This Wednesday night 20 April 2016, sees Champions League chasing Inter travel to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris to face mid-table Genoa (kick-off 20:45 CET).
Inter come into this game on the back of one of their best performances of the season as they beat Napoli 2-0 at the San Siro, thus ending a hoodoo after failing to beat the Partenopei in Serie A since a 2-1 win in 2012.
It was a fantastic night all round with the Nerazzurri solid in defence, determined in midfield and lethal in attack, I even found myself thinking that Inter looked like the finished article.
Man of the match on the night was Mauro Icardi, who for the second time this season scored and assisted in the same game. The Argentine’s lobbed finish from a Medel assist saw him score his 15th league goal this season and his fifth in his last six home league matches.
Other key performers were Miranda and Murillo in defence, Medel, Brozovic, D’Ambrosio and Jovetic but the one performance that stands out for me was that of Geoffrey Kondogbia.
The Frenchman was aggressive, physically dominant as well as being able to link the defence to the attack, and is starting to show why Inter paid so much money for him. Unfortunately a booking against Napoli will see the ex-Monaco man suspended for the trip to Genoa.
It was a good weekend results wise for Inter as Roma dropped points in an enthralling 3-3 draw at Atalanta. The Nerazzurri remain in fourth place but the gap to the third placed Giallorossi has now been cut to four points with five matches remaining.
Genoa come into this match on the back of a 4-1 thumping away at Carpi as the Grifone became the first team that the Biancorossi have done the double over in their debut season.
Things had started well for Genoa with Leonardo Pavoletti giving the Grifone the lead, his first goal since 17 January, but four mad minutes at the end of the first half totally changed the game.
Armando Izzo was sent-off and Carpi scored two quick-fire goals in stoppages to take control of the game, thus seeing the Grifone fail to win two consecutive away matches, something they haven’t done since November 2014.
Genoa won’t be an easy three points for Inter, however despite their horrible away record. The Grifone are a very different animal at the Luigi Ferraris, with nine wins and three draws in 16 home league games this season.
Genoa remain safe in mid-table in 11th place, ten points clear of the relegation zone and with seemingly nothing to play for.
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 along with the same defence that played against Napoli, Danilo D’Ambrosio at right back with a central pairing of Joao Miranda and Jeison Murillo alongside Yuto Nagatomo at left back.
In a proposed 4-2-3-1 formation, Gary Medel and Marcelo Brozovic will play as a double-pivot with Geoffrey Kondogbia suspended.
On the right Rodrigo Palacio could start against his former club in place of Stevan Jovetic. On the left Ivan Perisic starts with one of Eder or Adem Ljajic expected in the trequartista role behind the in-form Mauro Icardi in the central striking role.
Probable Inter line-up (subject to change): (4-2-3-1) Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Miranda, Murillo, Nagatomo; Medel, Brozovic; Palacio, Eder, Perisic; Icardi (C)
Bench: Berni, Carrizo, Santon, Juan Jesus, Telles, Gnoukouri, Melo, Biabiany, Ljajic, Jovetic, Manaj
Genoa have faced Inter in Serie A at home on 48 occasions with the Grifone leading the stats with 15 wins to the Nerazzurri’s 14 wins with 19 matches drawn.
In the overall records (home & away), Inter lead the stats with 49 wins to Genoa’s 19 wins with 29 of the 97 meetings finishing in a draw.
Mauro Icardi has scored 15 league goals this season with all of them scored inside the penalty area including seven goals from his last nine shots attempted.
The earlier meeting between the sides this season at the San Siro finished in a 1-0 win for Inter thanks to a Ljajic goal.
In last season’s corresponding fixture in Genoa, Inter led twice through Icardi and Palacio before succumbing to a 3-2 loss after Grifone goals from Pavoletti, Lestienne and Kucka.
Inter’s last win away at Genoa in Serie A came back on 13 December 2011, when a Nagatomo goal sealed a 0-1 victory.
Player to Watch: Mauro Icardi – The Argentine is on a hot-streak of form and at the perfect time. Maurito also has two goals and two assists in his five Inter appearances against Genoa.
My Prediction: Genoa 1-2 Inter
Scorers: Pavoletti (Genoa), Icardi, Palacio (Inter)
Officials: Referee: Massimiliano Irrati Assistants: Costanzo, La Rocca
Fourth Official: Marzaloni Additional Assistants: Tagliavento, Baracani
Author’s Note: There are five cup-finals ahead of Inter that must be taken one game at a time. Inter need five wins out of five starting against Genoa to put serious pressure on Roma who have showed signs of stalling. Genoa can be a tough place to go but if Inter show the same desire and hunger as they did against Napoli then the Nerazzurri should have too much for the Grifone.