of opposition defenders. With intense press high up the field, they tend to extract mistakes from the most sound of defences.
The wingbacks, who confer strength to the Atalanta attack are back in fine form with both Robin Gosens and Davide Zappacosta on the scoresheet midweek. In Joachim Maehle, they have another match-winner on the ranks. Nevertheless, their forwards possess a threat of their own in the form of Josif Ilicic and Duvan Zapata.
This promises to be a high octane clash and FootTheBall brings you everything you need to know about it.
The hosts are going to be without Christian Eriksen in the near future. Besides, their bench took a hit when Joaquin Correa was ruled out along with Arturo Vidal and Stefano Sensi. Apart from these, Inzaghi has got no major worries.
☀️ | GOOD MORNING
— Inter 🏆🇮🇹 (@Inter_en) September 22, 2021
Inzaghi follows a three at the back system which is quite identical to Conte’s. Hence, the defending champions’ playing style didn’t falter as all the players knew what was their task. Inzaghi is also implementing his tactics by using Hakan Calhanoglu as a trequartista and playing with more possession.
Since Inter played midweek, a couple of changes could be on the cards with Denzel Dumfries making a strong case for a start in particular.
Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Kolarov; Dzeko, Martinez
Gasperini is without a couple of his key players. Striker Luis Muriel and Wing-back Hans Hateboer haven’t recovered from long term injuries.
— Atalanta B.C. (@Atalanta_BC) September 22, 2021
He can take heart from the performances of other players like Gosens, Maehle and Ilicic. Despite Zappacosta’s mid-week heroics, Maehle would claim the wingback berth on the right side. Ilicic might come back into the side after a rest midweek.
Musso; Toloi, Demiral, Djimsiti: Maehle, de Room, Koopmeiners, Gosens; Pessina; Ilicic, Zapata
The Bosnian international is probably playing his best football in Milano. This move came quite unexpectedly to Dzeko. He ran down the contract at Roma and was going to be a free agent when the defending champions approached him. He was expected to be a squad option for them in their title defence but Dzeko grew into a key player early on in the season.
In the twilight of his career, he scored four goals and assisted once in five games as Inter won four of them. He is just three shy of matching his last season’s tally in less than half the games.
— Inter 🏆🇮🇹 (@Inter_en) September 22, 2021
Dzeko is playing with renewed confidence and providing a good target man like head for their wingbacks. He also struck a partnership with Martinez and Calhanoglu to make runs into the box.
The defensive pivot of de Roon and Koopmeiners have to be on their toes and screen their defence from a recharged Dzeko.
The German wing-back impressed mightily at the Euros and made a solid start to the new campaign. He scored the opener against Sassuolo midweek just three minutes into the game.
— Atalanta B.C. (@Atalanta_BC) September 21, 2021
The all-action defender is a solid tackler at the back and bombs forward at the first opportunity he gets. He has a dangerous cross on his as evident from the Euros.
Serie-A newboy Dumfries might be in for a hectic evening if he is handed the task of going up against Gosens.
Both sides playing freestyle attacking football. Their managers won’t settle for a point even in the 90th minute. There was too little to choose between the two sides last campaign as they drew 1-1 in the first leg while Inter won the reverse fixture 1-0.
5️⃣ #SerieA 💎 matches
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) September 22, 2021
With both sides in impressive form, this game might test their title credentials albeit a bit early into the season.
FootTheBall predicts an entertaining end to end affair with Inter and Atalanta both sharing points once again in a 2-2 draw.