5 Reasons Why Inter Milan Will Win Silverware This Season
It was not so long ago that the Nerazzurri themselves had an invincible aura about them, as they claimed five consecutive Scudetti between 2005-06 and 2009-10.
All such eras come to an end, and Juventus' current dominance cannot go on forever. Traditional powerhouses like Inter and Milan eventually re-emerge from tough spells to establish themselves as top dogs once more.
In 2014-15, early signs suggest that a new-look Inter can win at least one trophy and set themselves up for a new golden period under Walter Mazzarri.
Here are five reasons why.
The former Napoli manager is entering his second year in charge of the Nerazzurri and should now be well settled in at the San Siro.
He has made a host of changes to the Inter playing roster over the summer, meaning the side this season should be well suited to the type of football he wants to promote.
Most importantly, Mazzarri has shown himself to be a tactically shrewd coach who is capable of getting the most out of his players.
The matches Inter have played in pre-season indicate that the 52-year-old will once again be favouring a 3-5-2 system, but also that he is willing and able to adjust that scheme to suit the opponent or the match situation he is confronted with.
With a smart, experienced and established coach at the helm, Inter should hit the ground running in 2014-15.
Solid Defence Bolstered by Vidic
Aside from a few lapses in concentration which led to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt, Inter have looked extremely solid at the back during the pre-season.
With the introduction of former Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic, the defence has acquired an extra aura of authority.
Club captain Andrea Ranocchia is a fine centre-back in his own right, but he benefits immensely from having a top-quality partner beside him.
While Juan Jesus has been one of Serie A's best defenders over the past couple of seasons, he will no doubt also learn a great deal from the vastly experienced Serb.
Together they form an impressive trio at the back, and with the likes of Hugo Campagnaro and Matias Silvestre available as back-ups, Inter have a stable foundation to build on this year.
Exciting Argentine-Dominated Forward Line
Though Mazzarri would probably like to add a bit more depth to his forward line, it certainly contains plenty of quality.
Considering it features four Argentina-born players, the attack should not be short of comradery and on-field chemistry as well.
Rodrigo Palacio has improved with every season he has spent in European football and can now be considered one of Serie A's top strikers.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Mauro Icardi is a star on the rise. Within a year or two, he could be something really special, and this may be the season he really makes a name for himself.
Born in Argentina, Italian international Dani Osvaldo has shown in the past he can be a lethal target man, but he has a lot to prove with Inter after a couple of disappointing years.
Making up the quartet is 24-year-old Ruben Botta, who possesses immense talent that will make him a crucial member of the attack if he can settle in European football.
With Serie A lacking the star power of years gone by, the Nerazzurri attack looks one of the strongest on paper in this year's competition.
The defensive-minded Chilean will add steel to a midfield already packed with flair.
Though not every squad member has proven himself at Serie A level, there is enough variety and depth to suggest Mazzarri will have a wealth of options when it comes to his tactical formation and starting lineup.
With skilful ball-players like Ricky Alvarez and Hernanes, along with zippy, hard-working wide men such as Yuto Nagatomo and Danilo D'Ambrosio, the Nerazzurri have a nice mix of styles in the central zone.
If the coach can find the right balance, Inter have the personnel to dominate matches.
Chances in Several Competitions
Inter are once again in the running for silverware in several competitions.
The Scudetto is likely to be the hardest task of all, with Juventus having won the Serie A title for the last three seasons.
However, the Bianconeri may decide to prioritise European glory this time around, which could open the door for some of the other challengers.
Though Roma, Napoli and Fiorentina will probably be in the mix, none of those sides are without flaw. Meanwhile, Milan appear to be set for another season of rebuilding.
A 19th league title for Inter in 2014-15 would still be extremely unlikely, but there is a glimmer of hope.
In the cup competitions, a side of Inter's pedigree is always in with a fighting chance.
The Nerazzurri won the Coppa Italia as recently as 2010. With a little luck, they will feel they have the depth and talent to go all the way again in the knock-out format.
If they can qualify for the main draw of the Europa League, they are also among the group of teams who can be considered genuine contenders, alongside the likes of Fiorentina, Everton, Tottenham and Sevilla.
As Inter attempt to reclaim their place as a giant of Italian football, a trophy in 2014-15 is not an absolute necessity. However, it would be most welcome for Mazzarri and his charges.