Preview: Inter vs Benevento – Can the Season Be Salvaged?

Preview: Inter vs Benevento – Can the Season Be Salvaged?
February 23, 2018 12:00
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After the mauling at the Marassi last week, the Nerazzurri come back home to face bottom-of-the-table Benevento in the hope of picking up the pieces from this car crash of a mid-season. Match on Saturday at 20:45CET

Few words are left to tactically analyze Inter matches; where there was once defensive solidity, there is now confusion and individual errors. Where there was once physicality and relentlessness in the middle of the pitch, there is now a lack of both direction and decisiveness. Where there was once ruthlessness and coordination in attack, there is now profligacy and missed cues. It is now up to both Luciano Spaletti and the players to decide to play to their potential and put this phase behind them.
The return of Mauro Icardi, albeit probably still on the bench, will be a boon to the squad, both for his direct impact as a player as well as his presence as the captain. The midfield, however, remains an unsolved riddle; the once effective and complimentary trio of Borja Valero, Matias Vecino and Roberto Gagliardini seems to have become out of synch and incomplete. While Borja Valero has been the most stand-out of the midfield three, it seems that he will probably be the one sacrificed to accommodate Rafinha. Valero, while almost always giving his all on the pitch, is both far less solid defensively that his midfield partners and less impacting than Rafinha in the final third.
Benevento’s game plan is aleady clear as day: they will play a tight, compact and frustrating match, sitting deep and wasting time from the get-go. Inter must have the will, belief and output to impose their will on the visitors and break their defences down, because anything but a win here will probably mean that all is lost for the season.

Team News

While Mauro Icardi seems to have finally recovered from his injury, he will be expected to start the match on the bench. Both Ivan Perisic and Joao Miranda are probably going to miss the match due to injury, to be replaced by Yann Karamoh and Andrea Ranocchia respectively.

Probable Inter line-up (subject to change): (4-2-3-1) Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Ranocchia (C), Skriniar, Cancelo; Gagliardini, Vecino; Karamoh, Rafinha, Candreva; Eder

Stats

Last Season: Not played, Benevento in B

Last 10 Head to Head: This is Benevento’s debut season in the Serie A, and so, there is no historical record between both sides to speak of.

Keep an Eye on

Rafinha: It seems certain that the attacking midfielder will be given a starting position as trequartista behind Eder(or Icardi). The ex-Barcelona player has been one of the few bright spots in the torrid run of the past couple of months. Rafinha is one of the few players that has some genuine game-changing attributes to offer the squad. If his fitness allows, he can be the difference-maker on Saturday night.

Officials

Refereree: Luca Pairetto

Assistants: Santoro, Longo

 Fourth Official: Sacchi

Additional Assistants: Maresca, Fiorito

Prediction & Authors Note

Prediction & scorers: Inter 2 – 0 Benevento Eder and Karamoh on the scoresheet.

Author’s Note: The words “must win” have been said frequently this season, but never more meaningfully than in reference to this match. With Milan facing Roma this matchweek, Inter can have the chance to both record a morale boosting win ahead of the Derby and possibly return to a Champions League position in one match.

By Mohamed Nassar