Inter Milan will be hoping to build on their positive start to the season when they face off against Hellas Verona in Matchday 2 of the 2021/22 Serie A.

Inter Milan will be aiming to make it two wins in two games under new manager Simone Inzaghi when they travel to Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi to take on Hellas Verona on Friday night.

Despite having lost their Serie A title-winning manager Antonio Conte and two pillars of the team in Achraf Hakimi and Romelu Lukaku, Inter Milan began the defence of their Scudetto in fine fashion last weekend, beating Genoa 4-0. New head coach Inzaghi will be looking to carry that momentum forward and pick up his second win before going into the first international break of the season.

Hellas Verona, meanwhile, had a disappointing start to the new campaign as they fell to a 2-3 defeat to Sassuolo at home, having been reduced to ten men. Having achieved a tenth place finish last season, the Gialloblu will be aiming to go higher this time out but manager Eusebio Di Francesco will need to tighten things up at the back as early as possible for his side to achieve that this term.

The corresponding fixture last season had ended in a 1-2 win for Inter Milan with goals coming from Lautaro Martinez and Milan Skriniar. Ahead of their latest trip to Veneto, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Hellas Verona

The home team will have to make do without the services of midfielder Miguel Veloso who misses out due to suspension after being sent off in the opening game against Sassuolo. Apart from that manager Eusebio Di Francesco does not have any notable roster issues to deal with as he prepares his team to take on the champions.

The Gialloblu secured the signing of Giovanni Simeone on Thursday, but the Argentine might not be ready to be involved against Inter Milan.

Hellas Verona will line up in their usual 3-4-2-1 formation with Lorenzo Montipo lining up between the sticks. The three-man backline in front of the custodian ought to comprise Giangiacomo Magnani, Koray Gunter and Federico Ceccherini. Di Francesco’s teams are not exactly known for their defensive solidity, but the backline will need to be at their utmost best to stand a chance against Inter on Friday.

Davide Faraoni should get the nod at right wing-back while Darko Lazovic starts on the left. The duo will have the licence to spring forward whenever an opportunity presents itself, although they will be needed to put in a lot of defensive work. In midfield, with Veloso unavailable, Ivan Ilic ought to partner Adrien Tameze as the duo look to keep a check on the influence of Nicolo Barella and Hakan Cahlanoglu.

The creative onus will largely fall on the shoulders of the attacking midfield duo of Antonin Barak and Mattia Zaccagni, who will look to fashion up openings for striker Nikola Kalinic, although it will not be an easy task against a formidable Inter Milan defence.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Montipo; Magnani, Gunter, Ceccherini; Faraoni, Tameze, Ilic, Lazovic; Barak, Zaccagni; Kalinic

Inter Milan

Inter Milan, meanwhile, could be ready to hand new signing Joaquin Correa his debut after his signing was completed on Thursday. Alexis Sanchez has stepped up his recovery but remains unavailable for Friday night, while Christian Eriksen is also unavailable, along with Roberto Gagliardini.

Simone Inzaghi used to deploy his Lazio team in a 3-5-2 setup and has continued with a similar formation at Inter Milan, with the Nerazzurri themselves very familiar with the formation, having played with the same shape under former manager Antonio Conte.

Veteran goalkeeper and club captain Samir Handanovic will remain under the sticks yet again for the champions. He will have protection from Milan Skriniar, who was in fine form in the last game, along with Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni, who will be encouraged to carry the ball out from the defence on a regular basis.

Matteo Darmian and Ivan Perisic will line up as the wing-backs on the right and left sides, respectively, with the onus of providing the width going forward firmly on them. New signing Denzel Dumfries could get some minutes from the bench. As for the midfield, Marcelo Brozovic is a certainty at the base, while Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu provide the forward thrust and creativity.

Up top, Edin Dzeko, who made a goalscoring start to his career as an Inter Milan player, is a certainty. The veteran striker could drop in the hole between Verona’s defensive and midfield lines to link up with Calhanoglu and Barella regularly, to create openings for himself and his strike partner, Lautaro Martinez. Correa could make a late appearance from the bench.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Lautaro, Dzeko

Key Stats

  • Inter Milan have won 19 of their 25 matches in Serie A in 2021 (D4 L2), with only Manchester City managing more victories during this period across the top five European leagues (21/26).
  • Verona have not won any of their last 20 Serie A matches against Inter Milan (D4 L16), their longest run without a victory against a specific opponent in the top-flight.
  • Both Edin Dzeko and Hakan Calhanoglu scored on their Serie A debut for Inter on MD1. Only four players have netted in each of their first two matches with the Nerazzurri in the top-flight during the three points for a win era – Roberto Carlos (1995), Giampaolo Pazzini (2011), Stevan Jovetic (2015) and Romelu Lukaku (2019).
  • Since the start of the last season, Mattia Zaccagni has been involved in 12 goals in Serie A (7 goals, 5 assists), more than any other player for Hellas Verona.
  • Marcelo Brozovic will be making his 200th Serie A appearance for Inter Milan should he feature against Hellas Verona on Friday night.

Player to Watch

Lautaro Martinez

Tottenham Hotspur have agreed on a club-record fee with Inter Milan for Argentine international striker Lautaro Martinez in the ongoing summer transfer window.

Inter Milan’s main man (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

It has been an eventful summer for Inter Milan, having lost several key members of the title-winning squad from last season. But the departure of Romelu Lukaku, who established himself as one of the best goalscorers in Europe during his time in Italy, is likely to be felt the most. In these times, the onus is now on Lautaro Martinez to step up and take over as the Nerazzurri’s premier forward.

Il Toro himself was linked heavily with an exit to Tottenham but decided to stay put with the Serie A champions. Having won the Copa America with Argentina during the summer, to follow the Scudetto triumph with Inter, the 23-year-old has now gotten a taste for trophies. And it will now be up to him to lead Inter’s charge for consecutive titles, starting with the game against Hellas Verona.

Prediction

Hellas Verona 0-2 Inter Milan

As mentioned earlier, Eusebio Di Francesco’s teams are not exactly renowned for their defensive structure and solidity. And, this Inter Milan side has plenty of quality in their ranks to cause problems to their hosts. At the same time, with the defensive trifecta of Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni staying intact, the Gialloblu will find it hard to get past them and create many openings.

That, coupled with Verona’s woeful record against Inter Milan, points towards yet another comfortable win for the title-holders, with Lautaro Martinez likely to get off the mark for the new season.

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