??Internazionale host Torino at the San Siro on Sunday as both sides look to recover from disappointing 1-0 defeats in their opening game of the Serie A season.
Il Toro suffered what was a perhaps rather predictable defeat against last season’s Champions League semi-finalists Roma but it was Inter who were the real losers of the weekend, losing to a Sassuolo side which finished 11th last season.
This weekend’s match represents a great opportunity for either side to bounce back and kick start their season by getting their first points of the campaign. Inter will be looking to repeat last season’s feat of qualifying for the Champions League and will be keen to avoid letting their stuttering start to the season go on any longer.
Torino 3-3 Inter (2013)
Both sides will have been disappointed not to win this one but Inter and Torino put on a fantastic game for the neutrals when they met at the Stadio Olimpico di Torino in 2013.
The drama began just five minutes into the game when Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic gave away a penalty and was sent off, only for Alessio Cerci to miss the ensuing spot-kick. However, Il Toro found the net shortly afterwards through Alex Farnerud.
Inter equalised before half-time via a goal from Freddy Guarin but Ciro Immobile fired Torino back in front early on in the second half. Rodrigo Palacio then scored a brace to put Inter in front and seemingly headed for victory until a last-gasp equaliser from Nicola Bellomo saw the points shared between the two sides.
Marcelo Brozovic vs Tomas Rincon
Though Inter are the favourites for this match, the two sides come up fairly evenly on paper and the result could surely go either way. With that in mind, the battle to control the midfield could be absolutely crucial to the game’s outcome and both sides will need their midfield generals to be on top form.
Marcelo Brozovic played an important role in the Croatia side that reached the World Cup final this year, anchoring the midfield in order for Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic to roam further forward and create chances while the Inter man sat in front of the defence.
Meanwhile, tough-tackling Venezuelan midfielder Rincon has become indispensable for Torino since joining on loan from Juventus last summer – so much so that the club made the deal permanent during the January transfer window.
Rincon’s ability to tackle and win the ball back could be the difference for Torino and if he can get the ball forward to Andrea Belotti and Iago Falque, they will surely do the rest.
Inter are likely to field a stronger side than the one which lost to Sassuolo last week, with Milan Skriniar, Ivan Perisic and Sime Vrsaljko all set to return to Luciano Spalletti’s side.
Torino manager Walter Mazzarri is unlikely to make any major changes to his lineup from last week but has options to choose from, including handing a debut to loan signing Roberto Soriano in midfield.
Inter: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, de Vrij, Vrsaljko; Brozovic, Nainggolan; Perisic, Lautaro, Politano; Icardi.
Torino: Sirigu; Moretti, N’Koulou, Izzo; Ansaldi, Soriano, Rincon, Baselli, De Silvestri; Belotti, Falque.
This has all the makings of a fascinating encounter, with both sides equipped with players capable of doing damage to the other if they are on form.
Inter are the better side on paper, but only just – and with the likes of Belotti, Falque and Adem Ljajic at their disposal, Torino have no shortage of attacking capability of their own.
The game at San Siro this weekend should be a narrow affair, with both sides still looking to discover their best form – however, the return of several key players for Inter should just about give them the edge.
Predicted Scoreline: Inter 2-1 Torino