Empoli at home on Sunday was the ultimate trap game for the Nerazzurri. Coming on the heels of a hard to swallow at Juventus last week, and without Icardi, Perisic, Banega and Brozovic through suspension and injury, this was the type of game that Inter have dropped points in the past.
But Inter under Stefano Pioli are a much more resilient team than we have seen in previous years and they took care of business beating Empoli 2-0 thanks to goals in each half from Eder and Antonio Candreva.
The win moved Inter up to fourth in the table, ahead of Lazio, who play AC Milan on Monday.
As expected, with Icardi suspended, Pioli started Rodrigo Palacio in his place and the veteran striker almost put Inter ahead in the 10th minute with a header from a Joao Mario free kick, but
Empoli goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski made a brilliant to deny him.
But Skorupski could do nothing four minutes later when Palacio turned provider and teed up Eder to score from close range.
With Gagliardini and Kondogbia dominating the midfield Inter should have ended this game long before they did when Candreva volleyed home at the far post from an Eder cross that might be the best cross we will see all season.
With a 2-0 lead, Pioli was able to gave Andrea Pinamonti is Serie A debut in the 79th minute when he replaced Eder.
Pinamonti is the best talent Inter have produced in years and he made a notable impact just seconds after coming on when collected a forward pass and delivered a one-touch cross directly to Joao Mario who found Gabigol open on the wing, the resulting shot nearly gave Inter a 3-0 lead. A sign of the future maybe with Pinamonti and Gabigol combining well.