Preview: Udinese vs Inter – Shaking off the Derby D’Italia Demons
Inter draw the dreaded Sunday lunchtime slot as they travel to Udine to face the other Bianconeri, Udinese. Match on Sunday at 12:30 CET
To call Udinese’s run of form poor would be the understatement of the season. The Zebretti have been on quite a tear, a 13 game winless streak that’s highlighted by the fact that, had it not been for last week’s draw against Benevento, the team from Udine was on a remarkable eleven match losing run. More remarkably, however, is the fact that despite this eye watering run, Udinese are not certain relegation contenders, and still have plenty to play for if they are to avoid the drop. This makes the trip to the Dacia Arena particularly risky.
Inter also have all to play for. Not only must the Nerazzurri feel obliged to wash the bitter taste of the Juve game out of their mouths, Inter know that to keep any hope of achieving Champions League qualification they need nine points out of the remaining nine. Inter must start the match strong, and keep a lid on any nerves or frustrations that might accompany an extended period of inability to score. The more nervy and edgy they get, the less likely they will be to find the breakthrough. Spaletti’s work in preparing for the match must have been far more psychological and mental than actually tactical.
Despite their awful form, Udinese are still a threat going forward and have managed to score a very respectable nine goals in their last five games. The last time they have been shut out by opposing defenses was six matches ago against the resurgent Viola,and have since found the back of the net against sides like Napoli and Lazio.
With all to play for for Inter, three points will be vital here.
The biggest pieces of tactical adjustment that Spaletti will have to accommodate will be the suspensions of Danilo D’Ambrosio and Matias Vecino as well as the continuing injury of Roberto Gagliardini. It is almost certain that the out of favor left-back Dalbert will be deployed instead of D’Ambrosio, while Borja Valero will slot into the midfield next to Marcelo Brozovic. Another question mark remains at the right winger, it remains to be seen whether Yann Karamoh or Antonio Candreva will start there.
Probable Inter line-up (subject to change): (4-2-3-1) Handanovic; Dalbert, Miranda, Skriniar, Cancelo; Brozovic, Valero; Perisic, Rafinha, Karamoh; Icardi (C)
Last Season: Udinese 1 – 2 Inter
Last 10 Head to Head: Inter have had the better of the results between the two sides in the last ten matches, having one six to Udinese’s three with just one draw between them.
Keep an Eye on
Mauro Icardi: The Nerazzurri captain was left in tears at the final whistle last week after the loss to Juve, and he will be out for blood today. Spaletti has alluded to the notion that the squad must be certain that three wins out of three in the remaining matches will equal Champions League qualification, and this attitude must be embedded into Icardi’s psyche and transmitted to the rest of the squad accordingly.
Referee: Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni
Assistants: Galliatini, Costanzo
Fourth Official: Di Paolo
Additional Assistants: Giacomelli, Paganessi
Prediction & Authors Note
Prediction & scorers: Udinese 0-2 Inter with Icardi bagging a brace.
Author’s Note: Reference is again made to Spaletti’s three wins out of three comments. While the Juventus loss was a bitter pill to swallow, much can be learned, nurtured and fostered from such tribulations. A positive and commanding performance here (and a win, no less) will go a long way into molding this bunch of players into a real team.