Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 4/5
lnter Milan will play host to Fiorentina at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, more commonly referred to as San Siro, on Saturday afternoon, within the 28th round of the season in the Serie A. Both teams could certainly do with the three points on offer here, and it remains to be seen which one ends up walking away with them.
Having lost all realistic hope of catching up with Napoli at the top of the table some time ago (they’re 21 points behind at the moment), Inter have now surrendered the second place to Lazio too, having lost to Juventus last week and seen Lazio win the Derby of Rome. With the tally of 50 on the board, the Nerazzurri remain third, two points ahead of city rivals AC Milan in fourth, three points ahead of AS Roma in fifth, and five points ahead of Atalanta in sixth. The title race may well be over, but the one for the remaining three Champions League slots is obviously wide open.
The Juventus defeat was Inter’s third in the last four matches in the Italian top flight, and coach Simone Inzaghi will surely be seeking a way to arrest the form drop before it’s too late. In their last six matches in all competitions, Inter beat FC Porto in the round of 16 of the Champions League at home by 1-0, lost 1-0 away to Bologna, beat Lecce at home 2-0, lost 2-1 away to Spezia, played a goalless draw away to Porto in the second leg to secure a place in the quarterfinals, and lost 0-1 at home to Juventus.
It was a tough match, loaded with emotion and controversy, and with Filip Kostic delivering the fatal strike in the 23rd minute, the post-match set-to between the players saw midfielder Danilo D’Ambrosio and Juventus’ Leandro Paredes engage in a scuffle and receive a red card each.
It may not have mattered much at the time, given that the game was already over when it happened, but D’Ambrosio is now obviously suspended for that red card.
Defender Milan Skriniar is expected to miss out through a back problem, but Alessandro Bastoni and wing-back Federico Dimarco are back in contention, having recovered from problems that made them miss Italy’s Euro qualifiers against England and Malta. Midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu is a doubt at this point, having earned a muscle injury while playing for Turkey.
Andre Onana will be in goal, with Bastoni stepping into the lineup to form the back line with Matteo Darmian and Francesco Acerbi. Marcelo Brozovic will be the last man in the middle of the park, with Nicolo Barella and Henrikh Mkhitaryan playing close by. Denzel Dumfries will cover the right flank, with Dimarco on the left. Upfront, Lautaro Martinez will be joined by Romelu Lukaku, who burst into life during the break and scored four goals in two matches for Belgium.
As for Fiorentina, they sit rather comfortably in the middle section of the Serie A table, in ninth place with 37 points. They’re very, very far from the dangers of the relegation zone, and at the moment, they won’t be feeling too much pressure to join the fight for the European places, though their place in one of UEFA’s competitions next season cannot be ruled out either at this point. Eight points separates them from Atalanta in sixth, with Juventus (41) and Udinese (38) sitting in between.
Vincenzo Italiano’s team got where they are after a spell of terrific form, winning every single one of their last six competitive matches, along with a 5-1 friendly thrashing of Serie D side Seravezza during the international break. The run saw them beat Hellas Verona away by 0-3, AC Milan at home by 2-1, Turkish side Sivasspor 1-0 at home in the first leg of their contest in the Europa Conference League round of 16, Cremonese 0-2 away, Sivasspor 1-4 in Turkey, and Lecce at home by 1-0.
The only goal against Lecce was an own-goal from visitors’ left-back Antonino Gallo just before the half-hour mark.
Left-back Aleksa Terzic (abductor muscle tear) and backup goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu (Achilles tendon tear) are the only confirmed absentees for Italiano’s side at the moment. Striker Luka Jovic hasn’t been ruled out yet, but he’s unlikely to feature due to a viral infection.
If Jovic doesn’t make it, his place at the tip of the attacking line will be taken by Arthur Cabral, with the trio of Nicolas Gonzalez, Riccardo Saponara and Antonin Barak in support. Giacomo Bonaventura is expected to partner Sofyan Amrabat in the middle of the park, protecting the back line consisting of centre-backs Nikola Milenkovic and Igor and fullbacks Dodo and Cristiano Biraghi. The spot between the posts belongs to Pietro Terraciano.
Inter are more than likely to take advantage of the difference in quality and the home soil to bounce back with a win over the in-form Viola.
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 4/5
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