Tricky Udinese make the trip to Milano to face the Nerazzurri looking to make it two for two in their matches against the Milanese sides. Match on Saturday at 20:45 CET.
Udinese started the season as likely relegation contenders, however a season debut win at the Meazza against Milan made Serie A followers sit up straight and pay attention to the Bianconeri from Udine. A subsequent home loss to Parma once again tempered expectations for Igor Tudor’s men, however, the lesson learned will be never to underestimate Udinese, especially in important matches against top sides.
Tudor, will relish the prospect of sticking it to his ex-teammate Antonio Conte and will do his all to derail the Nerazzurri hype train. Despite the preseason bleak prospects for Udinese, they do possess quite a bit of talent and as evidenced agaisnt AC Milan, they can prove to be a handful for any side. In Kevin Lasagna, Rodrigo De Paul and Rolando Mandragora, Udinese have on their roster a trio dangerous Serie A experienced performers.
Time will tell how much of an eye on Tuesday’s Champions League match Conte will have when making his team selection and starting tactics. It is also important to remember that Inter will start a difficult run of seven matches in 23 days, which will include the derby, a match against Juventus and the Champions League encounter against Barcelona; Conte must have some sense of rotation on his mind.
Conte will probably have his men start off the match with a high level of intensity, to push for an early goal or two to try and put the match to bed as quickly as possible in order to minimize effort and energy expenditure if at all possible. While this match cannot be billed as a potential classic, it is exactly the type of match where Conte’s class as a manager will be required to approach the match in the right manner, both as a stand-alone entity and as a single component of the entire season.
The South American duo of Matias Vecino and Lautaro Martinez can both be expected to sit this one out, owing to their arduous trips back from international duty and El Toro’s possible minor injury. Stefan Di Vrij has reportedly completely recovered from his fitness issue and will probably make his season’s debut as well. Another possible but less likely debutant will be Valentin Lazaro on the right flank.
Probable line-up (3-5-2): Handanovic (C); Godin, Di Vrij, Skriniar; Lazaro, Barella, Brozovic, Sensi, Asamoah; Lukaku, Sanchez.
Last Season: Inter 1-0 Udinese
Last 10 Head to Head: Inter have clearly dominated the head to head record over the Zebretti having won seven times and lost just twice. Interestingly, and perhaps a bit ominously, Udinese’s two wins have come when playing away at San Siro.
Keep an Eye on
Nicolo Barella: Barella has been Italy’s standout player against Finland in the Azzurri’s crucial Euro qualifier. As the young Italian learns and adapts to Conte’s demanding system one can expect him to play an increasingly important role in the midfield.
Barella’s contribution to the squad can not only be vital, his skill-set means he offers something no other midfielder on the roster can. A home game against Udinese can be the perfect platform from which Barella can properly launch his Inter career.
Referee: Maurizio Mariani.
Assistants: Liberti and Cecconi.
Fourth Official: Abisso.
VAR Assistants: Guida and Fiorito.
Prediction & Concluding Remarks
Prediction & goalscorers: Inter 2 – 0 Udinese. A straightforward controlled win with Lukaku and Sanchez on the scoresheet.
With the Champions League curtain raiser on Tuesday night, expect Inter to go for maximum result with minimum effort. Conte’s men will most certainly go all in for the win, but once the result is secure, expect Inter to put the offense on the back-burner and look to see out the game with minimal effort expended.