Preview: Inter vs Sassuolo – Penultimate Day of Reckoning
After being let back into the Champions League race, Inter host the tricky Sassuolo in a bid to keep their hopes alive. Match on Saturday at 20:45CET
Despite having had a largely underwhelming season, Sassuolo have lost just once in their last ten matches. The Neroverdi have taken points off teams like Napoli, Milan, Fiorentina and Sampdoria. Nevertheless, Sassuolo find themselves in the position of having nothing to play for at the end of the season, no relegation to avoid and no Europe to qualify to. The only real motivation for derailing Inter’s European comeback will be fulfilling hardcore Milanista owner Giorgio Squinzi’s ambitions to rain on any Inter parade.
Inter have all to play for, and it appears that form, spirit and desire have converged at the end of the season to allow the Nerazzurri to keep the slightest of cracks in the door to UCL qualification ajar. The Inter machine is built around the performances of the trio of Rafinha, Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic. If this triumvirate is on point then expect the visiting Emiliani to be in a ton of trouble.
The biggest threats that the visitors possess lie in strikers Domenico Berardi and Matteo Politano. Both Italian youngsters have the ability to both poach and create goals. Central defensive stand-in Andrea Ranocchia has been largely living a season of redemption so far, but all Interisti know that the oft wrongfooted defender is almost always one step away from a calamitous mistake. This will have to be a flawless 2018 Ranocchia performance if he’s not to let his side and apprehensive supporters down against the two wily attackers.
It seems like both Joao Miranda and Roberto Gagliardini will be in some level of fitness for the match, however, common sense has it that Spaletti will probably risk neither player from the start. Matias Vecino will probably start in midfield having served his one match suspension for the sending off against Juve, but expect Gags to then make an appearance at some point to rack up some minutes ahead of the final match.
Probable Inter line-up (subject to change): (4-2-3-1) Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Ranocchia, Skriniar; Cancelo, Vecino, Brozovic, Rafinha; Perisic, Candreva; Icardi (C)
Last Season: Inter 1 – 2 Sassuolo
Last 10 Head to Head: Surprisingly, Serie A newbies Sassuolo have a slight edge over Inter in the two sides’ nine league encounters, winning five of the matches. Perhaps even more remarkably, both sides are yet to draw once in the league.
Keep an Eye on
Marcelo Brozovic: The Croatian midfielder has been a revelation and has been one of the pillars on which Spaletti has engineered the Inter return to form. If epic Brozo can maintain his epic form, then Inter will be able to boss the midfield and largely control how and where the game goes.
Refereree: Rosario Abisso
Assistants: Del Giovane, Prenna
Fourth Official: La Penna
Additional Assistants: Di Bello, Crispo
Prediction & Authors Note
Prediction & scorers: Inter 3 – 1 Sassuolo with Icardi, Rafinha and Perisic on the score-sheet.
Author’s Note: With all to still play for, the Nerazzurri players must give their all and show the entire league that they not only want the UCL but also deserve it. Forza Inter.