Inter Milan will be hoping to extend their winning run to nine games in Serie A when they lock horns with Sampdoria on Wednesday.
High-flying Inter Milan travel to Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Wednesday as they play Sampdoria. The Nerazzurri are the most in-form team in Serie A right now, having registered eight back-to-back wins since their draw with Atalanta back in early November. Their impressive form in the league has seen them create quite a gap between the second and third place in the league table.
However, Inter are still yet to overtake their arch-rivals AC Milan in the standings. The Rossoneri are heading into this matchday with a slender one-point lead – something they’ve managed to maintain for quite some time now. But, with Stefano Pioli’s men facing defending champions Juventus on the same day, Inter will have the opportunity to pull in front for the first time this season.
Sampdoria, on the other hand, are currently dawdling in the mid-table zone. And unlike Inter, their recent form in the domestic competition has been far from impressive. In fact, they have secured only two victories in their last 11 matches, one of which came against bottom club Crotone.
The Blucerchiati, therefore, are running the risk of sinking further down the league table, should they fail to salvage any point from this game. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this crucial encounter in the Serie A this midweek.
Team News & Tactics
Sampdoria will be boosted by the return of Keita Balde Diao heading into this encounter, with the attacker back from suspension. However, Albin Ekdal has been ruled out after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, in the game against AS Roma. The hosts are also missing Manolo Gabbiadini and Alex Ferrari through injury.
The absence of Ekdal means Adrien Silva could receive a berth in the starting lineup, alongside Morten Thorsby in central midfield as Claudio Ranieri shifts back to a traditional 4-4-2. It means on-loan Inter Milan man Antonio Candreva and Jakub Jankto should continue on the flanks, with the former hoping to make an impression against his parent club.
In defence, Ranieri could recall Bartosz Bereszynski into the starting lineup. The Pole should replace Maya Yoshida at right-back, thus joining the likes of Lorenzo Tonelli, Omar Colley and Tommaso Augello in the Sampdoria backline. Emil Audero is another guaranteed starter, in between the sticks.
And finally, in the offensive department, Keita Balde should conveniently slot in alongside Fabio Quagliarella in the two-man Sampdoria attack. Antonino La Gumina is a potential alternative for Ranieri.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Audero; Bereszynski, Tonelli, Colley, Augello; Candreva, Silva, Thorsby, Jankto; Quagliarella, Keita
Romelu Lukaku is a major doubt for Inter Milan in this fixture, despite recent reports suggesting no signs of an injury. In fact, it won’t be surprising to see Antonio Conte resting the Belgian international for this match, thus paving the way for Alexis Sanchez to spearhead the Inter Milan attacking alongside Lautaro Martinez.
With his side playing three games a week, Conte could be tempted to make changes elsewhere as well. Especially in the wing-back department, Matteo Darmian could replace Ashley Young on the left flank while in midfield, Arturo Vidal is almost guaranteed to make way for Roberto Gagliardini, after a poor performance at the weekend.
It remains unlikely that the ex-Chelsea boss will want to tinker with his tried and tested three-man backline, however. So we should once again witness Milan Skriniar, Alessandro Bastoni and Stefan de Vrij providing cover for goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
The likes of Ivan Perisic, Aleksandar Kolarov and Stefano Sensi are also viable options for Conte, should he opt to make more rotations to the side that beat Crotone in the last game. One of them, at least, is likely to be introduced as a second-half substitute as the Inter Milan boss looks to keep his troops fresh and safe.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Gagliardini, Darmian; Sanchez, Martinez
- Inter have won each of their last six Serie A games against Sampdoria; only in 1951 have the Nerazzurri recorded seven consecutive wins against the Blucerchiati in the competition.
- The last draw between Inter and Sampdoria in Serie A was back in October 2015. Since then, there have been seven Nerazzurri wins against two for the Blucerchiati.
- After a streak of seven games between 2015 and 2018, in which they had picked up only one point, Inter have won each of their last six Serie A matches played at Ferraris stadium against Sampdoria and Genoa.
- Sampdoria have scored in each of their last 15 Serie A games at Ferraris stadium; the last time they had a longer such streak on home soil in the top-flight was back in 1994.
- Inter have won each of their last eight league games – in their Serie A history, only between October 2006 and February 2007 have they recorded a longer such streak: 17.
Player to Watch
Antonio Candreva is definitely the one to watch out for as he tussles against his parent club Inter Milan this midweek. Indeed, the veteran joined Sampdoria on a season-long loan deal in the summer and hasn’t disappointed either, having been involved in five goals in just 12 matches.
In fact, Candreva is one of Sampdoria’s creator-in-chiefs and his contributions on the flanks could be critical as the hosts look to end Inter Milan’s excellent winning run in Serie A. As for the player himself, this game will serve as an opportunity for him to make an impression, especially against Matteo Darmian, who was initially brought in as his replacement.
Sampdoria 1-3 Inter Milan
Sampdoria have fared poorly in recent weeks and that is unlikely to change, especially against an Inter Milan side who are in red hot form at the moment. Although the Nerazzurri are likely to play without Romelu Lukaku, they have more than enough firepower to trouble the hosts this midweek. We are thus expecting a comfortable 3-1 victory for the visitors.