Preview – Inter vs Fiorentina: A Must-Win Match In The Race For The 2nd Spot
Despite the Scudetto race being all but over, Inter still have plenty to play for as they host tricky Fiorentina. Match today Wednesday at 21:45 CET.
Having just played the match against Roma on Sunday night, Inter have a quick turnaround yet again as they host Fiorentina midweek. Thankfully, the match will be played at the Meazza and will not require the Nerazzurri to traverse the peninsula to face their opponents.
Despite this match’s importance and consequence, Antonio Conte is widely expected to rotate his team in dramatic fashion as the tactician tries to manage his players’ fitness during the final stretch of the season. Expect both first-choice wide men Ashley Young and Antonio Candreva to be replaced by Cristiano Biraghi and Victor Moses respectively.
In Conte’s pre-match press conference, he spoke extensively about the role of the trequartista in the side, and the implications of playing with a dedicated creative chance maker in the final third. While Christian Eriksen is expected to start the match, do not be surprised if the Dane makes way for ex-Viola player Borja Valero.
Under Beppe Iachini, Fiorentina had stemmed the mid-season loss of points. The no nonsense Italian veteran has stabilized the side and ensured that they will continue playing top-flight football next season. He has rebuilt the team’s confidence, starting with the basics.
Fiorentina now visit San Siro as a team high in confidence after racking up two consecutive wins, but also, as a team with a clear identity and a strong midfield and attack, built around the impressive trio of Gaetano Castrovilli, Erick Pulgar and Rachid Ghezzal.
The dangers posed by the visitors’ attack are well documented, with any of Franck Ribery, Federico Chiesa or Patrick Cutrone able to change the flow of a match in a blink of an eye, particularly Ribery and Chiesa who both play in the dangerous wide-forward roles that have tormented Inter’s defenses all season long. That said, one might expect Iachini to deploy only two if the three players, opting for midfield solidity over attacking flair.
It seems likely that for the first time in a long time, Inter’s midfield might not be fully decimated by injury. The return of Nicolo Barella alongside (almost) Marcelo Brozovic brought back a measure of physicality and balance to the side. Midfielders Stefano Sensi and Matias Vecino are both still out injured, with the former nearing recovery and the latter’s season over after recently undergoing surgical intervention on his meniscus.
Probable line-up (3-4-1-2): Handanovic (C); Godin, de Vrij, Skriniar; Biraghi, Gagliardini, Brozovic, Moses; Eriksen; Sanchez, Lukaku.
Last Season: Inter 2 – 1 Fiorentina
Last 10 Head to Head: Despite Fiorentina holding a slight advantage of four wins to Inter’s three, it might be worth noting that the Viola lost the previous two visits to the Meazza.
Keep an Eye on
Alexis Sanchez: Inter’s most impressive player since the return has been the continent’s second best assist maker. He has consistently put in man of the match performance after performance. It seems likely that the Chilean forward’s fitness has benefited from the long layoff that kept him out of the team for a good chunk of the regular season.
Referee: Piero Giacomelli.
Assistants: Fiorito and Villa.
Fourth Official: Doveri.
VAR: Banti and Schenone.
Prediction & Concluding Remarks
Prediction & scorers: Inter 2-0 Fiorentina. Brozovic and Sanchez to score.
Concluding remarks: Inter still have everything to play for and prove, while Fiorentina have nothing to play for. As a side full of free flowing attacking players, it is perhaps this feeling no pressure that might make the visitors so dangerous.