Inter Milan vs Slavia PragueUEFA Champions League, KO: 17:55 Sep 17, 2019, San Siro
INTER MILAN will be aiming to maintain their impeccable start to the season when they welcome Slavia Prague to the San Siro on Tuesday evening.
Antonio Conte was regarded as one of the best managers in the world during his last spell in Italy with Juventus and after returning to his homeland to take up the Inter Milan hot-seat the Italian has made an immediate impact in steering his new side to the summit of Serie A.
The Nerazzurri now turn their attention towards the Champions League where they will contest what is arguably this seasons “group of death” alongside Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Tuesday nights opponents Slavia Prague.
With heavyweight showdowns looming against German and Spanish superpowers respectively , Tuesday nights' tussle with Prague potentially falls into the must-win category, even at this early stage in the section.
The Italian giants are odds-on at 2/5 (Ladbrokes) to collect all three points, while the Czech outfit are big outsiders at 8/1 (BoyleSports) to stun the San Siro with an away win, with the draw also deemed unlikely at 4/1 (Unibet)
Should Prague take anything away from this encounter they will likely be the first visiting side to hit the back of the net in an Inter Milan home game this term.
Jindrich Trpisovsky's side are 10/11 (SportingBet) to do just that, yet that could be a tall order against a defence that already looks well-schooled under Conte's watch.
The Italian's influence and preferred 3-5-2 system is already starting to bear fruit, with only Cagliari managing to to breach Inter's resolute rearguard thus far when going down 2-1 to the Milan men two weeks ago.
Either side of that victory Inter have been imperious at the San Siro in seeing off Leece and Udinese in 4-0 and 1-0 wins respectively.
Italian sides are famed for being formidable at the back and the early signs for a backline that contains the imposing figure of Diego Godin are encouraging.
With that in mind, along with Inter's evident organisation and solidity under Conte, the evens (Coral) on offer for Inter to record another clean sheet in their own backyard against Group F outsiders Slavia appeals.
Yet, the Red and Whites will make the trip to Milan in high spirits on account of their fantastic start to their domestic campaign.
The Czech champions have won seven of their opening nine matches without tasting defeat and currently lead the First League by six points.
Trpisovsky's team seen off Celtic's conquerors CFR Cluj to reach the money-spinning group-stages and also impressed in last seasons Europa League where they reached the quarter-finals, overcoming Genk and Sevilla on route, before being eliminated by eventual winners Chelsea.
However, following a 12-year absence from the Champions Legaue proper, Slavia Prague will soon realise that they are back in the big time when they come up against the might of Inter Milan in the San Siro and the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku.
The latter swapped Manchester for Milan during the summer, leaving United to join Inter, and the towering striker has already notched two goals in three Serie A outings.
What's more, the red-hot Belgian shone for his country during the recent international break when scoring at Hampden against Scotland and I suspect Slavia Prague could be next on his hit-list.
Considerable firepower, coupled with a strong looking defence, should see Conte and Co start their group-stage campaign with a victory against a Slavia side who have failed to win on Italian soil in seven attempts.
The visitors will more than likely set out to frustrate and restrict the hosts, however Inter should breakthrough eventually – their superior quality is too goo not to – but the odds on a home win here are not enticing.
For reasons already discussed, backing Inter to win to nil is tempting at 6/5 (Bet 365) , however another option to consider in sourcing value in what should be a routine home win is opting for Inter Milan to win and under 4.5 goals at 8/11 (Coral) – a combination that would have delivered profit form all of Inter's outings this season.
This UEFA Champions League match between Inter Milan and Slavia Prague will be played on Sep 17, 2019 and kick off at 17:55