Inter Milan will be aiming to get back to winning ways when they lock horns with Fiorentina at Stadio Artemio Franchi on Friday night.
Inter Milan will have a great chance to move to the top of the standings when they battle it out against rivals Fiorentina in Matchweek 21 of the 2020/21 Serie A on Friday.
Inter Milan are currently second in the table, just two points below league leaders and arch-rivals AC Milan. And with the Rossoneri scheduled to play on Sunday, Antonio Conte’s men could usurp the top spot with a victory at the Artemio Franchi. The Nerazzurri head into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Juventus in the Coppa Italia and will be keen to produce a strong reaction come Friday.
Fiorentina, meanwhile, have had an underwhelming campaign, as they sit 11th in the table, with just five wins from 20 games so far. The Viola have won just one of their last four games in all competitions (D1 L2), with their latest outing ending in a 1-1 draw against Torino at the weekend. Cesare Prandelli’s side will be aiming to string together a good run of results and break into the top half of the table.
The reverse fixture at San Siro saw Inter Milan come back from behind to pick up a 4-3 win in a thrilling encounter. The two teams also clashed in the Coppa Italia last month, with the Nerazzurri winning 2-1. And ahead of their latest contest, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at this encounter.
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Fiorentina will have to make do without the services of Nikola Milenkovic and Gaetano Castrovilli, with the duo suspended for the contest. Apart from that, manager Cesare Prandelli has no other concerns with respect to his squad ahead of Inter Milan’s visit.
The Viola will line up in a 3-5-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski. The three-man central defensive unit ought to comprise of Lucas Martinez Quarta, German Pezzella and Igor, who will look to keep the Inter Milan forwards quiet.
Martin Caceres and former Inter Milan man Cristiano Biraghi should be the two wing-backs on the right and left sides respectively. The latter is likely to push forward on a constant basis, while Caceres might look to operate closer to the centre-backs.
Erick Pulgar ought to sit the deepest of the three central midfielders from where he will look to keep Inter Milan’s creative output at a minimum. Support will come from Sofyan Amrabat while Giacomo Bonaventura will look to provide the forward thrust from the centre.
Franck Ribery and Dusan Vlahovic ought to be the two forwards, with the veteran given a free role to roam around the final third while Vlahovic will provide more of a focal point at the top.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Dragowski; Quarta, Pezzella, Igor; Caceres, Amrabat, Pulgar, Bonaventura, Biraghi; Vlahovic, Ribery
Inter Milan will be boosted by the return of both Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi after the duo missed the cup tie earlier in the week due to suspension. Antonio Conte, thus, has no injury or suspension concerns ahead of the trip to Florence on Friday.
The Nerazzurri are likely to make a few alterations to the team that took the field against Juventus. No changes are expected between the sticks, however, with Samir Handanovic the undisputed starter. The first-choice centre-back partnership of Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni should also feature, despite the Italian international’s howler in the last game.
The returning Hakimi should replace Matteo Darmian at right wing-back while Ivan Perisic should also get the nod ahead of Ashley Young on the left, with the duo providing the width during the attacking phases.
Nicolo Barella is a certainty in the middle of the park from where he will act as the primary creator for the visitors. Marcelo Brozovic will sit deep and look to break up play before helping launch attacks while Arturo Vidal should start as the third central midfielder.
The returning Lukaku should walk right back into the starting XI. He is likely to replace Lautaro Martinez, with Alexis Sanchez retaining his place as he will be suspended for the cup tie next week.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Vidal, Perisic; Lukaku, Sanchez
- Having beaten Fiorentina in the reverse fixture, Inter Milan have the chance to do a league double over Fiorentina for the first time since 2013/14.
- Fiorentina are without a victory in their last seven Serie A meetings against Inter Milan (D4 L3), having won five of their previous six (L1).
- Inter Milan have kept a clean sheet in their last three Serie A fixtures.
- Fiorentina have the fewest point tally (22) at this stage of a Serie A season since 2001/02 when they were relegated.
- Inter are undefeated in 15 of their last 16 away matches in Serie A.
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Friday night will be a memorable occasion for Lukaku as he could be set to make his 50th start in the Serie A for Inter Milan. The 27-year-old has already plundered 20 goals in 26 games in all competitions this term, 14 of them coming in the league – just one shy of top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo (15).
Back after missing the important game against Juventus due to suspension, the 27-year-old will be raring to make a strong impression and help his side move to the top of the standings. Currently on 298 career goals, the Belgian could be set for another huge milestone on Friday night if he gets firing and scores a brace.
Fiorentina 0-2 Inter Milan
Fiorentina haven’t been able to string together a run of positive results and have come up short against Inter Milan already twice this season. The Nerazzurri, despite losing in midweek against Juventus, have been in fine form in the Serie A, putting in solid displays that has seen them keep three consecutive clean sheets.
Furthermore, they will be boosted by the return of Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, which ought to make a difference in the attacking side of things. That is why, The Hard Tackle predicts Antonio Conte & co. to come away with three points from Florence.