The Antonio Conte era at Inter officially gets underway in 10 days when Inter host Lecce in their Serie A opener at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on 26 August.
It’s been an interesting pre-season for Inter, as they have played well in patches, against some very good opposition.
Conte has spent the time experimenting with several different formations including 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 . But when the new season starts I will be shocked if Conte does not revert back to his usual formation of back three.
With that formation in mind, here is how I see Inter lining up for the opening day of the 2019-20 season.
Captain Samir Handanovic will, of course, start between the sticks as there is not much competition in this area. Plus, Conte does not rotate his backline as he likes stability at the back.
Most of Conte’s 3-man defence has at least one player who’s good on the ball, if not all three. This one player could be Stefan de Vrij, while the other two is expected to be summer Bosman signing Diego Godin and Milan Skriniar.
Danilo D’Ambrosio established himself as a first-choice right-back at the end of last season and he is expected to continue as the right-wing back under Conte.
Meanwhile, Kwadwo Asamoah is the obvious candidate at left-wing-back after playing there during his Juventus days.
Summer signing Nicolo Barella is expected to partner Marcelo Brozovic in midfield. The competition for the third midfield position appears to be between Stefano Sensi and Roberto Gagliardini.
Sensi who has impressed during preseason, to me is the better option between the two as he is a box-to-box midfielder.
Conte’s strike partnerships always feature a big target-man, alongside a smaller forward playing behind him for link up play. Inter did not spend all that money for Romelu Lukaku not to start against Lecce.
Joining Lukaku in attack will be Lautaro Martinez, doing all the dirty work, running through the channel like Carlos Tevez or Eden Hazard.
Expected Lineup against Lecce (5-3-2): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Godin, De Vrij, Skriniar, Asamoah; Barella, Brozovic, Sensi; Martinez, Lukaku
Who do you think will be in Conte’s first XI against Lecce in 10 days?