Stadio Angelo Massmomino, Catania
1st September, 7:45 PM BST
After a comfortable stroll out at the San Siro against hapless Genoa, Inter Milan will look to keep their early season momentum in motion as they visit Catania to take on a Rolando Maran led Catania, who come off the back of a disappointing result against Fiorentina.
For Walter Mazzarri, things could not have kicked off in a better way. On the day of his Nerazzurri bow, the Italian tactician was subject to a warm welcoming by the Interisti, as he saw his newly assembled squad grind down a compact Genoa to collect three points and hit the ground running. Nothing flashy, yet a concrete display by the home side brought about a sense of relief among fans, given the dismal starts the team has got off to, in the previous campaigns. Coming to Catania, the Rossazzuri have developed a tendency to punch above their weight in the past but having lost out on some of their more valuable assets, it remains to be seen if Maran can weave his wand once again this season. The extensive recruiting program of teams around the Italian landscape has taken the gloss away from others, and Catania are one of them.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Rolando Maran’s men have developed a reputation of having the odd surprise up their sleeves. The Rossazzuri’s 8th place finish, which was one above their opponents this weekend, certainly brought them into the spotlight of footballing circles in the peninsula. But the departure of Fransesco Lodi and Giovani Marchese to Genoa, and Alejandro Gomez (the main go-to man in attack) and the failure on the hierarchy’s part to replace the trio effectively have somewhat taken the sheen away from a side that promised so much. New signings Fabian Monzon, Gino Peruzzi, Panagiotis Tacthsidis and Kingsley Boateng may well demand their fair share of time before they bed into the culture at the club, and it remains to be seen whether the quarter can stamp their mark on the city and its people
Maran is likely to continue with the 4-3-2-1 that he put to use at the Franchi on Monday evening. Giuseppe Bellusci and Nicolla Spolli are likely to continue in the center of defence, alongside Fabian Monzon on the right and Pablo Alvarez on the left. The midfield 3 is likely to comprised of Tachtsidis, Mariano Izco and Lucas Castro. Tachtsidis and Izco will probably play in the pivot with Lucas Castro ahead of them as an advanced playmaker.
Pablo Barrientos will start down the right and will be ably supported by Sebastian Leto who will start down the left. The duo will look to interchange and provide the necessary ammunition to Gonzalo Bergessio upfront.
Catania (4-3-2-1) : Andujar; Monzon; Bellusci; Spolli; Alvarez; Tachtsidis; Izco; Castro; Barrientos; Leto; Bergessio
The first game of any season is a tricky problem to solve for newly assembled teams but a dodged 90 minutes at the San Siro culminated with the Nerazzurri coming out with the spoils of the battle. The defence looked compact, the midfield keep things sturdy, but the shifts put in by Ricardo Alvarez and Rodrigo Palacio left a lot to be desired in the final third of the pitch. That combination seems likely to be broken up as new signing Mauro Icardi, who provided the spark post his introduction last weekend, seems likely to start this time around.
The trio of Diego Milito, Walter Samuel and Javier Zanetti are still sidelined with long term injuries, whereas Cristian Chivu has made progress in terms of recovering from his foot injury. Mazzarri, in all probability will set his team out in the 3-5-2 with Andrea Rannochia, Juan and Hugo Campagnaro making up the three central defenders. Jonathan is likely to be rewarded for his showings in the early season with another start down the right flank, with Yuto Nagatomo partnering him on the left.
The midfield three consisting of Esteban Cambiasso, Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Walter Gargano are likely to broken up, with the Argentine veteran most probably making way for Croatian starlet Mateo Kovacic, who was full of running and energy after his introduction. The playmaker has been a self-proclaimed follower of the likes of David Silva and Mezut Ozil, and provides the ability to unlock stubborn defences with an eye for picking the right pass.
Upfront, Mauro Icardi is expected to partner his compatriot on the international scene, Rodrigo Palacio with the latter playing off the former.
Inter (3-5-2): Handanovic, Jonathan, Campagnaro, Rannochia, Juan, Nagatomo, Kuzmanovic, Guarin, Kovacic, Palacio, Icardi
- Inter have scored at least 2 goals in 12 of their last 14 matches against Catania in all competitions.
- Catania are undefeated in 10 of their last 11 home matches in Serie A.
Players to watch out for
For Internazionale, Mauro Icardi is the one to watch out for at the Angelo Massimino.The Argentine hitman, who hails from the fabled La Masia has drawn comparisons with the great strikers of Argentin, and his cameo last weekend has done no harm to his burgeoning reputation in the Peninsula.
Pablo Barrientos is expected to take over the role of Catania’s ‘go-to’ man in the final third from the now departed Alejandro Gomez. The right sided attacker will look to exploit the spaces down the sides of the Inter backline and make himself a nuisance for the Nerazzuri to deal with.
Catania 1-2 Inter
Catania’s expansive play down the sides may well expose the Inter backline on more than one occasion, and I expect the Rossazzurri to score one from the wings. On the other hand, the likes of Kovacic and Guarin will look to get high up the field when Inter move forward with the ball and support Palacio and Icardi. The movement of these four may ultimately prove to be the mantra for yet another three points for the Nerazzurri.