Preview: Napoli vs Inter (Coppa Italia Quarter-Final)
Inter go into this game on the back of 2 disappointing defeats against Sassuolo and Torino. A good run in the Coppa Italia could restart Inters season.
Inter finished their transfer business this week with the signing of former player Davide Santon on loan from Newcastle United with a view to a permanent transfer. Inters mercato has went very well so far with Podolski, Shaqiri, Brozovic and Santon all coming to the club.
Mancini now has the players he wants and it’s about time Inter started to get their act together.
This is the line-up as reported by La Gazzetta Dello Sport.
Mancini is expected to change formation to a 4-3-1-2 for this match.
Carrizo is expected to start in nets.
Inter still have some problems in defence with Campagnaro, Andreolli, D’Ambrosio and Jonathan all still injured. Nagatomo has returned from injury and may well start at right back. In central defence Juan Jesus returns from suspension to partner Ranocchia with Obi expected to play at left back. New signing Davide Santon will be on the bench.
In midfield Marcelo Brozovic should start alongside Gary Medel and Kuzmanovic. Hernanes is the favourite to start in the trequartista role.
Up top Mancini will put his faith in Icardi despite having to fine the player after his row with Inter fans at the end of the Sassuolo game. His partner up top is expected to be Bonazzoli who Inter this week announced would be joining Sampdoria at the end of the season.
Probable line-up (subject to change): Carrizo, Nagatomo, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Obi, Brozovic, Medel, Kuzmanovic, Hernanes, Icardi and Bonazzoli.
Bench: Handanovic, Berni, Vidic, Santon, Dodo, Donkor, Kovacic, Guarin, Palacio, Podolski, Puscas, Shaqiri.
Pre match stats:
This evenings cup meeting could see Juan Jesus and Palacio both reach 100 appearances for Inter.
Juan made his debut on 13th May 2012 in Serie A against Lazio. He has played 76 times in the league, 7 times in the Coppa Italia and 16 times in European competitions.
Palacio first appeared for Inter on 2nd August 2012 in a Europa League game against Hadjuk Split and has since played in 82 league games, 5 Coppa Italia games and 12 games in European competition.
Napoli are on a 12 match scoring run with 24 goals in the Coppa Italia since they last failed to hit the net on 26th January 2011 and interestingly it was against Inter. The match finished 0-0 after extra time with the Inter side managed by Leonardo winning 4-5 on penalties.
Previous match-ups between Rafa Benitez and Roberto Mancini see the coaches locked together in perfect parity with 2 wins apiece and two 0-0 draws.
My Player to Watch: Hernanes – We haven’t seen Hernanes for a while and rightly so after some below par performances but this is his chance to impress the manager and with Kovacic starting to go off the boil I expect a big performance from Hernanes.
My Prediction: Napoli 2-2 Inter Scorers: Higuain, Callejon (Napoli) and Icardi, Hernanes (Inter)
Officials: Referee: Massa Assistants: Giallatini and Passeri 4th Official: Banti
After Inters performance in the last 2 matches it’s hard to have any hope against a good Napoli side who are very much in form but this is a chance to start from a clean slate for a lot of our players and I can actually see this game going the whole way to a penalty shoot-out. Here’s hoping anyway.