Inter Milan will be hoping to end their 2019/20 Serie A campaign on a positive note when they face Atalanta on Saturday.
It has been an unlucky yet a promising campaign for Inter Milan. They have shown clear signs of improvement under Antonio Conte despite missing out on the league title to Juventus. Heading into the final matchday, the Italian giants are trailing the champions by four points.
On Saturday, however, they will have the chance to extend their winning run to three games when they travel to the Gewiss Stadium to face Atalanta. A win in this fixture can not only help Inter Milan finish their 2019/20 campaign on a positive note but will serve as a confidence booster, ahead of their Europa League clash against Getafe next week.
Atalanta, meanwhile, are one of the most in-form teams in Italy at the moment. La Dea have sensationally retained their unbeaten record since January, meaning they are yet to taste a defeat in any of their 19 games in all competitions. They are also in a position to overtake their weekend opponents and potentially finish the campaign as runners-up.
Indeed, there are lot of possibilities within the second to fourth place in the league table, with second-placed Inter leading fourth-placed Lazio only by a point. That means both these clubs are hoping Lazio drop points against Napoli, which would enable them to secure second place with just a victory.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this enticing encounter as the 2019/20 edition of Serie A comes to a close this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Gian Piero Gasperini will welcome Rafael Toloi back into the starting lineup as he returns from suspension. The Brazilian should replace the injured Jose Luis Palomino at centre-back, where he will be partnered by Mattia Caldara and Berat Djimsiti, who might get the nod ahead of the young Bosko Sutalo.
Timothy Castagne and Robin Gosens are pretty much-guaranteed starters in the wing-back slots, even though Gasperini does have the option to start with Hans Hateboer on the right.
There might not be any changes in central midfield either, with Maarten de Roon and Remo Freuler forming the double-pivot. They should get the nod ahead of Adrian Tameze. Same can be said for goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini, who will be looking for his ninth clean sheet of the campaign.
Gasperini does have options in the final third. But he is likely to stick with Mario Pasalic operating in the number ten role, just behind the two central strikers in Alejandro Gomez and Duvan Zapata. Luis Muriel is another option for Atalanta, who are missing out on the services of star player Josip Ilicic due to injury.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Gollini; Toloi, Caldara, Djimsiti; Castagne, de Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pasalic; Zapata, Gomez
Much like Atalanta, Inter Milan will also welcome the return of one of their star players from suspension in the shape of Roberto Gagliardini. He should form the double-pivot alongside the ever-present figure of Marcelo Brozovic. However, Borja Valero and Lucien Agoume are potential options should Conte opt to shuffle the pack.
Unfortunately, the Italian would have had more ground for rotation had it not been for the injuries of key midfielders like Stefano Sensi and Matias Vecino.
Nevertheless, there will be changes in the wing-back slots, with Ashley Young replacing Cristiano Biraghi on the left flank. Victor Moses is pushing for a start on the opposite flank, but we expect Antonio Candreva to retain his place in the side.
The same cannot be said for Danilo D’Ambrosio and Alessandro Bastoni, however. Both will be replaced by the returning duo of Milan Skriniar and Diego Godin. They will form the three-man backline alongside Stefan de Vrij, with Samir Handanovic starting in between the sticks.
And finally, Lautaro Martinez is set to return to the side once again, at the expense of in-form Alexis Sanchez. The Argentine should spearhead the Inter Milan attack alongside top-scorer Romelu Lukaku, with Christian Eriksen replacing Borja Valero in the number ten role.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Handanovic; Godin, de Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Brozovic, Gagliardini, Young; Eriksen; Lukaku, Martinez
- Atalanta are the highest scorers in Serie A this season, scoring a whopping 98 goals.
- Half (49) of Atalanta’s goals this season have come from the offensive trio of Ilicic, Zapata and Muriel.
- Inter Milan have the meanest defence in the league this season, conceding only 36 times.
- Atalanta are undefeated in 9 of their last 10 home matches against Inter in all competitions.
- Inter Milan have kept a clean sheet in four of their last five league matches.
Player to Watch
Martinez was the hero for Inter in their win over Napoli in midweek. The Argentine appeared from the bench to score an important second-half goal to seal all three points for his side. But, with the player seemingly being linked with a move to Barcelona, this could very well be his last league game for Inter.
From a tactical perspective, however, Martinez’s ability to drift in-between space, combined with his willingness to test the goalkeeper should cause problems for an Atalanta side, who have looked susceptible at the back this season.
A lot could depend on how Gasperini’s side plan to defend against the talented Argentine as they should be well aware of his dynamism and skill in the final third. Atalanta have a great chance of preventing the Inter Milan attack if they can minimise the influence of Martinez this weekend.
Atalanta 1-1 Inter Milan
With just one point separating the two sides, this could be a fascinating game for multiple reasons. For one, it will be interesting to see how Gasperini’s attack-minded approach clash with the more resilient and organised Inter Milan side, coached by Conte – a stickler of manners. It could, unfortunately, make the game rather stale. So, we’re expecting a 1-1 draw, with both sides sharing the spoils.