This Sunday 14 February 2016 Inter travel to Florence and the Stadio Artemio Franchi to take on Fiorentina in a crucial clash in the race for Champions League qualification (kick off 20:45CET).
Inter come into this game on the back of dropping two points last weekend away at Serie A’s bottom club Hellas Verona in a 3-3 draw. It’s hard to know where to start about the negatives in the game, it was that bad but I will start with the goals conceded by Inter which all came from set plays and it seemed like the Nerazzurri really missed Joao Miranda, who was suspended, for his awareness and instruction when it comes to zonal marking.
Also evident is that midfielder Felipe Melo is a red card waiting to happen every time he plays so it’s a good thing that he misses this game against one of his former clubs due to suspension.
Inter really need a new defensive midfielder at the club as Marcelo Brozovic and Geoffrey Kondogbia don’t cover the defence quite like Gary Medel does, not only that but the Croatian and Frenchman are better going forward. It really does beg the question, will Assane Gnoukouri ever get a chance?
Another negative remains the Nerazzurri’s delivery from wide areas with Alex Telles and Yuto Nagatomo particularly poor with their crossing in Verona.
The one shred of positivity from the game was Inter’s character in coming from 3-1 down to get the draw, compared to previous years were the Nerazzurri would have lost the game.
The result against Hellas has put to bed Inter’s outside chances of winning the Scudetto however there is a major fight going on for the last Champions League qualification place with Fiorentina(3rd), Inter(4th) and now Roma(5th) separated by just two points coming into this weekend’s round of fixtures.
Inter are missing continuity in their performances and against a rival in Fiorentina, Roberto Mancini and his players will know there is no place for mistakes as this is a must win match if the Nerazzurri are to get out of their slump and challenge for Europe.
Paulo Sousa’s Fiorentina come into this game unbeaten in their last four Serie A games (two wins, two draws) including last time out against derby rivals Bologna 1-1 after having Mati Fernandez sent off for two avoidable bookings.
As well as things have went so far on the pitch for La Viola, off the pitch Paulo Sousa has had a spat with the clubs owners this week over their transfer strategy during the Winter mercato with crunch talks to take place in the lead up to this game.
After thrashing Inter earlier this season 1-4 at the San Siro, the Florentines will fancy their chances of getting maximum points again against a Nerazzurri side that haven’t won in Florence since 2014.
Here is the Inter team news and probable line up as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport at the time of writing this article:
Samir Handanovic starts in goal with Danilo D’Ambrosio on the right. In central defence Joao Miranda returns from suspension to partner Jeison Murillo with Yuto Nagatomo favoured over Alex Telles at left back.
There are two plans for the formation the team will take. If Marcelo Brozovic starts then Inter will use a 4-3-3 formation with Gary Medel and Geoffrey Kondogbia alongside the Croatian in midfield.
If Brozovic starts on the bench then there will be space for Jonathan Biabiany on the right alongside Medel and Kondogbia in the central positions with Ivan Perisic on the left in a 4-4-2 shape.
In a 4-4-2 Inter would start the striking partnership of Eder alongside Mauro Icardi. In the 4-3-3 formation Eder would play on the right with Perisic on the left with Icardi in the central striking role.
Probable Inter line up (subject to change): (4-4-2) Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Miranda, Murillo, Nagatomo; Biabiany, Melo, Kondogbia, Perisic; Eder Icardi(c).
Bench: Berni, Carrizo, Juan Jesus, Telles, Santon, Brozovic, Gnoukouri, Zonta, Palacio, Ljajic, Jovetic, Manaj.
Inter have faced Fiorentina in Florence on 78 occasions in the Serie A records with La Viola leading the stats with 27 wins to the Nerazzurri’s 19 wins with 32 matches drawn.
In the overall Serie A records (home & away), Inter lead the stats with 65 wins to Fiorentina’s 42 wins with 50 of the 157 matches between the sides drawn.
Inter’s last win against Fiorentina came on 15 February 2014 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in a 1-2 success with goals from Palacio and Icardi.
Since that Inter win however Fiorentina have won their last three games against the Nerazzurri.
After going through half of the season without conceding a headed goal, Inter have now conceded 4 headed goals in their last three games.
Player to Watch: Samir Handanovic – Inter’s player of the season so far. The Slovenian will be fired up for this game as he looks to make up for his performance against the hosts earlier in the season.
My Prediction: Fiorentina 1-1 Inter
Scorers: Bernadeschi(Fiorentina), Eder(Inter)
Officials: Referee: Paolo Mazzoleni Assistants: Costanzo, Passeri
Fourth Official: Dobosz Additional Assistants: Celi, Mariani
Author’s Note: Despite my prediction of a draw both sides will be doing their utmost to win this game with a resurgent Roma under Luciano Spalletti starting to pressure Inter and Fiorentina for third place. Inter’s problem will be stopping La Viola from scoring as the Nerazzurri have conceded eight goals in their last three matches against Fiorentina. However I do have a feeling that Inter could spring a surprise here.