Tomorrow, Inter host Cagliari at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milano’s San Siro district in a 12.30 pm CET Lunch time kick-off.
Earlier this season, Inter went to their home ground and took the three points back home, winning 2-1, with goals for Lukaku and Lautaro, and Joao Pedro scoring for the home side. This time, Inter play at home and will be looking for a similar result and keep the pressure on Juventus, who are top of the league with a 4 point gap to second place Inter.
Cagliari meanwhile are in a modest 6th place, the last European spot, but is in jeopardy as they have not won in their last 5 games, 4 defeats and 1 draw.
Inter will be looking to put Cagliari to the sword today, they have scored the 3rd most goals in Serie A, with 41 goals, average 2.05 per game and the 4th best xG per game with 1.84.
Lukaku remains Inter’s top scorer with 14 goals and is being chased by teammate Lautaro who has 10 goals to his name. Cagliari are an interesting case when looking at their attacking stats.
They have scored the 6th most goals in the league, with 35, average 1.75 per game, but surprisingly they have are 17th in the xG table, averaging 1.21 per game.
Their top scorer is Joao Pedro who has 13 goals total. The 27 year old Brazilian forward joined the Rossoblu in 2014, but this is by far the best season he has had so far, and definitely needs to be watched as he has already scored against Inter this season already.
Inter remain the strongest side defensively. They have conceded the least amount of goals letting in 17, average 0.85 per game, and have the second least amount of xG against them averaging 0.85. Inter have only won 2 of their last 5 matches, drawing the other 3. They remain solid defensively but need to be more ruthless when trying to finish a game off, as the foundations are their to be successful.
Cagliari’s main problem is their defence. They have conceded the 7th most goals, 31 total, 1.55 per game and the 5th most xG against them, 1.8 per game.
It is not often to see a side who has conceded so many goals and still being higher in the table than expected. If Cagliari can solidify their defence, then they can definitely challenge for the European spot.
One of the most surprising developments is Inter’s defender Alessandro Bastoni forcing his way into the first team and putting Diego Godin on the bench, which is no mean feat. The 20 year old center back spent last season on loan at Parma, and has impressed in his 11 appearances for Inter this season.
Bastoni is left footed and is very good when bringing the ball out of the defence, which is very useful for the way Conte likes his sides to play. In Inter’s last match, Bastoni came onto the field at the 60th minute and scored to put Inter into the lead. Conte will be looking for more development and working with De vrij and Skriniar can only be a good thing.
Cagliari have a few decent players that can make a difference in the match. Giovanni Simeone joined Cagliari in the summer, on loan from Fiorentina, and his development seems to have hit a standstill. Cagliari is definitely a side where Simeone can get back into his stride, and has scored 5 goals so far this season.
Simeone is a fantastic striker who is lethal when he gets service into the box, and his movement is very clever. The only negative is Simeone is rather small and may struggle against Inter’s tall, strong center backs.
But, should he find himself with the ball at his feet inside Inter’s box, don’t rule out him putting it into the net.
Based on form Inter should win who have won 6 of the last 8 meetings between the two sides, and Cagliari are in a terrible patch of form right now. Conte will be assuring his players that this is a must win, and cannot afford to lose any more ground on Juventus, if they are serious about challenging for the Scudetto.
Cagliari haven’t played European football since 1994, where they got the the semi final of the UEFA Cup, being knocked out by none other than Inter. There is plenty of history between the two sides, and this match has the potential to be a crucial point of each sides season, and both sides need to win this. this will be interesting.