Inter Milan will be looking to dislodge Juventus from the top of the Serie A table when they face off against Genoa at home this weekend.
Inter Milan will be aiming to return to winning ways and reclaim the top spot in the 2019-20 Serie A standings when they lock horns with relegation battlers Genoa at San Siro on Saturday evening.
Inter Milan are without a win in their last three matches across all competitions (D2 L1), with their most recent fixture ending in a 1-1 draw against Fiorentina. With Juventus winning in midweek, Antonio Conte’s men slipped down to the second spot in the Serie A table and will be needing a win in order to end the year as the league leaders.
Genoa find themselves at the opposite end of the table, occupying the 19th spot with just 11 points from 16 matches so far. Thiago Motta’s side haven’t won a single game in Serie A since beating Brescia in October (D3 L4), with their latest game ending in a 1-0 defeat to Sampdoria. They will be hoping to get away with at least a point from San Siro this week.
Inter had won both their games against Genoa last season, scoring nine goals without reply. And ahead of Saturday’s clash, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Inter will be without the services of key players Marcelo Brozovic and Lautaro Martinez for the game, which comes as a major blow. Antonio Candreva, though, is expected to be fit and available for the weekend game having recovered from a back problem. Borja Valero is also likely to available after picking up an injury in the previous game.
Stefano Sensi and Roberto Gagliardini are doubts for the game, though. Alexis Sanchez and Nicolo Barella remain sidelined until next month. Conte is expected to set his team up in the 3-5-2 formation that he has used all season.
In goal, Inter captain Samir Handanovic is a certainty to start. Milan Skriniar, who has had problems in recent weeks, ought to continue in the three-man backline alongside Stefan de Vrij and veteran defender Diego Godin, who did not start against Fiorentina last time out.
Danilo D’Ambrosio and Cristiano Biraghi ought to be the two wing-backs on the right and left sides respectively, while Matias Vecino and Valero should start in the middle of the park. Teenager Lucien Agoume, who made his Serie A debut against Fiorentina, could be set for his first start on Saturday, coming in for the suspended Brozovic.
Romelu Lukaku is a guaranteed starter in attack, but with Martinez suspended, Sebastiano Esposito could be in for a starting berth ahead of Matteo Politano.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Godin, de Vrij, Skriniar; D’Ambrosio, Vecino, Valero, Agoume, Biraghi; Lukaku, Esposito
Genoa, too, have their fair share of injury problems heading into the weekend clash against Inter. Cristian Zapata, Christian Kouame and Lukas Lerager are all ruled out of the contest, while Andrea Favilli and Stefano Sturaro are major doubts as well. Former Inter Milan man Goran Pandev is suspended, but Kevin Agudelo will be back after serving his suspension.
Manager Thiago Motta has fielded a three-man defensive system in recent matches and the former Inter Milan midfielder is expected to stick with the same setup on Saturday. Ionut Radu is the undisputed choice in goal for the Rossoblu, while Davide Biraschi, Cristian Romero and captain Domenico Criscito ought to line up in defence.
Paolo Ghiglione and Marko Pajac should continue as the wing-backs on the right and left sides, flanking the central midfield duo of Lasse Schone and Francesco Cassata. The returning Agudelo ought to slot in as the lone attacking midfielder for the visitors.
With Pandev suspended and Kouame injured, Motta is likely to start with Antonio Sanabria and former Inter Milan youngster Andrea Pinamonti as the two strikers against the Nerazzurri.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Radu; Biraschi, Romero, Criscito; Ghiglione, Schone, Cassata, Pajac; Agudelo; Sanabria, Pinamonti
- Inter Milan have lost only one of their last 32 home Serie A games against Genoa – 1-3 in March 1994 (W24 D7).
- Genoa have lost their last six away Serie A games against Inter, scoring only one goal during this period. It is the current longest streak of consecutive defeats on the road for the Rossoblu against a single opponent.
- Inter (1) and Genoa (13) are the teams to have conceded the fewest and the most goals respectively from set-pieces in the current Serie A campaign.
- Genoa have won just 11 points this season: seven of the last eight teams to have collected 11 points or fewer after 16 Serie A matchdays have gone on to be relegated at the end of the season.
- Should they beat Genoa, Inter will have 42 points. On the three previous occasions the Nerazzurri have gained as many points after 17 Serie matchdays in the three points for a win era, they have gone on to win the title – in 2006-07, in 2007-08 and in 2008-09.
Player to Watch
The 17-year-old forward is one of the most highly-rated prospects coming through the Inter youth setup. Esposito broke into the senior team under Conte mostly due to necessity, and while he is yet to score or assist a goal, the teenager has shown enough potential in his six appearances to convince the manager to make him a full-fledged first-team member moving forward.
Already courting interest from European bigwigs like Liverpool, Manchester City and PSG, Esposito is set to get an opportunity to start his first game for the Nerazzurri on Saturday owing to Lautaro Martinez’s suspension. And he will be hoping to make a strong impression against Genoa.
Inter Milan 1-0 Genoa
Inter enter their last league game of 2019 with a number of injury concerns. And the absence of Lautaro Martinez will be a major blow, as they look to end their three-game winless run and move to the summit of the table. Genoa, too, have been hit with a spate of injuries, which coupled with their poor form, will make things much harder for them.
It is likely to be a tight encounter at San Siro on Saturday, with goal-scoring chances coming at a premium. However, Antonio Conte’s men should have enough in the tank to see off the visitors and claim a narrow victory to knock Juventus off their perch and reclaim the top spot for themselves heading into the new year.