The high-flying Giallorossi come to Milano to face the equally impressive Inter in a critical match That may decide who will eventually qualify for the Champions League.
There can be no overstating the importance of this match; a head to head encounter with a direct competitor for the Champions League finish at home. While a victory will in no way guarantee a top three finish for the Nerazzurri, any other result will be a critical strike to their European aspirations.
Stefano Pioli’s record on the Inter bench gas been very impressive, but losses against Juventus and Napoli and a draw with Milan, albeit in away games, leave many wondering whether the Italian tactician can beat the best the Serie A has to offer. A victory here will most certainly cement his place on the bench over the summer and silence any grumblings.
There is no doubt that Roma’s strength is their attack, whether it be Edin Dzeko’s in the box lethality, Mohammed Salah’s pace and guile from out wide or Radja Nainggolan’s grit and vision through the middle. On the other hand, their defence is by far their weakest department, and given the high level of understanding between Inter’s attacking three and the impressive partnership forged between Roberto Gagliardini and Geoffrey Kondogbia in the middle of the pitch, one can certainly see Inter creating sufficient chances to give i Lupi a run for their money.
While the absence of defensive talisman Joao Miranda due to an accumulation of bookings was a blow to Pioli’s plans, the fact that his understudy and partner at the back, Jeison Murillo, has been cleared to play after an injury scare was probably greeted with a sigh of relief from the Inter camp. Murillo will play next to Gary Medel and Danilo D’Ambrosio in a three man back line. It’s also widely expected that Cristian Ansaldi will start on the left flank despite a string of lacklustre performances.
Probable Inter line-up (3-4-2-1): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Medel, Murillo, Ansaldi, Kondogbia, Gagliardini, Candreva; Perisic, Joao Mario, Icardi (C).
Last Season: Inter 1-0 Roma
Last 10 Head to Head: Roma have had the lion’s share of victories in the pair’s last ten encounters winning five games to Inter’s unimpressive two wins.
Player to Watch:
Mauro Icardi: The young captain is finally available for selection after serving his two match suspension. While his pre-suspension form was far from awful, the striker has been on a scoring drought that’s spanned 6 matches now (suspension included) and with a penchant for scoring important goals, he will be on the hunt for making his mark in this match.
Referee: Paolo Tagliavento
Assistants: Meli, Cariolato
Fourth Official: Passeri
Additional Assistants: Damato & DiBello
Prediction & Authors Note
Prediction & scorers: Inter 2-1 Roma with Icardi scoring a brace.
Final thoughts: In contrast to the two games following the Derby D’Italia where grit and mental strength were the two qualities that the Nerazzurri showcased most prominently, this match cannot be won solely by team spirit but factual setup, awareness and attention to details will dictate who comes out of this match on top.