Going into the international break Inter Milan was flying high and coming up with clutch wins one after the other against top competition to take a strangle hold on the Scudetto race.
Now they sit 6 points clear at the top of the table with a match in hand over next closest challengers AC Milan. Under normal circumstances, the club and fans alike would have been complaining about the international break arriving when it did.
But like everything else during Covid times, this is not normal circumstances. Just prior to the break, Antonio Conte learned several key players would be unavailable for an indeterminate time due to positive Coronavirus tests.
Unlike some other clubs through the season, Inter were fortunate enough to have their match against Sassuolo postponed.
With the international break compounding the team’s break, players have been given the opportunity to get healthy. All that’s left to see is if a 3+ week break interrupted the club’s form.
Bologna FC vs Inter Milan, Saturday April 3rd, Stadio Renaot Dall’Ara, kickoff 20:45 CET
Inter Milan vs US Sassuolo, Wednesday April 7th, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, kickoff 18:45
First Team Fitness:
Arturo Vidal: Two weeks prior to the international break, news came out that the Chilean midfielder would be undergoing a knee surgery to address an issue with his meniscus.
The timeline widely reported at that time was that he would be sidelined for 2 to 4 weeks with a chance to return against Bologna. Per Tuttosport’s print edition earlier this week, it seems he has completed his rehab and is set to return to the squad.
His presence will be welcome. Despite underperforming this season, he is a talented player who will provide much needed cover in the midfield for a team about to play 6 matches in 23 days.
Chances of him starting against Bologna are slim but he likely will get some burn in that match to get his legs underneath him. He could be a potential starter midweek against Sassuolo
Stefan de Vrij, Matias Vecino & Danilo D’Ambrosio: The players who tested positive on their Covid-19 tests. This season the Dutch defender has been a top 5 defender in the world and his presence has been an anchor for Conte’s back 3 this season.
Losing him for any period of time would have been a blow for the team, especially since D’Ambrosio, the usual first choice defender to spell the normal starters, was also going to be sidelined at the same time.
As it stands these players are still not available for the match at Bologna, but they still could become available any day. But for the time being Andrea Ranocchia is likely to get a starting nod.
Samir Handanovic: Was the first Inter player to test positive but has since then tested negative just like Stefan de Vrij.
However unlike the Dutchman, the Nerazzurri captain is expected to start between the sticks away at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.