MILAN, ITALY - Walter Mazzarri will take charge of his first Serie A game in the Inter Milan dugout when Genoa roll into town. The former Napoli coach will be keen to make a winning start although the Nerazzurri fans are well aware the season ahead represents the beginning of a rebuilding phase for the club.
The hosts are available at a top price of 1.70 with William Hill to collect three points, it's a very fair price that would have been much shorter in recent seasons. Genoa have been drifting can be backed at 5.95 with Bwin for victory while the draw is readily available at 3.90 with BetVictor.
Inter Milan have a few notable absentees heading into the Sunday's game. Walter Samuel, Diego Milito, Christian Chivo and Javier Zanetti are all sidelined and their experience will be a big loss for the Nerazzurri. However, it will give the younger players a chance to impress and herald in a new era at the club.
The highly rated 19 year-old Mateo Kovacic looks set to start in the centre of midfield, with the former Sampdoria striker Mauro Icardi starting upfront alongside Roger Palacio. Walter Mazzarri is sure to continue with his favoured 3-5-2 system with Jonathan and Nagatomo on the flanks. Palacio and Icardi are joint favourties to open the scoring and can be backed at 6.50 with BetVictor, my preference would be for the experienced head of Roger Palacio.
History suggests that Inter Milan will roll over Genoa with little fuss. The hosts are unbeaten in their previous 13 encounters (W8 D5 and keeping eight clean sheets in the process) and Genoa have only won once in 26 attempts at the San Siro.
I firmly believe, at the current prices quoted, that Inter Milan are a great bet. I was anticipating a price closer to 1.40 on a home win, so the price of 1.70 with William Hill is a gift. Snap it up before it gets backed in. For a bigger price, you can get 2.75 with Paddy Power on Inter Milan to win to nil.
Genoa, themselves, have a new manager in the dugout and are looking to overhaul their squad. They have signed the aging, yet dangerous striker, Alberto Gilardino from Bologna. The 31 year-old scored 13 goals in 35 games last season easing Bolognas relegation fears.
Gilardino is chalked up at 10.5 with BetVictor to open scoring but Genoa players are friendless in the markets and continue to drift. A safer option for Genoa fans would be the 4.10 on offer for Gilardino to score anytime.
Fabio Liverani, the former youth team coach at Genoa, was given the full time managers job over the summer and I fear he will struggle to match the owner's lofty ambitions for the club. Last season they finished in a forgettable 17th position and I see no reason why they won't spend another season battling relegation. Genoa are generally available at 8.50 with BetVictor among others to be relegated - an excellent value bet that I picked out in my Serie A season preview here.
The game kicks off at 5pm BST on Sunday 25th August and is live on BT Sport 2.
Mark Smith's bet on this game:
- 4 pts on Inter Milan to win at 1.70 with William Hill