Preview: Inter vs Napoli – A Match of Great Importance for Both Sides

March 11, 2018 09:03
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With the derby postponed due to the tragic death of Davide Astori last week, this match against Napoli takes on added importance in sealing the fate of both sides and their seasonal ambitions. Match on Sunday at 20:45CET

Napoli will still be smarting from the sucker punch dealt to them by Roma at the San Paolo last week, and will know that should they drop points to the Nerazzurri here, then their scudetto winning ambitions will be put at serious risk. The Neapolitans will be out for blood and everything about Inter must be operating at the highest level if they are to resist the Southerners’ onslaught.
Interestingly for Inter, the fact that Napoli will have a real go at them might play to the Nerazzurri’s favour. All through the season, with the exception of the last couple of miserable months, we have seen Inter much more comfortable when coming up against teams that attack them. While Luciano Spaletti’s tactics are far removed from sitting deep and counter attacking, it is when teams attack Inter rather than focus on shutting down Antonio Candreva and Ivan Perisic that the wingers can then find spaces and create chances for Mauro Icardi.
While Antonio Candreva was expected to start as a central trequartista in the Derby last week, it is largely believed that the Italian International will be deployed in the more traditional right-wing position this week. Rafinha Alcantara, who’s now had an extra week of non-competitive integration and training with the squad will probably start as the central play-maker and linkup player with the French starlet Yann Karamoh sitting on the bench to be deployed in the second half if necessary.
Most importantly will probably be the central midfield pairing that has given Spaletti plenty of grief this season. It seems that any combination of two of the three Matias Vecino, Borja Valero or Roberto Gagliardini leaves the midfield missing some key attributes and feeling unbalanced. Reports suggest that ex-Fiorentina teammates Valero and Vecino will probably be given the nod ahead of Gags, but in all circumstances, whoever is picked must have a perfect game if Inter are to stand a chance of picking up all three points.

Team News

With last week’s matches non played, the treatment room at Appiano is now free of all long-term injuries to first-selection players. Only Andrea Ranocchia remained in doubt but even he has made a recovery and will be sitting on the bench.

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


Last Season: Inter 0 – 1 Napoli

Last 10 Head to Head: The head to head record speaks of both sides’ fortunes in the last few seasons. Inter only have two victories to their name while Napoli have beaten Inter five times. Staggering.

Keep an Eye on

Mauro Icardi: The undoubted star and talisman of the Nerazzurri is finally back from his long term injury and will be chomping on the bit to get back on the scoresheet especially against the Partenopei. Icardi’s return to  the bench last match played coincided with Inter’s hard-fought win against Benevento, and maybe his return to the starting eleven can coincide with Inter’s return to form.


Refereree: Daniele Orsato

Assistants: Di Fiore, Manganelli

 Fourth Official: Banti

Additional Assistants: Massa, Giallatini

Prediction & Authors Note

Prediction & scorers: Inter 2 – 2 Napoli with Icardi and Perisic on the scoresheet.

Author’s Note: It is more Napoli than Inter who will feel like their backs are up against the wall here and so the visitors might be expected to come out with guns blazing. A more methodical and thoughtful approach from Inter, where they aim to frustrate first and score second might be the right approach for this match. In all circumstances, and as noted earlier, nothing but a flawless performance can put us in contention for the three points.

By Mohamed Nassar