Inter started their Serie A campaign in a positive manner with a 2-0 win at home to Monza on Matchday 1, and it was their talisman Lautaro Martinez that made the difference, scoring both goals against the Brianzoli.
There were moments in the match when the Nerazzurri lacked sharpness in front of goal and struggled to end the contest early, but the Argentina international displayed his class and was shrewd enough to get into the right positions to score.
New captain Lautaro takes early control
After the departure of Samir Handanovic, Lautaro was appointed the captain of Inter and it was evident against Monza that the added responsibility will not affect his performances negatively.
It took just eight minutes for the 25-year-old to open the scoring, producing a side-footed finish from close range after receiving Denzel Dumfries’ cross from the right wing. The Argentine got his brace in the 76th minute, after Marko Arnautovic surged toward the penalty area and spotted the Nerazzurri captain at the far post, who slid in to score.
Inter took 22 shots against Monza, but only three hit the target, and two of them resulted in goals for Lautaro. Nerazzurri coach Simone Inzaghi will need the majority of the squad to work on their shooting accuracy, but the 25-year-old showed that he is as dependable as ever.
After Napoli striker Victor Osimhen scored twice in the Partenopei’s 3-1 victory against Frosinone in one of the early Saturday kick-offs, Lautaro responded quickly and demonstrated that he will pose the greatest threat to the Nigeria international for the Serie A leading goalscorer’s crown.
Thuram will need time to adapt to Serie A
With Edin Dzeko joining Turkish giants Fenerbahce and Romelu Lukaku not returning to Inter, Inzaghi decided to partner Lautaro with new signing Marcus Thuram up front. Although he showed signs of potential, the former Borussia Monchengladbach forward still looks like an unfinished product.
Undoubtedly, the France international possesses a lot of pace and he does have decent ball control. However, he will need to become more influential in matches after completing just 10 passes and having two shots blocked against Monza.
To put things into perspective, he was replaced by the experienced yet erratic Arnautovic after 67 minutes, and the Austrian striker was able to assist Lautaro for the second goal. In general play, he was able to hold up the ball, and also produced a cheeky back-heel.
Arnautovic and Thuram are two different forwards, and can offer different things from a tactical point of view. The Frenchman does look raw though, and he will need to improve on his ability to read the play as well as become more involved in the game.
Monza look toothless without a capable striker
Monza were largely outplayed by Inter, but they did have periods in the match when they were capable of neatly passing the ball around. Unfortunately for them, they were not able to generate many clear scoring opportunities, and new Nerazzurri goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
Brianzoli coach Raffaele Palladino decided to leave Andrea Petagna on the bench because the former Atalanta and Napoli striker is expected to move elsewhere before the transfer window closes. Mirko Maric, a striker that was injured for the entire 2022/23 campaign, lead the attack and it was clear that he lacked Petagna’s presence. The Croatian struggled to combine with teammates or hassle the Inter defence.
If Petagna is sold, then Palladino should resort to starting Dany Mota, or ask the Monza hierarchy for a better striker because Maric already looks out of his depth.