by LIAM RICHNER
Featured Match: Inter Milan 1-1 Palermo
Inter Milan, once the Kings of Italy, now one of the many street side beggars in what has become the era of the Old Lady.
In 2010 their style of play was like watching one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s portraits come to life; strong, vibrant and attractive.
That year they won their fifth consecutive Serie ‘A’ title, the Coppa Italia and not forgetting their infamous Champions League success in Madrid.
Following that campaign, manager Jose Mourinho left for the Bernabeu, leaving big shoes to fill in the San Siro dugout. Shoes too big for the likes of Rafa Benitez and returning Roberto Mancini.
Now Frank de Boer takes on one of the greatest behemoths in the modern game; taking Inter back to the pinnacle of Italian and European football.
His reign did not get off to the greatest of starts, with an opening day defeat to Chievo, but he has since recruited, with Joao Mario (£38.4 million from Sporting CP) and Gabriel Barbosa (£25 million from Santos) coming in.
Together they bring two pairs of fresher younger legs to what is a pretty old squad compared to their rivals for the title.
They are both hard workers off the ball as well as magnificent with it. Joao Mario impressed many following Portugal’s successful Euro 2016.
Barbosa at only 20 years of age has more development to do, but with Mauro Icardi tutoring him, he has the potential to be one of the most potent strikers in Europe.
Without their new singings however, De Boer’s team could only draw with Palermo on Sunday.
I Nerazzurri were on a mission to rectify their dismal showing a week ago, with the home side bombarding the Palermo goal in an one-sided first half.
Gary Medel, Ivan Perisic and Miranda all had clear cut chances to put Inter in front during the opening 45 minutes.
Chilean Medel thought he had scored after his shot across goal beat Josip Posavec, however Edoardo Goldaniga managed to block it on the line and keep the score at 0-0.
Perisic twisted and turned but couldn’t get past Posavec, who clawed the Croat’s shot wide.
From the resulting corner, Miranda rose highest to meet the ball, but he dragged his header wide of the goal.
0-0 at half time. De Boer’s side were creating chances, but they weren’t converting.
To make things worse, Palermo then took a shook lead when Andrea Rispoli found time and space to have a shot, which deflected past a helpless Samir Handanovic in the 48th minute.
The introduction of Antonio Candreva made a massive difference for Inter offensively.
And it was the Italian’s inviting cross that led to Icardi finally breaking down the resolute Palermo defence with a close-range header.
As the full time whistle blew, De Boer knew that it was not a good result. Palermo finished a lonely 16th last season and are a team in need of some first team talent after selling their best players over the last few years.
It was a fixture Inter needed to win if they want to challenge for the title in May. They failed, and like the last six years previous, it could be another season of mid-table purgatory for I Nerazzurri.
Lazio 0-1 Juventus
Napoli 4-2 Milan
Torino 5-1 Bologna
Sassuolo 2-1 Pescara
Cagliari 2-2 Roma
Crotone 1-3 Genoa
Udinese 2-0 Empoli
Sampdoria 2-1 Atalanta
Fiorentina 1-0 Chievo