A crowd of over 50,000 is expected to welcome Antonio Conte to the San Siro dugout on Monday evening when Inter Milan face Lecce.
It will be the first time the two sides have met have at San Siro in eight years, the last meeting was back on 21st December 2011 that ended 4 – 1 to the Nerazzurri, thanks to goals from Giampaolo Pazzini, Diego Milito, Esteban Cambiasso and Ricky Alverez.
Lecce will be playing their first Serie A match for seven years after two consecutive promotions lifted them from Serie C to Serie A.
Conte, a Lecce local, made his debut for the Salento side in 1985 – 86.
New Look Inter
Eyes from all over Europe will be on this tie as Conte returns to Serie A after his spell at Chelsea. The former Juventus player and coach lifted the Premier League and the FA Cup during his time in England and will be hoping to push Juventus all the way to title this time out.
Apart from the coach, Inter’s squad has had a revamp. The ‘trouble makers’ Radja Nainggolan and Ivan Perisic have moved to Cagliari and Bayern Munich respectively but former club captain Mauro Icardi still remains, for now. The man signed to replace Icardi, Romulo Lukaku should start but might not see out the full 90 minutes.
Italian duo Stefano Sensi and Nicolo Barella are likely to partner Marcelo Brozovic in midfielder and veteran defender Diego Godin has an outside chance of starting to make up a new-look back 3.
Return to Serie A
Lecce returns to the big league for the first time in seven years and they will be hoping cement themselves back as Serie A regulars.
The Giallorossi kicked off their campaign last weekend with a 4 – 0 victory over Salernitana in the Copa Italia Third Round. Former AC Milan striker Gianluca Lapadula grabbing two, he scored 8 in 38 Serie A games for Genoa before moving to Lecce but he might need to up that tally if Lecce have a hope of surviving.
Inter (3-5-2): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Di Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Barella, Brozovic, Sensi, Asamoah; Lukaku, Lautaro.
Lecce (4-4-2): Gabriel; Calderoni, Lucioni, Riccardi, Rispoli; Falco, Majer, Petriccione, Tachtsidis; La Mantia, Lapadula.
Inter new boy Lukaku will be keen to get off the mark early. The Belgian has been criticised heavily from some sections of the press for his weight and his mentality. Conte has been an admirer of the striker for some time and he will have full confidence his man can deliver.
Former Milan striker Lapadula will be hoping to add to his impressive double in the Coppa last week when he returns to San Siro. The Lupi will hope he can use his Serie A experience to give his side any hope of causing an opening weekend upset.