This Saturday 20 February 2016, Inter welcome Sampdoria to the San Siro (kick off 20:45CET) in match day 26 of the 2015/16 Serie A season.
Inter enter this game in crisis after last weekend’s last minute 2-1 defeat to Champions League qualification rivals Fiorentina in Florence which has now seen the Nerazzurri pick up just 9 points in their last 8 games, with only Sampdoria and Atalanta having a worse record at this time in Serie A.
Things had started well for Inter in Florence with Marcelo Brozovic scoring his first Serie A goal as a starter but some horrible refereeing and the Nerazzurri’s increasingly inconsistent defending saw Mancini’s side drop points once again.
Indeed Inter will have three players suspended for this game as well after a Medel booking and two red cards for Kondogbia and Telles with TV replays showing that the Brazilian’s second booking wasn’t even a foul. In the Frenchman’s case, it was arguably his best performance in an Inter shirt until sarcastic applause saw him dismissed by Mazzoleni. Kondogbia will be suspended for two games with the Nerazzurri, at the time of writing, planning an appeal.
Inter have been on the end of some disastrous decisions this season and have now received eight red cards, only Atalanta (11) have had more players sent off, with the Nerazzurri even announcing a media black-out after the Fiorentina game due to the anger felt towards officials.
For the first time this season as well Inter have allowed their opponents to overturn a deficit to win which is another sign of Inter’s weak mental state at this time. In the first half of the season what happened at the Franchi wouldn’t have happened and now all certainties on which this team are based are dissolving so it’s no surprise that Inter have entered ‘ritiro’ (were players stay at the training ground and are not allowed to leave) this week for the first time since Alberto Zaccheroni did the same thing in March 2004.
The loss against La Viola has seen Inter drop to fifth place in the Serie A table, two points behind Roma(4th) and four behind Fiorentina (3rd) with Milanese rivals Milan two points behind the Nerazzurri.
Vincenzo Montella’s Sampdoria also come into this game in crisis having not won in their last seven Serie A games (two draws, five losses).
Last weekend’s 0-0 draw against Atalanta at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris has done nothing for the Blucherchiati’s confidence and they are slowly being dragged into a relegation battle.
The Genoa based club have a number of ex Inter players in their ranks and they will be relying on some inside knowledge from such players as Viviano, Silvestre, Ranocchia, Dodo, Ricky Alvarez, Palombo and Cassano, to try and stop the Blucherchiati’s slump.
After Sampdoria’s draw last weekend, they are dangerously now only three points away from the relegation zone and in 17th place in the Serie A table.
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 favoured over Davide Santon at right back while in central defence Joao Miranda and Jeison Murillo start with Yuto Nagatomo expected to start at left back in place of the suspended Alex Telles.
In midfield Gary Medel and Geoffrey Kondogbia are suspended so Roberto Mancini is expected to line up his side in a 4-4-2 formation with Jonathan Biabiany on the right beside a central midfield partnership of Felipe Melo and Marcelo Brozovic with Ivan Perisic on the left.
Up top captain Mauro Icardi is set to start alongside one of Eder or Rodrigo Palacio with the Italian international favoured.
Probable Inter line-up (subject to change): (4-4-2) Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Miranda, Murillo, Nagatomo; Biabiany, Melo, Brozovic, Perisic; Icardi (c), Eder.
Bench: Carrizo, Berni, Santon, Juan Jesus, Gnoukouri, Zonta, Palacio, Ljajic, Jovetic, Manaj.
Inter have faced Sampdoria at the San Siro in Serie A on 58 occasions, with the Nerazzurri leading the stats with 35 wins to Sampdoria’s seven wins with 16 matches drawn.
In the overall Serie A records (home & away), Inter continue to lead the stats with 62 wins to Sampdoria’s 18 wins with 37 of the 117 matches drawn.
The earlier meeting between the sides this season on 4 October 2015 in Genoa, the match finished in a 1-1 draw with goals from Muriel and Perisic.
In last season’s corresponding fixture at the San Siro on 29 October 2014, Inter won 1-0 thanks to an injury time Icardi penalty.
Sampdoria have only beaten Inter once in the last 10 matches (home & away) between the sides in Serie A.
Player to Watch: Mauro Icardi – The Argentine loves playing against his former club and has scored three goals in his last four matches against the Blucherchiati.
My Prediction: Inter 2-1 Sampdoria
Scorers: Icardi, Eder (Inter), Quagliarella (Sampdoria)
Officials: Referee: Davide Massa Assistants: Marzaloni, De Pinto
Fourth Official: Barbirati Additional Assistants: Orsato, Pinzani
Author’s Note: After entering ‘ritiro’ this week I expect to see a fired-up and angry Inter. We are definitely capable of beating a Sampdoria side who are bottom of the form table in Italy but it remains to be seen if Mancini can find a winning formula especially with Medel and Kondogbia missing. If not, then another week in ‘ritiro’ is a must. This is a must-win game if Inter are to keep pace with Roma and Fiorentina in the battle for Champions League qualification. For the love of God please no more mistakes!