Inter Milan will be aiming to take another step towards lifting the Serie A title when they take on Bologna in Matchweek 29 on Saturday night.
2020/21 Serie A season resumes after the two-week hiatus due to the international break and league leaders Inter Milan will be in action on Saturday when they face off against Bologna at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.
It has been a memorable season for Inter Milan as they look set to end their long-standing trophy drought. Antonio Conte’s men are perched at the top of the league table with a six-point lead and a game in hand over AC Milan in second place. The Nerazzurri’s last match was called off due to a coronavirus outbreak in the squad. Prior to that, they had defeated Torino 2-1, making it 12 games unbeaten in Serie A.
Bologna, meanwhile, are mired in the mid-table muddle, as they occupy 11th place in the standings, following their come-from-behind 3-2 win over Crotone last time out, which made it two back-to-back victories and three wins in five for Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side. A positive result on Saturday against the champions-elect could see the Rossoblu break into the top ten.
The reverse fixture, played in December last year, ended in a 3-1 win for Inter Milan with goals coming from Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi (2) while Emanuel Vignato netted for Bologna. Ahead of their latest meeting on Saturday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
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Bologna will be without the services of Aaron Hickey and Federico Santander, both of whom are out with injuries whereas Rodrigo Palacio misses out with suspension. In addition, Ibrahima Mbaye also misses out for the hosts along with Lukasz Skorupski and Gary Medel.
But Lorenzo De Silvestri is back in contention and has been included in the squad by Sinisa Mihajlovic. The home team will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of goalkeeper Federico Ravaglia, who will fill in for Skorupski.
The 21-year-old will be protected by the backline comprising of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Danilo, Adama Soumaoro and Mitchell Dijks. The full-backs, Tomiyasu and Dijks, are unlikely to venture forward a great deal and keep their positional discipline to guard the team against Inter’s marauding wing-backs.
Jerdy Schouten and Nicolas Dominguez will form the double pivot in the centre of the park to screen the backline and keep a check on Inter Milan’s midfield runners like Nicolo Barella. Roberto Soriano, who is Bologna’s top scorer in Serie A this term, is the undisputed choice in the No. 10 role.
Andreas Skov Olsen, who found the back of the net in the last game, should get the nod over Riccardo Orsolini on the right-wing while Nicola Sansone occupies the left flank. With Palacio unavailable, Musa Barrow, who is reportedly on Real Madrid’s radar, should line up as the centre-forward for Bologna against Inter.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ravaglia; Tomiyasu, Danilo, Soumaoro, Dijks; Schouten, Dominguez; Skov Olsen, Soriano, Sansone; Barrow
The extended break has allowed Inter Milan to welcome back almost all of their sidelined players with the likes of Samir Handanovic, Stefan de Vrij, Matias Vecino all recovering from coronavirus and available for selection. However, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Ivan Perisic and Aleksandar Kolarov are all set to miss out with injuries.
Antonio Conte will set his team up in his preferred 3-5-2 formation with the fit-again Handanovic lining up between the sticks. Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni should be certain starters in the three-man backline but De Vrij is still feeling some after-effects as per the manager and may well be rested, with Andrea Ranocchia coming in for him.
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Achraf Hakimi, who has emerged as a transfer target for Arsenal, is a certain starter at right wing-back while Ashley Young should step in on the left side in place of the unavailable Perisic. The duo will be the primary source of width going forward for Inter, with Hakimi, in particular, set to play a critical role during the attacking phase.
Marcelo Brozovic will sit the deepest in the middle of the park and stop the hosts from breaking on the counter while dictating the tempo. He will have support from Christian Eriksen, who will look to provide the creative essence from the centre of the park while Nicolo Barella will constantly look to make his driving runs forward.
Up top, there is no looking past the deadly strike partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, with Alexis Sanchez providing cover from the bench.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, Ranocchia, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Eriksen, Young; Martinez, Lukaku
- Inter Milan have won their last 8 matches in Serie A.
- Bologna have won only two of their last 13 matches against Inter Milan in Serie (D4 L7). However, both the victories came away from home.
- Inter Milan, meanwhile, have won 12 of their last 15 away matches against Bologna in all competitions.
- Bologna have won their last two league games. Only twice under manager Sinisa Mihajlovic have they managed to win three matches in a row, last doing so in February 2020.
- There have been no drawn games between Inter Milan and Bologna since September 2017. During this period, the Nerazzurri have picked up four wins while the Rossoblu have won a couple of matches.
Player to Watch
The driving force behind Inter Milan’s title push this season, Romelu Lukaku has become an indispensable part of Antonio Conte’s side. The Belgian international has plundered 25 goals in all competitions, with his tally of 19 league goals this term only bettered by Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo.
Should he find the back of the net on Saturday night, Lukaku will enter the history books, becoming just the seventh player to score 20 goals in consecutive Serie A seasons with Inter Milan joining Giuseppe Meazza, Amedeo Amadei, Roberto Boninsegna, Mauro Icardi, Stefano Nyers and Christian Vieri.
Bologna 0-2 Inter Milan
Inter Milan boast the joint-best attack (65 goals) and second-best defence (26 goals conceded) this season. They are currently on an eight-game winning run in Serie A. Bologna, meanwhile, did pull off a brilliant comeback against Crotone last time out and have won two in a row. But the challenge posed by Antonio Conte’s men should prove too much for the hosts. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 win for the Nerazzurri.