Inter Milan will resume their 2019-20 Serie A campaign this weekend as they get ready to host Sampdoria at San Siro on Sunday.

After a three-month hiatus due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Serie A finally returns to action this weekend as Torino face off against Parma in the first game of the restart. On Sunday, title contenders Inter Milan will take on UC Sampdoria at San Siro.

Inter have had a roller-coaster of a season so far under Antonio Conte. They brought in several players like Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Diego Godin among others as part of their squad overhaul. Things have taken a turn for the better under Conte, as the club went from a 4th place finish, 21 points adrift of champions Juventus to challenging for the title this campaign.

The Milan outfit travelled to Turin to face off against Juventus before the shutdown but were put down by second-half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Paulo Dybala. This result saw them fall eight points adrift of SS Lazio in second and nine off Juventus in first, although they have a game in hand.

Before this weekend’s return in Serie A, Inter took part in the Coppa Italia semi-finals second-leg, facing Napoli last week. The Partenopei had gone into the game with a 1-0 lead from the first leg and were able to hold off Conte’s men to a 1-1 draw subsequently knocking them out on aggregate.

Rollercoaster of a season.(Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

Rollercoaster of a season.(Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images)

Quite like Inter, Sampdoria, too, are stuck in a race, but on the opposite end of the table, trying to shrug off relegation. At the moment, Sampdoria sit 16th, a mere one point off the drop zone, level on points with Genoa, who are as spot below them.

They have recorded just seven wins this season out of which six are against teams in the bottom half of the table. They were, however, able to record a win when they last played a league game, beating Hellas Verona 2-1.

The reverse fixture ended in defeat for Sampdoria as Inter put three goals past them while conceding just once. Alexis Sanchez, Stefano Sensi and Roberto Gagliardini were on target for the home side, while Sanchez was also sent off shortly into the second half. The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at this fixture.

Team News & Tactics

Inter Milan

Inter's new marksman? (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Inter’s new marksman? (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Antonio Conte has a fully fit squad at his disposal for the restart with the exception of suspended second-choice goalkeeper Daniele Padelli, who picked up a red card against Juventus for foul language from the bench.

Inter are likely to start the game in a 3-4-1-2 formation, with the three-man backline of Diego Godin, Stefan de Vrij and Milan Skriniar screening captain Samir Handanovic. The Italian manager also has a fit Alessandro Bastoni, who is contention to start and could replace Godin in the defensive trio.

The midfield will feature Nicolo Barella and Marcelo Brozovic in a double pivot with the former getting more chances to get forward to join the attack as Brozovic holds the fort from defensive midfield. There are multiple players to choose from for the wing-back positions, but Antonio Candreva and Ashley Young are expected to provide width from the right and left, respectively.

Christian Eriksen is expected to retain his position in the attacking midfield role after scoring against Napoli directly from a corner. He will be playing in the hole behind star front duo Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez. Alexis Sanchez is also an option who can fit in nearly anywhere across the front three for Inter Milan, but is expected to start the game on the bench.

Predicted Lineup (3-4-1-2): Handanovic; Godin, de Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Barella, Brozovic, Young; Eriksen; Lukaku, Martinez

Sampdoria

Sampdoria, too, face barely any injury issues for this fixture barring the absence of defender Alex Ferrari, who suffered an ACL Rupture back in December. Ferrari, though, is targeting a return to action before the season ends.

Midfield pairing Albin Ekbal and Ronaldo Vieira will be facing fitness tests to assess their involvement, but are likely to start in the double pivot in the 4-4-2 formation that Claudio Ranieri has used this season. They will be flanked by Jakub Jankto on the left and Gaston Ramirez on the right

Behind them, Omar Colley and Lorenzo Tonelli will start the game at the heart of the Sampdoria defence in the absence of Ferrari. Bartosz Bereszynski and Nicola Mirru will provide width from the back-line. The Sampdoria full-backs have had an underwhelming season and have been directly involved in a grand total of 0 goals between them.

Like fine wine. (Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images)

Like fine wine. (Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images)

The back four will guard Emil Audero, who has managed to keep seven clean sheets this term – the joint third highest in the league. The Italian has managed to singlehandedly pull Sampdoria through in several games this season including a bizarre performance against AC Milan, when the game ended 0-0.

Up top, Sampdoria will feature Manolo Gabbiadini and the Golden Boot winner from last season, Fabio Quagliarella. The 37-year-old registered 26 goals last season and has scored nine this season for the Blucerchiati. He is their top-scorer followed by partner in crime Gabbiadini.

Probably Lineup (4-4-2): Audero; Bereszynski, Tonelli, Colley, Murru; Ramirez, Vieira, Ekdal, Jankto; Gabbiadini, Quagliarella

Key Stats

  • Inter Milan have won their last five fixtures against Sampdoria, scoring 14 goals and conceding only four.
  • Sampdoria have only won three games against Inter in their history including the double they did over them in the 2016/17 season.
  • There have been no draws in meetings between Antonio Conte and Claudio Ranieri. Conte has won five times in the six games he has faced Ranieri.
  • Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have scored a combined total of 28 goals this campaign, as many as Sampdoria have managed as a whole.
  • The last time a clash between these two sides ended in a draw was way back in 2015, when the scores were tied to a goal apiece.

Player to Watch

Lautaro Martinez

Barca-bound? (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

The key man for Inter Milan. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old striker is having a revelation of a campaign under Antonio Conte after being deployed in his preferred role as the striker, having played in multiple positions across the frontline last season. He has scored 11 goals and provided one assist this term and is averaging a goal every 150 minutes for the club.

Martinez has not scored or assisted in his previous five games in all competitions, but despite that, he has not been dropped because of his relentless pressing, and commitment to winning. He will be looking to get back on the scoresheet as the Serie A returns after a three-month break, giving Barcelona all the more reason to pursue him.

Prediction

Inter Milan 3-0 Sampdoria

Inter Milan will be extra motivated to get back to winning ways after being knocked out in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia by eventual champions Napoli last week. On top of that, they will look to cut down the gap between themselves and the top two in the division with a win against Sampdoria.

It might not be a free-flowing game which will be understandable after a three-month break, but we might get to see Inter score a couple of goals against a defensively frail Sampdoria. We are expecting the Nerazzurri to put the pressure on SS Lazio, who will face a tough opposition in Atalanta on Wednesday.

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