San Siro, Milan
Sunday 26th April, 2015, 18:45 GMT
Two of Italian football’s most successful clubs meet on Saturday evening, as Inter Milan welcome Roma to San Siro. The visitors will move up to second in the Serie A table with a victory, while only three points would be enough to keep alive the Nerazzurri’s fading hopes of qualifying for Europe. Roma know they must rediscover the fighting spirit which helped them finish in second place last season as they hit the home stretch in Serie A.The Giallorossi travel to the San Siro to face Inter Milan on Saturday having won just two of their last eight league games. Rudi Garcia’s side missed a chance to reclaim second place last weekend after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Atalanta. The result left Roma level on 58 points with city rivals Lazio, who stand second on goal difference. Second place is important because it would ensure direct qualification for the Champions League, with third earning a place in the qualifying stage.
Roma will face a stern test against an Inter side who have kept a clean sheet in their last two league games.The Nerazzurri followed their 3-0 triumph at Hellas Verona with a goalless draw against AC Milan in last weekend’s derby. Inter are 10th in the standings, seven points adrift of the last European qualifying spot.
Team news and tactics
It has been a disappointing campaign for Inter, who are heading towards their fourth straight season without winning a trophy and they may not even qualify for the Europa League. They are a lowly 10th in the league table and with seven games of the season left to play they are seven points away from the final qualifying spot. For a club of their stature, it really is unacceptable and instead of looking upwards they may have a battle on their hands to secure a finish in the top half, with Palermo breathing down their necks. On far too many occasions they have failed to turn their dominance in games into points, and it was the same story last weekend as they played out a frustrating goalless draw with city rivals AC Milan.
Marcelo Brozovic and Fredy Guarin missed the derby due to suspension, but they are expected to return to the starting XI. On the other hand, Gary Medel is sidelined, which means Brozovic will feature in front of the defence. They were by far the better team and were left furious with the referee at the end of the match, after he had disallowed an own goal by Philippe Mexes for an alleged foul in the build-up from Rodrigo Palacio. Their attacking prowess is not usually called into question, as they have scored 46 goals in the league this season, with only Juventus, Lazio and Napoli finding the net more often. It is at the back where they have suffered and they have managed to keep just five clean sheets at home all campaign.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2):Handanovic(Gk); Santon, Ranocchia, Vidic, Juan Jesus; Guarin, Gnoukouri, Brozovic; Hernanes; Palacio, Icardi;
Roma may be well placed to finish inside the top three this season, but they are not sitting as comfortably as they were just a few weeks ago. They have drawn their last two matches and now Napoli have closed to within five pints of them in the table, as the battle for the final Champions League spot looks like going all the way. The Giallorossi have not been losing many games, but they have drawn 10 of their previous 15 in the league, which has helped to destroy any hopes they had of challenging for the title.
Davide Astori is banned for Roma, so Kostas Manolas should return to take his place at the heart of the defence. They are still without the injured Gervinho, but Daniele De Rossi is available after missing out last weekend. They just can’t seem to hang on to the lead and their meeting with Atalanta BC last weekend was another great example. Francesco Totti had put them in a great position by scoring from a third-minute penalty, but a spot kick from German Denis earned the visitors a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico. However, a victory on Saturday evening would lift them up to second and above Lazio in the table, while piling on the pressure for Napoli and Sampdoria, who go head to head the following day.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3):De Sanctis(Gk); Torosidis, Manolas, Yanga-Mbiwa, Holebas; De Rossi, Nainggolan, Keita; Florenzi, Totti, Gervinho;
- Inter have drawn their last 3 home matches in Serie A.
- Roma are undefeated in 20 of their last 21 matches in Serie A.
- Roma are undefeated in 10 of their last 11 matches against Inter in all competitions.
Players to Watch Out For
Hernanes (Inter Milan)
Hernanes impressed against Milan so he’ll probably have another chance to show what he is capable of playing behind Palacio and Icardi.
Roma will probably play with Gervinho from the very first minute and he will be the main threat for Inter Milan.
Inter Milan 2a 2 AS Roma
Inter put in a slightly better performance than their opponents in the derby, but could not manage to gain all 3 points, and they now sit 7 points from the Europa League qualification spots. Roma had a good chance to leapfrog Lazio into 2nd, but they threw away a 1-0 lead against Atalanta and succumbed to a draw to only move level on points with their cross-town rivals. Neither of these two sides have played well of late, but while Inter have been average this season, Roma are still struggling to retain their Champions League spot. Defeat here would probably put an end to any hope Inter have to get back in the race for a top 6 finish, so expect a tense match in which neither side will want to concede easy chances.
Blast From the Past
The Giallorossi conquered the San Siro in an impressive fashion, winning 3-0 last season.