A dejected Nerazzurri take the trip south to spicy Calabria to take on relegation battling Crotone tomorrow at the Stadio Ezio Scida, kick-off 15:00 CET.
The air of buoyant optimist that had permeated Appiano Gentile as of late has been replaced by sombre disappointment. Stefano Pioli and his men know that a Champions League spot is as good as lost after last week’s surprise home defeat to Sampdoria. Inter now face a daunting trip down south to face relegation battling Crotone. With the home team having all to play for, while Inter essentially might feel that a real fight is pointless, the Nerazzurri might be in for a rude surprise.
While there’s no doubt that Inter possess the squad to make small work of Crotone, their weak metal game against Sampdoria might be their undoing. Last week’s Inter was more reminiscent of Mazzarri or Mancini or any other post-Mou manager’s hapless squads. If the Nerazzurri are to come back with all points and potentially salvage something from the season then a strong, determined performance is essential here. The loss of Roberto Gagliardini to injury will be particularly painful seeing that Gaglia has quickly become the Nerazzurri’s most important midfielder.
In order to ensure that he’s fit for the derby, Roberto Gagliardini will be rested this match and it’s widely expected that Gary Medel will slot in the midfield next to him. If Medel will indeed start then expect Joao Mario to start behind Mauro Icardi ahead of Ever Banega on order that the midfield maintain a better sense of balance.
Probable Inter line-up (4-2-3-1): Handanovic; Ansaldi, Miranda, Murillo, D’Ambrosio; Kondogbia, Medel; Perisic, Joao Mario, Candreva; Icardi (C)
Last Season: Not played, Crotone in Serie B.
Last 10 Head to Head: Since this is Crotone’s debut top-light season, there have been no head to head encounters between both sides to reflect on. Inter have only met Crotone once earlier this season; a match Inter won 3-0.
Keep an Eye on
Mauro Icardi: A real captain’s performance will be required of Maurito. It might have been disappointing to see him miss a sitter and then look disheartened in the post-Sampodira interview, but it is at this point that Icardi needs to rise up to the captaincy and pull his teammates forward making sure that they only focus on the upcoming 90 minutes with full hunger and intent.
Referee: Marco Guida.
Assistants: Marzaloni & Marrazzo.
Fourth Official: Carbone.
Additional Assistants: Doveri & Nasca.
Prediction & Concluding Remarks
Prediction & scorers: Crotone 0-2 Inter with Icardi and Perisic scoring.
Concluding remarks: An away trip to a relegation threatened opponent is never a promising prospect, and with Inter reeling from last week’s defeat, and potentially carrying a fragile psyche, anything can be expected.