Preview: Inter’s September Schedule Brings Them up Against Old Foes

Reigning Serie A champions Inter have made light work of their early life without title-winning manager Antonio Conte and headline performer Romelu Lukaku. New manager Simone Inzaghi and deadline-day signing Joaquin Correa have hit the ground running from day one, helping the fans get over a turbulent summer.

After brushing Genoa aside with an overwhelming 4-0 home win on the opening weekend, Inter came from behind to thrash Hellas Verona 3-1 on the road last time out. Though we are only two matchdays into the new Serie A season, I Nerazzurri already look like genuine title contenders. 

The reigning titleholders were one of only five sides to win both Serie A fixtures headed into the international window and will be looking to maintain that momentum in September. Italy’s top-flight football returns to action next weekend as Inter travel to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris to meet out-of-sorts Sampdoria.

Sampdoria (Serie A) – September 12

In addition to newly-promoted Venezia, Sampdoria remain the only team in Serie A yet to find the net this season. To their credit, they managed to keep their opening two league games against Milan and Sassuolo competitive. After going down 1-0 at home to last season’s runners-up, Roberto D’Aversa’s side played out a goalless draw at the Mapei Stadium on Matchday 2.

Despite a sluggish start to the season and their underdog status in this encounter, Inter’s arrival at the Luigi Ferraris might invoke some pleasant memories in the hosts’ camp. Sampdoria won this exact fixture 2-1 back in January, bringing a three-game losing streak in home league H2Hs to a halt. 

Regardless of which side of the spectrum of supporting these sides you stand, neutral could be in for a treat here. Each of the last five Serie A meetings between these teams has seen both sides on the scoresheet in matches garnering 3+ overall goals. 

Real Madrid (Champions League) – September 15

Just like last season, Inter have been paired together with the likes of Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk in the same Champions League group. The Italians’ European campaign gets underway on September 15 when they play host to the La Liga juggernauts at the Giuseppe Meazza. 

I Nerazzurri will be keen to erase the painful memories of their last season’s showdowns against Real Madrid and their Champions League campaign overall. Inter did not only lost both legs against Los Merengues, but they eventually finished bottom of the group with just six points.

On the bright side, though, before that reverse, Inter had won four European clashes against Madrid at home in succession, keeping three clean sheets in the process. Against this backdrop, they conceded 2+ goals in both last season’s Champions League H2Hs.

Bologna (Serie A) – September 18

Three days after their blockbuster fixture against Real Madrid, Inter will lock horns with Bologna in a must-win home Serie A fixture. But even though I Rossoblu carry a reputation as a mid-table side on their best day, this might not be a walk in the park for the hosts.

Last season’s 3-1 home victory helped Inter end a run of two consecutive home Serie A defeats against this opposition. What’s more, you have to go back to April 2010 to find the last time I Nerazzurri kept Bologna at bay in a home top-flight H2H, having conceded at least once in all ten subsequent such contests.

After holding Atalanta to a scoreless stalemate in Bergamo on the eve of the international break, the visitors will head into proceedings in high spirits. With Marko Arnautovic and Riccardo Orsolini leading the line, Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men will be looking to prove again they are no pushovers. 

Fiorentina (Serie A) – September 21

Fiorentina bounced back from a dismal 3-1 away loss to Roma in their Serie A curtain-raiser to eke out a hard-fought 2-1 home win over Torino last time out. After spending most of last season in the bottom half of the table, La Viola are desperate to improve this term despite having a relatively quiet transfer window.

A match against the reigning champions should give Vincenzo Italiano an insight into his side’s real potential. Inter won both last season’s Serie A H2Hs by an aggregate scoreline of 6-3, stretching their unbeaten league run against Fiorentina to eight matches (W4, D4). 

Furthermore, the hosts are winless in their last four top-flight encounters at home (D3, L1), highlighting how difficult they find playing against the Lombard heavyweights.

Atalanta (Serie A) – September 25

Atalanta’s visit to the Giuseppe Meazza on September 25 should serve as a warm-up fixture ahead of Inter’s Champions League clash against Shakhtar. Despite La Dea’s rise to stardom over the past few seasons, they are winless in five Serie A matches against I Nerazzurri in a row (D3, L2).

Although the visitors have finished the last two seasons as the most prolific team in Serie A, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have drawn a blank in three of their five top-flight games against Inter since beating them 4-1 in November 2018. On top of that, they have failed to clinch all three points at this venue since March 2014.

Since claiming a 4-1 victory under Stefano Colantuono’s stewardship seven years ago, Atalanta have failed to score in five of their last seven trips to Inter, netting precisely once per match in the other two (D2, L5).

Shakhtar Donetsk (Champions League) – September 28

Inter and Shakhtar will trade tackles in the Champions League group stage for the second season running. Both meetings between the sides in the 2020/21 group phase yielded scoreless draws, which ultimately benefited the Ukrainians, who pipped I Nerazzurri to a third-place finish.

Revenge will be on the menu when they meet again at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv on September 28. Inzaghi will be looking to improve upon his predecessor’s underwhelming Champions League journey. Beating Shakhtar will be a priority as it may well decide the runners-up finish, provided Los Merengues claim the top spot in this group.

Inter have kept four clean sheets in their five overall European meetings and have yet to lose to this opposition. So they should be favorites in this match-up.