AS Roma V Inter, Serie A, Stadio Olimpico, 26th August 2017
Serie A returned with a bang last weekend and continues this with some intriguing matchups, none more so than Luciano Spalletti Inter’s visit to the capital to play last season’s second-place finishers, AS Roma. That result secured Champions League football once again for the Giallarossi under the stewardship of none other than Mr Spalletti, who now finds himself at the reigns of Saturday’s visitors, contributing an added degree of intensity to an already high-profile fixture due to the rivalling ambitions of the two clubs. New Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco will be determined to ruin Spalletti’s homecoming, which is sure to be met with a mixed reaction from the Roma supporters, many of whom will be grateful for the two top-three finishes achieved under his tenure (interestingly his second as coach after a stint between 2005-09 saw the team win two Coppa Italias and a Supercoppa Italiana – all of those victories attained over Inter).
Both sides began with a win on the opening weekend; Inter easily brushed aside a new-look Fiorentina team 3-0, with Mauro Icardi scoring twice, while Roma securedan admirable 1-0 away win at Atalanta – new signing Aleksandar Kolarov on the scoresheet. Kolarov was one of four debutants in that match – Roma have signed a total of 12 players so far in this window. Inter have been only a little less active with seven new arrivals, most notably Matías Vecino and Borja Valero arriving from Fiorentina – as an aside, both were instrumental in orchestrating the opening day victory over their old club, such is the sense of humour of the footballing gods. Yet despite the number of arrivals on both sides, many of the old faces remain and will take centre stage on Saturday in the Stadio Olimpico. No Francesco Totti though, alas. Also missing for Roma will be other notable departures Leandro Paredes, Antonio Rüdiger and Mohamed Salah. Inter, meanwhile, have waved goodbye to, among others, Juan Jesus, who spent last season on loan at the Olimpico before making his move to Roma permanent. Other than that, the Milan club’s departures have been far less notable, and along with Spalletti’s return, somewhat dampens the home team’s advantage in this game.
Head-to-head, Inter have the upper hand historically with 26 wins to Roma’s 20, while there have been 19 draws. Last season, befitting of the two clubs’ final league positions (Roma’s second to Inter’s seventh), Roma rode out victorious from both encounters: 2-1 in this particular fixture back in October of last year. Inter haven’t won here in Serie A since 2008, so this is not a happy recent hunting ground for I Nerazzurri.
Focusing on the betting markets now and firstly the match result. Both teams secured positive results on the opening day, and both kept clean sheets, but there are many factors at play here. Roma are favoured in the odds (usually at around 2.25 to Inter’s 3.00), but a draw actually appears the more likely outcome, with Inter coach Spalletti knowing his former club like no other. 188bet are currently offering odds of 3.65 on that outcome.
Going under 2.5 goals would secure odds of 2.40 with Marathonbet, and seems enticing at this early stage in the season. Finally, Inter’s Mauro Icardi scored in both defeats last season, and he is 2.70 with PaddyPower to repeat the trick anytime here.
A real clash of warriors to rival the great Roman tradition on Saturday evening in Serie A, with old friends and foes reacquainting for what looks like being a full-bodied affair. Bon Appetito.