Inter headed into November’s international break as Serie A pacesetters amid the club’s best domestic start in recent history. Simone Inzaghi’s side eased past newcomers Frosinone 2-0 on the stroke of the two-week hiatus to become the first side in Italy’s top-flight to smash a 30-point barrier this season.
We’re only 12 matchdays into the new campaign, but the Scudetto race is already shaping up. Inter and Juventus have taken maximum advantage of frequent slip-ups Milan and reigning champions Napoli have suffered in the early exchanges to build a sizeable lead at the top of the standings.
Except for a 2-1 home loss to Sassuolo in late September, it’s been a near-perfect league start for Inter. Inzaghi’s lads have grabbed ten victories in the first 12 games, winning the last four in a row by a combined score of 8-1.
And by the looks of things, Nerazzurri are the most valid candidates to wrestle Napoli down from the throne. Juventus will put their title credentials to a stern test when the two sides meet in a top-table six-pointer when Serie A returns to action later this month.
Heading into the first Derby d’Italia of the 2023/24 campaign, confidence is at an all-time high within the Inter camp. As a true force to be reckoned with, the Serie A pacesetters dominate all the charts, both on team and individual levels.
Since Antonio Conte’s Inter halted Juventus’ decade-long dominance of Italian football in 2020/21, only Napoli (32) have amassed more points after the first 12 rounds than Inter this term (31), doing so in 2021/22 and 2022/23 when they won the title.
Even when Conte led Inter to their first Scudetto in a decade, they failed to hit a 30-point landmark at this stage, racking up 27 that season. That’s not to mention that Inzaghi’s team had only 24 points at this juncture last term, highlighting their notable improvement in 2023/24.
Many had thought Andre Onana’s switch to Manchester United in the summer would leave Inter vulnerable at the back. However, Yann Sommer has gone from strength to strength at the beginning of his Serie A career. The Swiss goalkeeper has only conceded six league goals at an average of 0.5 per game.
Sommer has kept a clean sheet in 67% of his Serie A appearances, doing so in eight of the opening 12 rounds.
For argument’s sake, Inter had capitulated precisely 15 times after the first 12 matches in three consecutive Serie A campaigns beforehand. Across four seasons in the post-Juventus era, no team has conceded fewer goals at this stage than Nerazzurri. In fact, across Europe’s top-five leagues, only Ligue 1 runners-up Nice (4) boast a better defensive record.
With 29 goals, Inter are the most prolific Serie A team this season, scoring at least five more than any other side. Considering they accumulated 33 in the title-winning 2020/21 season and 34 in the following campaign, it’s a sign of a minor decline. But it’s not necessarily the case.
Inter captain Lautaro Martinez tops the scoring leaderboard in Serie A with 12 goals. His new attacking comrade, Marcus Thuram, has clocked up four goals and five assists, with the formidable duo forging the deadliest attacking partnership in the division.
Inter are no longer afraid of high-profile fixtures
One of Inter’s flaws during Inzaghi’s first two years in charge was their incapacity to perform in derbies. Despite proving well-versed in seeing off understrength opposition, the Italian manager has often encountered criticism for his side’s disappointing results in, let’s say, ‘elite matches.’
However, they seem to have exorcised those ghosts this term. Indeed, Inter have excelled against direct Scudetto rivals, winning all three such contests by a combined score of 8-2. Beating Atalanta, Milan, and Roma by such an emphatic aggregate scoreline is no small feat, especially considering they thumped Rossoneri 5-1 in the Derby della Madonnina.
Inter’s outrageous Serie A start has given the Giuseppe Meazza faithful plenty of reason to look forward to upcoming challenges. While the heavily anticipated Derby d’Italia could provide further insight into Nerazzurri’s Scudetto credentials, it won’t be a decisive factor.
Consistency wins titles. Inter have done a great job tightening their stranglehold on the division from the get-go, but maintaining a high level of performance during a long and exhausting season is crucial when it comes to winning trophies.
If Inter can continue with their scintillating defensive form, it would be hard to knock them off their perch. That’s because Inzaghi can always rely on Martinez and Thuram to provide a moment of brilliance on the opposite side of the field.
|Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football