AS Roma will hope to remain in their hunt for a top-four spot, when they host Inter Milan, who could go second with a win on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho seemed to have found some form in recent weeks after a terrible run of games in Serie A and the UEFA Europa Conference League. After setting the tone early in the league, Roma have tumbled along the way and they sit uncomfortably in the fifth spot, with three teams behind them separated by a single point.

Mattias Svanberg’s first-half strike for Bologna was enough to rattle Roma in the previous fixture and hand Mourinho’s side a defeat. However, another loss, when Inter Milan visit Stadio Olimpico, could cast doubts on the manager’s methods, which have already come under plenty of scrutiny before.

Roma are in danger of slipping out of the top four race, with six points already separating them from fourth-placed Atalanta. A defeat to Inter would be catastrophic, and if other results are to go against them, the Giallorossi will find themselves all the way down to ninth at the end of the weekend.

Visitors Inter Milan have put their early sloppy from behind and have recently set the tone in Serie A. The defending champions have kept pace with AC Milan and Napoli at the top, and they could go second with a win over Roma if Milan drop points in the clash against Salernitana.

The Nerazzurri were rampant against lowly Spezia earlier this week, recording 31 shots as they swept aside their opponents to record an eighth victory in their last ten games. Inter are in fantastic form away from home, winning five games in eight outings. Furthermore, the champions will be hoping to keep their confidence high as a high-profile Champions League clash with Real Madrid awaits next week.

However, Roma have been in supreme form at home, and Inter might find the going tough against them at the weekend. This game has all the hallmarks of an exciting clash with so much at stake for both teams. The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at the encounter.

Team News & Tactics

AS Roma

Jose Mourinho will have a few stars out with injuries and suspensions. Leonardo Spinazzola remains unavailable for the long-term while Lorenzo Pellegrini is also absent from the clash against Inter Milan. Rick Karsdorp and Tammy Abraham are suspended for AS Roma, which will be a blow for the home side.

Eldor Shomurodov and Mattias Vina could replace the Abraham and Karsdorp, as Mourinho will have to tinker with his lineup. Bryan Cristante could also be fully fit after Mourinho decided to involve him in midweek. The midfielder’s presence also gives the Roma manager a different option in the position.

Mourinho will probably field a back three comprising of Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling and Roger Ibanez. The wing-back roles should see Carles Perez and Matias Vina deployed on either flank.

Meanwhile, Henrikh Mkhitaryan could start the game behind the front two, with Nicolo Zaniolo and Shomurodov likely to start up front in the absence of Abraham.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Perez, Cristante, Veretour, Vina; Mkhitaryan, Shomurodov, Zaniolo

Inter Milan

Andrea Ranocchia, Matteo Darmian, Stefan de Vrij and Aleksandar Kolarov are all unavailable for Inter Milan at the weekend. Simone Inzaghi is expected to field a strong lineup against Roma despite missing some key players, especially after resting some of his stars in the midweek clash.

Inter will continue to deploy a back three despite de Vrij’s absence. The strong trio of Milan Skriniar, Alessandro Bastoni and Danilo D’Ambrosio is set to hold the fort in central defence. Out wide, Denzel Dumfries and Ivan Perisic will resume their wing-back roles.

Nicolo Barella, Marcelo Brozovic and Hakan Calhanoglu will take up the central midfield roles, with Barella and Calhanoglu looking to pull the strings for Inter. Meanwhile, Joaquin Correa could play a part in the attack, although Inzaghi might have other ideas.

Lautaro Martinez should provide sufficient support for Edin Dzeko, who should lead the line against his former side, hoping to cause plenty of problems for their defence.

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

Key Stats

  • AS Roma have drawn their last three home matches against Inter Milan in all competitions.
  • Roma have not been beaten in ten of their last 11 home matches in Serie A.
  • Roma have scored at least two goals in their last three home games against Inter Milan in all competitions.
  • Inter Milan have scored at least two goals in their last four away matches against Roma in all competitions.
  • Inter Milan are unbeaten in 30 of their last 33 away matches in Serie A.

Player to Watch

Lautaro Martinez

Embed from Getty Images

The Argentine is slowly returning to the form he displayed last year and steadily taking over the goalscoring burden felt by the club after the departure of Romelu Lukaku. With eight goals in Serie A this season, he has helped Inter massively in keeping them in the hint for the title once more, and Martinez will be crucial against Roma.

While Edin Dzeko might be leading the line for the club with elan, Martinez plays a crucial role in stimulating the attack well and has scored more goals than expected of him. He will be the player to watch and the Argentine could prove critical towards securing three valuable points for his team.

Prediction

AS Roma 1-2 Inter Milan

Despite AS Roma’s good form at home in the last 12 months, Jose Mourinho’s men have shown plenty of sloppiness against all sorts of opponents, costing them crucial points. They might have steadied the ship in recent weeks, but a rampant Inter Milan might be tough to handle.

Inter are truly on the hunt for the big prize and have done well in all competitions. They have shown a level of urgency in recent games, which was somewhat missing at the start of the season. We expect Inter Milan to take three points against Mourinho’s Roma and keep the pressure on Napoli and AC Milan in the title race.

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