Inter Milan will be looking to rebound as they welcome Palermo to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Sunday evening.
The Nerazzurri were handed a rude awakening to the nascent campaign as they were defeated 2-0 by Chievo. For new coach Frank de Boer and Inter fans, it was a rather unpleasant way to start the 2016/2017 season. However, as we all know, a campaign is a marathon, and not a sprint, meaning that there are 37 more chances for Inter to get back on track.
Well, they can start with this Sunday. Palermo just barely avoided the drop last season and endured an embarrassing merry-go-round of managers. In fact, the Rosanero went through seven different managers, with current boss Davide Ballardini doing two tours of duty during that period. Given the notorious impatience of club owner Maurizio Zamparini, don’t be surprised to see Ballardini hired, fired, and then rehired at some point this term.
As for Inter, a fourth-placed finish was enough to guarantee them Europa League football, so the Nerazzurri will be active on two fronts. Naturally, having dropped points on matchday one, de Boer will be keen on seeing a much-improved performance, and on paper at least, this looks like it should be a win for the hosts. For starters, they have scored three or more goals in six out of their last seven home matches against Palermo. In addition, the Rosanero have been quite poor on the road. They have lost nine out of their ten away fixtures, and arrive in Milan having lost their season opener to Sassuolo.
Furthermore, Palermo are in the midst of an injury and suspension crisis. Michel Morganella, Achraf Lazaar, and Aleksandar Trajkovski are all unavailable due to fitness problems, whilst Slobodan Rajkovic is serving a ban. Their last win against Inter was back in April 2013, and to date, they have never won at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
Meanwhile, despite being slammed by the press, de Boer, in all fairness, only had been in charge for a few days before the match against Chievo. The Dutch tactician needs time to get to know his players, whilst his players need to settle in with a new manager. New signing Antonio Candreva may make his debut after arriving from Napoli, or may have to start from the bench in lieu of Eder. Fellow new acquisition Ever Banega is expected to slot right into the midfield. And Croatian attacker Ivan Perisic should start after surprisingly being left out as part of a three man pack supporting lone striker Mauro Icardi – provided that de Boer goes with a 4-2-3-1 formation.
It goes without saying that this is a must win game for Inter ahead of the first international break. Palermo, of course, would certainly want to end their Stadio Giuseppe Meazza hoodoo, but the Nerazzurri should have just enough to take care of the Sicilian side and pick up their first league win of the 2016/2017 campaign.