Inter – The real deal? Inter’s new look team visited the Olimpico on Saturday evening to face a Roma side who scored 50 goals in 19 home games in 2016/17 and are somewhat formidable in front of their own fans.
In what was a scintillating game, Inter rode their luck on a number of occasions; with Roma hitting the woodwork 3 times and a questionable decision from the Referee not to consult VAR after Diego Perotti was fouled in the 2nd half all working against the home side. Despite Roma’s attacking verve, punctuated by the drive of Radja Naingolan and the always dangerous Edin Dzeko, who gave Roma the lead in the 1st half, Inter held firm and scored 2 quick goals in the 2nd half from Mauro Icardi before Matias Vecino rounded off a 3-1 victory for the Nerazurri. With Inter strengthening in the summer following the midfield signings of Borja Valero and Vecino, coupled with the likelihood of Ivan Perisic remaining with the club, perhaps Juventus might face a challenge from one or perhaps both Milanese teams this season.
Barcelona – Crisis, what crisis?
The new season has brought with it talk of crisis at the Nou Camp. The sale of Neymar to PSG, a comprehensive two-legged defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup and injuries to Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique have led to many prematurely handing the title to their Madrid rivals. While it’s true that the Catalan’s have been solid if unspectacular in their two games so far, they are sitting with 6 points from their opening two games and the signing of Ousmane Dembele from Dortmund will inject some much needed pace in to what looked like a tired front line. It will take time for Ernesto Valverde to get his philosophy across to his new players but his impressive work with Athletic Bilbao should allow for time to be given to the new man. With Real dropping points at home to Valencia on Sunday – showing that they are fallible, perhaps news of Barca’s demise has been greatly exaggerated?
Monaco – Can they repeat the success of last year?
Monaco’s 6-1 defeat of Marseille at Stade Louis II showed that there is still plenty of attacking intent in their ranks despite the imminent departure of Kylian Mbappe to rivals PSG. The reigning French champions have seen their ranks decimated in the summer with the sale of their roving full-back Benjamin Mendy and playmaker Bernardo Silva to Manchester City, coupled with the departure of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea and the looming possibility of losing left sided midfielder Thomas Lemar also to the English Premier League. However there has been enough evidence in their first 4 games that they are still a side more than capable of scoring goals as was witnessed with their impressive demolition of Marseille on Sunday night. Paris Saint Germain look extremely ominous given the attacking riches at their disposal (further boosted by the arriving Mbappe) and it would be a brave move to bet against them regaining their title, however Monaco, defensive deficiencies notwithstanding, will not give up their title without a fight.