The first week of Serie A action will have both sides in Black & Blue face off at the Stadio Guiseppe Meazza in Milan.
Both Inter and Atalanta enter the campaign looking to gain as many points as possible and start off the season on a positive note. The last time the two sides met, the nerazzurri trumped Atalanta 4-1. In fact, Atalanta haven’t recorded a win against Inter since March 2014.
Not having the best of starts during the preseason, losing matches against Real Madrid, Milan and Bayern Munich, Mancini needs to get his line up in order. He has played around with his line-ups recently, using a 4-3-1-2 and a 4-4-2. Now with the departure of Kovacic to Real Madrid, Mancini has the challenge of filling the gap in the center midfield, which will likely see Medel play in the middle alongside Kondogbia and Guarin.
Probable lineup (4-3-1-2): Handanovic; Montoya, Miranda, Murillo, Santon; Guarin, Medel, Kondogbia; Hernanes; Icardi, Jovetic.
Atalanta enters the first week of Serie A coming off of a win against Cittadella in a Coppa Italia match. This is also the first full season that the club will have Edoardo Reja behind the bench. Atalanta only scored 38 goals total during last season, so their starters will have to step up if they have any hope of avoiding relegation this season. Although, they did have some key performances last season including a 1-0 victory over Milan and drawing against Napoli and Roma. With three important players now departed from Bergamo (Banalouane, Baselli and Zappacosta), Atalanta will have a long season ahead to keep up the fight and remain in Italian top-flight football.
Probable lineup (4-3-2-1): Sportiello; Raimondi, Masiello, Stendardo, Dramè; Cigarini, Kurtic, Carmona; Gomez, Moralez; Pinilla.
Player to watch – Jovetic
The newly appointed ‘Number 10’ will look to impress in his first Serie A appearance with Inter. Although coming off of numerous injuries during his tenure at Manchester City, Jovetic tallied 11 goals in 44 appearances with the English side.
Now returning to Italian football, Jovetic has made it clear to fans that he is ready to redeem himself and return to doing what he is meant to do – score goals. With the stellar performance that teammate Mauro Icardi had in 2014-15, Jovetic could finally be the high-pressing trequartista that can give Inter the success they need to see in front of the net.
Prediction: Inter 3-1 Atalanta