Sassuolo host Inter's 2700th party

Posted by David Wilson

Gabriele Maltinti/Getty ImagesMateo Kovacic should be given the nod against Sassuolo.

Inter's trip to Sassuolo this weekend is not only the first game between the two teams ever, but it is also Inter's 2700th game in the Serie A.

Inter are the first club to have reached this milestone, as they are the only club that has never been relegated. The numbers from the first 2,699 games read W-1,338, D-757, L-604, with 4,532 goals for and 2,699 against. Hopefully Inter can add another win and some more goals to the record after the Sassuolo game

On paper, Sassuolo away should be an easy three points for Inter. Sassuolo are bottom of the table having lost all three of their games so far, including two against sides with whom they were promoted at the end of last season.

But these are the games that scare me the most. It is easy, as a player, to get up for a game against Juventus in a packed stadium. It is a lot harder to maintain that concentration against a small club who are bottom of the league.

Hugo Campagnaro expressed these same sentiments in an interview with Sky Sport 24 on Friday saying: "Games like the one we have on Sunday are sometimes the most dangerous of all. We want to get a good result so that we can keep up our positive start."

Inter President Massimo Moratti echoed those thoughts saying: "Inter are the team who have to play against Sassuolo, a side new to Serie A brimming with enthusiasm," he said.

"They're an opponent we should fear because results are never decided in advance and often you find that the emotional factor makes a big difference in games.

"I know we have a coach capable of instilling the right level of focus in the players. That's something Mazzarri is very good at, and I'd like to see the same level of quality, strength and determination that we saw against Juventus."

Sassuolo are expected to line up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Inter in Walter Mazzarri's preferred 3-5-2.

The only injury concern for Inter is Andrea Ranocchia who picked up a knock against Juventus, but he is expected to be fit enough to play.

Inter will have Samir Handanovic in goal and a back three of Hugo Campagnaro, Andrea Ranocchia and Juan Jesus. The question mark for me is in midfield. Jonathan and Yuto Nagatomo will start as wingbacks as Inter will need them defensively to cover Sassuolo's three attackers.

Against Juventus, Mazzarri went with the trio of Fredy Guarin, Esteban Cambiasso and Saphir Taider in the centre of the park, with Guarin and Taider drawing praise from the Inter manager for their performances, especially in the second half.

While I don't expect Mazzarri to change that trio, I don't think that Inter need both Cambiasso and Taider against Sassuolo. I would prefer to see Mateo Kovacic in the starting line-up instead of Cambiasso as he gives Inter more attacking options.

Despite playing only 71 minutes this season, compared to Cambiasso's 252 minutes, Kovacic has more dribbles and shots than Cambiasso.

Up front I expect Mazzarri to continue with Rodrigo Palacio in the more attacking role, with Ricky Alvarez just behind him in the No.10 role. In the second half I expect to see Mauro Icardi get another 15-20 minutes as Inter bring him along and we might also see the long awaited return of Diego Milito from injury in the last 10 minutes if Inter are winning comfortably.

Key Inter Player

Alvarez has been brilliant this season and Inter need him to continue this run of form on Sunday. Icardi's goal against Juventus last week summed up everything good about Alvarez. He won the ball in midfield, ran at the Juve defence and then laid a perfect pass into the path of Icardi.

Prediction

With the way that Inter have started this season I cannot see anything other than a comfortable win for the Nerazzurri on Sunday. They are too strong defensively for Sassuolo and Inter have enough playmakers to score goals against Serie A's weakest defence.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.