Inter Milan will aim to overtake AC Milan in the Serie A standings when they play hosts to Spezia on Wednesday.

After a rocky start to the season, Inter Milan have enjoyed a bright spell lately. They have secured qualification to the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds while closing in on the high-flying AC Milan and Napoli in Serie A.

Indeed, a run of four wins in five matches has helped the defending champions bridge the gap at the top to just four points. Following AC Milan’s disappointing defeat to Sassuolo on the weekend, Inter are also adrift of their second-placed neighbour by just one point and could possibly overtake them, should the Rossoneri drop points against Genoa.

As for league leaders Napoli, they are also facing a tricky test against Sassuolo this midweek, giving Inter the opportunity to maintain pressure at the top. The Nerazzurri could quite possibly close the gap at the top to just one point as well, in their home affair with Spezia.

Dawdling at the bottom end of the league table, the club from Liguria are among the main relegation candidates in Serie A this term. They have the worst defensive record in the division, with 32 goals conceded in 14 matches. Inter, in contrast, are the most prolific team in the league with 34 goals in the same number of matches.

Hence, this promises to be an exciting encounter, with the home side going into the game desperate for all three points that will help them return in contention for the Serie A title. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer at their chances of doing so, in this crucial fixture at the Giuseppe Meazza this midweek.

Team News & Tactics

Inter Milan

Inter Milan head coach Simone Inzaghi has had to deal with a few injury problems this season. By far the biggest of them is the absence of Stefan de Vrij, but after the weekend’s action, it appears Inter have also lost both Andrea Ranocchia and Matteo Darmian. It could be a major blow for Inzaghi, who is short of options, especially in central defence.

The Italian has to move on, nevertheless, with Denzel Dumfries likely to deputise for the injured Darmian at right wing-back. Federico Dimarco may also continue on the right side of the three-man backline, filling in for the injured de Vrij and Ranocchia. He will partner Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni in the back-three, with Ivan Perisic serving as the left sided wing-back.

Both Dumfries and Perisic are set to play a vital role in offering the thrust going forward. Dumfries, in particular, has a point to prove after a disappointing start to his career in Italy, whereas Perisic has already notched up four goals this season. It won’t be surprising to see the Croat being given more attacking freedom by Inzaghi on the left flank.

Elsewhere, Marcelo Brozovic should hold the fort in midfield. His composure and positioning sense could play an essential role in freeing up his partnering advanced midfielders in Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu, who is seemingly settling into Inter after making the controversial move from Milan in the summer.

As for the attack, Inter Milan should continue with the deadly offensive duo of Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko. The two share 14 goals between them this season and will hope to continue their exquisite run of form in Serie A. The likes of Joaquin Correa and Alexis Sanchez are available as attacking alternatives for Inzaghi, with the latter recently returning to full fitness after a knock.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Dimarco, Skriniar, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Martinez, Dzeko

homecrowd-formation-5cJNA6l1agRYiTsMZvFJ

Spezia

Spezia head coach Thiago Motta will be boosted by the return of Emmanuel Gyasi from suspension. The explosive winger should directly slot back into the wider attacking roles, alongside Janis Antiste, as they look to supply the number nine, M’Bala Nzola.

Motta is likely to preserve his 4-3-3 setup, with the three midfielders looking to form a steady second line press. Giulio Maggiore, in particular, will be tasked with the responsibility of marshalling his troops in the middle of the park, with the additional help of fellow midfielders in Jacopo Sala and Viktor Kovalenko.

However, it won’t be surprising to see either Sala or Kovalenko being given the freedom to march forward and offer the creative essence in the final third. Similarly, the left-back Simone Bastoni, who is the club’s most productive player this season with two goals and two assists may also play a vital role with his marauding runs forward.

The 25-year-old, though, will be wary of the Inter wing-backs. As such, he is likely to spend much of the game aiding his defensive partners in Motta’s back-four, which is set to operate deep in an attempt to frustrate the opposition attackers.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Provedel; Amian, Erlic, Nikolaou, Bastoni; Maggiore, Kovalenko, Sala; Antiste, Nzola, Gyasi

homecrowd-formation-C5IokLqplE0M95x2d59b

Key Stats

  • There was a 2-1 win for the Nerazzurri at the Meazza and a 1-1 draw at Picco in the two previous Serie A games between Inter and Lazio last season.
  • Spezia have always lost in the four Serie A away games played in Lombardia: at San Siro against Inter and Milan, and two defeats in Bergamo against Atalanta.
  • Inter have won the highest number of home games in the major five European leagues since the beginning of the last season (21).
  • After going unbeaten in two of the first three Serie A away games this season, Spezia lost the last four away matches, conceding 14 goals in the process, with an average of 3.5 goals per game.
  • After two games won against Napoli and Venezia, Inter could win three consecutive Serie A games for the first time since the arrival of Simone Inzaghi at the helm.

Player to Watch

Edin Dzeko

Despite the loss of Romelu Lukaku in the summer, Inter Milan have bounced back remarkably this season, largely thanks to the ingenious addition of Edin Dzeko. The former Manchester City star striker has been a major success at his new club, having already netted seven goals in 13 league matches, emerging as one of the top scorers in the competition.

Dzeko’s positioning sense, coupled with his experience and ability to sniff goalscoring opportunities have added another dimension to Inter’s attacking unit. It has combined particularly well alongside the dynamic and aggressive Lautaro Martinez, with the duo combining for 14 of Inter’s 34 league goals this term.

As the Nerazzurri look to continue their excellent form in Serie A, the contributions of Edin Dzeko could once again prove to be crucial, although Lautaro could be equally important in helping them breach the opposition defence.

Prediction

Inter Milan 3-0 Spezia

This appears to likely be a one-sided contest given the contrasting form of two teams. Spezia, in particular, have not shown much promise at all and have the worst defensive record in the league. Their faulty backline could be severely tested by the Inter Milan side that has no shortage of quality offensive players, who are hungry for goals.

Hence, we are expecting a one-sided affair with the likes of Edin Dzeko, Hakan Calhanoglu and Lautaro Martinez likely to dominate the proceedings with their intelligence, dynamism and creativity in the final third this midweek.

Leave A Comment...

*