Thursday, September 24, 2015

Inter Milan Back on Top of Serie A

After last season's disappointing eighth placed finish in the Serie A table, Inter Milan seemed to be slowly devolving into a mid-table club just five years after their historic treble under Jose Mourinho. However, after a strong summer transfer window in which Jovetic, Kondogbia, and Ljajic were recruited, Roberto Mancini was given one last chance in order to bring the nerazzurri back into the Champions League places.

In their midweek fixture against Hellas Verona, Inter Milan managed to grind out their fifth consecutive win of the season, maintaining their perfect streak and sticking to the top of the Serie A table with a three point lead over Fiorentina. While their performances haven't been spectacular (winning their first five matches with only six goals scored), Inter Milan has shown to be much more resilient and focussed compared to their past few seasons.

Roberto Mancini has solved the defensive problems (Inter have conceded only one goal in these opening five matches) with new signing Alex Telles and the returning Davide Santon finally providing a bit of stability in the fullback positions. Gary Medel has proven to be a fairly acceptable centre back with the injury of Miranda, and the new signing (and former Juventus midfielder) Felipe Melo has been exceptional in giving the side a much tougher midfield to break down. It was in fact the Brazilian who scored a powerful header to beat Hellas Verona 1-0.

The Inter team celebrating five wins in their first five matches
In terms of attacking options, the faithful Mauro Icardi continues to be Mancini's chosen centre forward, with Jovetic, Perisic, Ljajic, and Palacio being rotated in and out of the attacking trident. Although Jovetic has been the only truly outstanding attacking player for the nerazzurri, Perisic has shown flashes of his ability, Ljajic is a known talent, and Palacio provides plenty of leadership and experience seeing as he is the only one of these players who is above the age of 25.

While it's still early on in the season, this revitalized Inter Milan side has already managed to defeat AC Milan in the Milan derby, and perhaps most importantly manages to trudge their way to victories even when not performing anywhere near their best. However, Roberto Mancini's true test will come this upcoming weekend when Inter hosts second-placed Fiorentina at the San Siro. While the Viola will be looking to end the nerazzurri's streak and make up the current three point deficit, if Inter manages to grind out yet another victory, then the nerazzurri will have truly returned to their top level form of seasons passed.


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