Roma vs. Inter: Reunion for Spalletti at Stadio Olimpico

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Serie A fans are in for a treat early as Roma take on Inter at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday evening.

It is also set to be an interesting reunion for Luciano Spalletti, who departed the Giallorossi earlier this summer to take over at the Nerazzurri. Already, Inter have faced off against another ex-coach, in Stefano Pioli when they faced Fiorentina, and the Nerazzurri took care of the Viola without much fuss. Mauro Icardi grabbed a brace as Spalletti’s reign in charge of his new club resulted in a very comfortable 3-0 rout of the hapless Gigliati, who offered little in response.

It was exactly the result that Inter needed, especially after missing out on European football for this term. With Italy getting four spots in the Champions League for next season, one can certainly expect the race for the top four to be a lot more interesting, with Napoli, AC Milan, Inter, Roma and Lazio all hoping to join reigning champions Juventus in representing Italy in Europe’s top tier club competition. Inter have not been as busy in the summer transfer market as cross-town rivals AC Milan, leaving fans really concerned, but they have manged to hang on to their key players. Namely, Ivan Perisic, who was aggressively pursued by Manchester United all summer. Whilst there’s still plenty of time in the market, for now, he’s still a Nerazzurri player, and fans will hope that remains the same between now and next week.

Meanwhile, Roma, by contrast, have seen some rather dramatic changes. For starters, Spalletti has departed, and has been replaced by former midfielder Eusebio Di Francesco. Whilst Di Francesco certainly is no managerial novice, this will be a significant step up. He’s no stranger to calcio fans, having cut his teeth with Sassuolo and guiding the Neroverdi into Serie A and through their first couple of seasons in the top flight, which also includes their debut Europa League campaign. However, they have also seen the departure of key players Antonio Rudiger to Chelsea and Mohamed Salah to Liverpool, and it will be very interesting to see how they manage without a star defender and a talismanic attacker. Edin Dzeko, who was last season’s Capocannoniere will have to get up and running, but new signing Aleksandar Kolarov has already opened his account thanks to a very crafty free kick that ended up being the game decider against Atalanta.

Inter haven’t beaten Roma at the Stadio Olimpico since April 19, 2011. That was in the Coppa Italia, but if one wants to find the last time in Serie A, then one has to go a bit further back: to October 19, 2008. Meanwhile, Roma defeated the Nerazzurri both home and away last term. Will Spalletti’s reunion with his ex-side end in disappointment or failure? Tune in to find out!

Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.