Inter's quest for a first Scudetto since 2010 continues this weekend, as Antonio Conte's men travel to Cagliari on Sunday for their second match of the new season.
Romelu Lukaku scored on his Nerazzurri debut last Monday, with Stefano Sensi also marking his first appearance with a fine goal. Antonio Candreva and Marcelo Brozovic were likewise on target to help the side record a 4-0 victory over Lecce.
That result leaves Inter at the summit after round one, whilst Cagliari are yet to open their account for the year after going down 1-0 at home to new boys Brescia.
Where to Watch
|When is Kick Off?||Sunday 1 September|
|What Time is Kick Off?||19:45 (BST)|
|Where is it Played?||Sardegna Arena|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Premier Sports 1|
Where to Buy Tickets
Tickets for the game are, as ever, available on both teams' official club websites, though membership is required in order to purchase. In terms of resale, both teams provide the option to make season tickets available for others to use if a supporter is unable to attend the game themselves.
Diego Godin's wait for a first outing in black and blue is set to go on as the centre-back remains sidelined by a thigh injury. Aside from the ex-Atletico Madrid defender - who could pass a late fitness test - Conte has a full complement of players to face Cagliari.
The Rossoblu have considerably more personnel concerns ahead of Sunday's meeting. Right-back Fabrizio Cacciatore, goalkeeper Alessio Cragno and midfielder Paolo Farago are all unavailable, with forward Leonardo Pavoletti also missing after limping out of the opening day defeat to Brescia.
|Cagliari||Rafael; Pinna, Ceppitelli, Klavan, Lykogiannis; Nandez, Nainggolan, Ionita; Birsa; Pedro, Cerri.|
|Inter||Handanovic; D'Ambrosio, Ranocchia, Skriniar; Candreva, Vecino, Brozovic, Sensi, Asamoah; Lukaku, Martinez.|
Head to Head Record
Inter have had much the better of this fixture in history, racking up 17 victories compared to Cagliari's five, with eight further draws between the two.
Nevertheless, it was Sunday's hosts who took the points when they last locked horns, a stirring team performance helping the underdogs dismiss the 18-time Serie A champions.
Ivan Perisic - who joined Bayern Munich on loan this month - inadvertently glanced a free-kick beyond his own goalkeeper to give the Rossoblu the lead, though a neat header from Lautaro Martinez brought the visitors level. The game was won with a swivelling volley from Pavoletti which beat Samir Handanovic all ends up.
Ominous. That accurately describes Inter's display versus Lecce. It was far from a faultless showing, but their top-flight competitors will certainly be wary of the Milanese outfit after they blitzed the minnows.
Lukaku looked fearsome, the opposition defenders struggling to contain the striker. The midfield was efficient too, while the new system employed under Conte is nearing perfection. Rule them out of the title race at your peril.
Things are far less cheerful at Cagliari following a dismal defeat to last year's Serie B winners. They finished just three points above the relegation zone last time around, and the early signs are that another relegation dogfight is coming.
Here's how the sides fared in their last five matches.
|Freiburg 4-1 Cagliari (03/8)||Juventus 1-1 Inter *(4-3) (24/7)|
|Fenerbahce 2-2 Cagliari (07/8)||Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Inter *(5-6) (27/7)|
|Catania 1-1 Cagliari (09/8)||Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Inter *(3-4) (04/10)|
|Cagliari 2-1 Chievo (18/8)||Valencia 1-1 Inter *(6-7) (10/8)|
|Cagliari 0-1 Brescia (25/8)||Inter 4-0 Lecce (26/8)|
On the evidence of Monday, Inter will be a stern challenge for Juventus and any other pretenders to the Bianconeri's throne. If they are to bring an end to their rival's rule, the Nerazzurri must be winning fixtures like this.
If newly-promoted Brescia can take the victory away to Cagliari, Inter won't be pleased with anything other than a veritable smashing.
The Belgian was bullish against Lecce, showing the kind of form that coaxed £75m out of Manchester United's pocket in 2017. It would be no surprise to see him add to his seasonal tally this weekend.
Prediction: Cagliari 1-3 Inter