There were two 0-5 results in the last Serie A round, so Inter and Atalanta would be both deserving of the shout-out. The Nerazzurri get it because they did it against a more competitive opponent, Sampdoria.
They were coming off an encouraging result against Napoli, where they did not concede against a high-powered offence, but they flopped in the recent trip to Marassi to face the other Genoa team and had not prevailed on the road in a while. This time, they laid the smackdown.
Luciano Spalletti stuck with last week’s technical midfield, featuring Rafinha, Marcelo Brozovic and Roberto Gagliardini. The former Barcelona player has found his footing and is becoming a reference point for his teammates on the pitch.
Inter were very assertive from the get-go, with Joao Cancelo, Antonio Candreva and Ivan Perisic in particular taking advantage of favourable match-ups and of the narrow scheme of the opponents, which left a lot of room on the wings. The Croatian winger scored the opening game in the 26th minute with a lofting header, finally breaking his scoring drought.
The Blucerchiati never really managed to get off the mat and the Mauro Icardi show started. He had not put his name on the scoresheet in a while, but he made up by doing it four times on Sunday. Two were regular ones, as he buried a penalty, which was not a given a given since Emiliano Viviano had intercepted three in a row, and later pounced on a rebound after an attempt by Rafinha. Two were magnificent: a backheeled flick on a loose ball to anticipate the goalkeeper and then a bouncing volley to the opposite post. A magical day for the top-drawer striker, who scored his 100th goal in Serie A, but also few more.
The Doriani were threatening only once, with Duvan Zapata hitting the post with a header, but for the most part Inter’s back-line was again smothering. They could have maybe had a couple more goals, but Antonio Candreva failed to score despite a pair of few opportunities and he is still searching for his first goal of the season.
With this result, Inter leapfrogged Lazio in the standings to return in the Champions League zone and they also have played one fewer game. More importantly, they look spry again, their top players have resumed producing and they seem to have find an XI that works.
An outstanding haul in the fantasy game: Icardi was the top player of the week with 18 points, Joao Cancelo and Samir Handanovic got seven as the Portuguese assisted Perisic and the goalie obviously kept a clean sheet. The Croatian winger collected six for his goal, the back-line five and the midfielders two for not allowing a single score.
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