Welcome back everyone from what felt like a long, long international break. Our main focus, of course, is on Sassuolo versus Inter on Sunday. It is an interesting match up, with Sassuolo being a bit of a “bogey” team for Inter.
In the past, the Nerazzuri have come up against the Neroverdi 12 times, 6 home and 6 away, and their record isn’t great. Inter have come away with 4 wins against Sassuolo’s 7. Inter have definitely had a difficult time beating the side from Emilia-Romagna, although they do boast two 7-0 wins over them.
Looking ahead, this will definitely be an interesting match, mainly to see if Conte has managed to instill something in his squad in order to break this duck. Inter are still in decent league form, even after their 2-1 defeat to Juventus in their last match, sitting in 2nd place in the league, 1 point behind the Bianconeri.
Sassuolo on the other hand have not had a great time of it so far. They are sitting 16th in the league, with only two victories to their name so far. Sassuolo are also coming off the back of a heavy 4-1 defeat against Atalanta right before the break.
Lets dive into some stats and get an idea of how this match might pan out.
Inter’s number this season are reading pretty well to be fair. On the offensive side it’s nothing really special, but they are averaging 2 goals a game and an xG of 1.65. This isn’t too bad, but it’s definitely something that could be improved, if Conte wishes to go down that route. They do keep a hold of the ball pretty well, averaging 57% possession per match, and a pass accuracy of 88% (547 passes per game). This is pretty much textbook for Antonio Conte’s style, and now we are 7 matches into the season, we are starting to get a really good picture of how the team is shaping up.
Sassuolo are almost identical to Inter on the possession side of the game, but they are averaging 1.83 goals per game and an xG of 1.14. Expect Sassuolo to sit pretty deep against Inter on Sunday, even though they are playing at their home ground. I am a fan of Roberto De Zerbi since he has done tremendous work with his squad, and I fully believe he can motivate his side to give it everything on Sunday, especially to make up for their crushing defeat in their last fixture.
Now this is where you can see Conte’s work come to light. Inter have the best defense in the league, so far. They have only conceded 4 goals, 2 of which came in their last match against Juventus. They are averaging 0.57 goals against per game and an xGA of 0.87. This shows how well Inter are at pressing high up the field and winning the ball back before the opponents attack can come to any real chance of scoring. It really is a testament to how well organised the back three are especially.
Sassuolo seem to be leaking goals against them at the moment. They have the 5th highest goals against in the league, only slightly lower than the 4 clubs below them in the table. They are currently averaging 2 goals against per game, and an xGA of 1.67. Something seems wrong with De Zerbi’s system this year. It could be that they are missing Stefano Sensi, who has ironically been so creative for Inter this season and has established himself as a very important player. They need a player to create something for Caputo or Berardi to latch onto, both of which have been the only glimmer of hope for De Zerbi so far.
All things considered, expect an Inter win this weekend, but for the fact that they have struggled to negotiate their way past Sassuolo in the past, so it will definitely be an interesting one to watch. Can Inter finally beat their “bogey” team?
Key Player for Inter this week is Romelu Lukaku. He is coming off a strong International break, where he scored 2 goals and 1 assist in Belgiums 9-0 win over San Marino. Reports have also been coming through that he has now shaken off his injury that has been hindering him for a few weeks, and I expect to see him at his best this weekend.
Domenico Berardi is the key player for the Neroverdi, and in the past he has been an enigma. Always showing a lot of potential, then suddenly everything will go quiet around him. This season however, he has undoubtedly been Sassuolo’s most important player. He scored 5 goals in his first 2 games, and got an assist in his third.
The last three matches however he has gone a bit cold, but Berardi is a self confessed Interista, and so expect him to show his best qualities in this match.