Inter Milan’s 2023/24 Serie A campaign gets underway at Giuseppe Meazza as they face last season’s surprise package Monza on Saturday.
Despite losing the second-most league games among the sides to have finished in the upper half of the table, they claimed a third-place finish last term but were never in the Scudetto picture.
While their Serie A exploits left a lot to be desired, the Nerazzurri found some comfort in hoisting the Coppa Italia trophy for the second season on the trot.
Advancing into the Champions League final for the first time since Jose Mourinho’s title-winning 2009/10 season was the absolute peak of Inter’s 2022/23 campaign.
However, after a raft of key player arrivals and departures at Meazza, we had good reason to question their title credentials in our 2023/24 Serie A season preview.
Silvio Berlusconi, who orchestrated Monza’s maiden promotion to Serie A, passed away in June, but his close friend and associate Adriano Galliani is still there to maintain his legacy.
Once a CEO at AC Milan, Galliani has done most of his summer dealings with Inter, lending them Carlos Augusto on loan while allowing Stefano Sensi to return to Meazza after a season-long spell at the Brianteo.
Monza have got the former Nerazzarri duo, Danilo D’Ambrosio and Roberto Gagliardini, in return, while Giorgos Kyriakopoulos arrived on loan from Sassuolo.
Following an impressive debut campaign in Serie A, Raffaele Palladino’s men head into the new season slightly weaker than last term but hopeful of bettering 2022/23’s 12th-place finish.
Andre Onana, Marcelo Brozovic, Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko are no longer at Inzaghi’s disposal, with Inter doing a decent job in replacing last season’s stalwarts.
Yann Sommer, Davide Frattesi, Marcus Thuram and Marko Arnautovic have come in to fill the blanks as Inzaghi hopes to mount a more promising Scudetto challenge this year.
Much will depend on the manner in which the 19-time Serie A champions open the season, and with four of their opening five league games pitting them against lower-ranked rivals, there’s a reason for optimism.
Both previous league campaigns under Inzaghi have been off to a winning start, but Inter cannot afford to take Monza lightly, having gone winless in both last season’s league encounters (D1, L1).
Monza’s eye-catching 52-point haul made them the best newly-promoted side in Europe’s top-five leagues in 2022/23 as they amassed the second-highest points total for any Serie A debutant.
Palladino deserves much credit for Monza’s impressive first season in the top flight, taking charge of a downtrodden side that only won one point in the first six rounds and turning them into top-half contenders.
They also developed a habit of punching above their weight, as witnessed by a pair of stunning away wins against Inter and Juventus ‘to nil’ in the second half of last season.
However, the visitors have been notoriously slow out of the blocks in recent years, going winless in their last three opening league matches (D2, L1), including a 2-1 home loss to Torino in 2022/23.
In addition to the abovementioned signings, Inter boss Inzaghi acquired another significant asset in the summer, with Juan Cuadrado ending his long-term association with Juventus to move to Meazza.
But it’s more likely the Colombian veteran will start on the bench as Denzel Dumfries remains a first-choice right-back.
As for Monza, Gagliardini and D’Ambrosio return to the San Siro district as adversaries, with both expected to make Palladino’s starting line-up.
Luca Caldirola and Patrick Ciurria, who scored against Inter last season, should retain their spots in the squad.
Inter Milan potential starting line-up:
(3-5-2): Yann Sommer; Matteo Darmian, Stefan e Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni; Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Davide Frattesi, Federico Dimarco; Marcus Thuram, Lautaro Martinez.
Monza potential starting line-up:
(3-4-2-1): Michele Di Gregorio; Danilo D’Ambrosio, Pablo Mari, Luca Caldirola; Patrick Ciurria, Roberto Gagliardini, Matteo Pessina, Giorgos Kyriakopoulos; Andrea Colpani, Gianluca Caprari; Dany Mota.
We Say: Inter Milan 2-1 Monza
It’s hard to expect the lightning to hit the same place twice, yet Monza deserve the benefit of the doubt.
We believe Palladino’s men can trouble the scoreboard, although Inter will likely walk away with three points.
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