Inter host Celtic in the Europa league last 32 in what promises to be a spectacular 2nd leg after an equally spectacular 3-3 draw in Glasgow last week.
Inter only need a draw of 2 goals or less in order to qualify for the next round and are seen as slight favourites for this game but this is Inter we’re talking about and we shouldn’t take this match for granted.
Especially when we look at how our defence performed in the 1st leg.
On current league form Celtic sit top of the Scottish Premiership by 3 points after they beat Hamilton 4-0 on Sunday.
Inter have risen to 8th in Serie A having won their last 3 league matches, scoring 9 goals in the process.
Here is the probable line-up according to GDS.
Juan Pablo Carrizo will keep his place in the team as Samir Handanovic has just returned after a bruised foot in training.
In defence Inter have Danilo D’Ambrosio and Marco Andreolli back from injury but only D’Ambrosio is seen as starting the game, at right back in place of Hugo Campagnaro.
In central defence Andrea Ranocchia is expected to return after being rested against Cagliari, in place of Nemanja Vidic who had a solid game on Monday. Ranocchia’s partner in defence will be Juan Jesus.
At left back will be Davide Santon who is our best full back since the days of Maicon.
Yuto Nagatomo, Jonathan and Dodo are all injured.
In midfield Marcelo Brozovic is cup tied so Zdravko Kuzmanovic will start in his place ahead of Hernanes, who has been pushing for a start. Alongside Kuzmanovic will be the ever reliable Gary Medel and the in-form Fredy Guarin.
Xherdan Shaqiri is expected to start in the trequartista position ahead of Mateo Kovacic despite the Croatian International putting in a man of the match performance against Cagliari.
Up top Mauro Icardi starts alongside Rodrigo Palacio, who was rested at Cagliari, in place of Lukas Podolski who isn’t eligible to play in the Europa League.
Probable Inter line-up(subject to change): (4-3-1-2) Carrizo, D’Ambrosio, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Santon, Guarin, Medel, Kuzmanovic, Shaqiri, Icardi, Palacio.
Bench: Handanovic, Berni, Andreolli, Campagnaro, Vidic, Kovacic, Obi, Hernanes, Puscas.
Inter haven’t lost in the Europa League since 7 March 2013, when they were beaten 3-0 by Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Since then Inter have an impressive record of 6 wins and 4 draws.
Inter have never lost at home against Scottish opposition. In the previous 5 games between Inter and teams from Scotland Inter have won 4 and drawn 1. In total Inter have played Scottish teams 12 times with an overall record of 5 wins, 4 draws and 3 defeats.
Celtic take on Italian opposition for the 25th time tonight. In total Celtic have managed 5 wins, 8 draws and 11 defeats. Celtic have never won on Italian soil in 11 attempts, drawing 3 and losing 8 matches.
Player to watch: Xherdan Shaqiri – After being rested against Cagliari Shaqiri will be chomping at the bit to play against Celtic especially having played so well in the 1st leg.
My Prediction: Inter 3-1 Celtic
Scorers: Shaqiri, Icardi, Guarin(Inter), Commons(Celtic)
Officials: Referee: Ivan Kruzliak (Slovakia) Assistants: Tomas Somolani, Tomas Mokos
Fourth official: Ondrej Brendza Additional assistants: Richard Trutz, Peter Kralovic
Authors Note: I expect Inter to win this game but it will be dependant on a few factors. Inter’s defence will need to perform a lot better than we saw in the 1st leg and we must keep control of the game. I do feel positive in any case that we will progress to the next round.