Defending champions Inter Milan will look to strengthen their hold at the top of the Serie A table when they take on bottom-placed Salernitana on Friday night.

Reigning Italian champions Inter Milan will look to make it six Serie A wins in a row when they take on bottom-placed Salernitana on Friday.

The Nerazzurri have picked up their performances in recent weeks and have risen to the top of the Serie A table. With AC Milan and Napoli looking shaky, it is a good opportunity for Simone Inzaghi’s men to pull away at the top of the table. With games coming thick and fast, it is key for the defending champions to build momentum. Another win at the Arechi Stadium should do just that.

In Salernitana, Inter Milan face an easy challenge on paper. The Serie A newcomers have won just one game all season and have lost six of their last seven games in the league. Despite playing at home, they will find it difficult on the night. Inter, when in form, are formidable and should brush aside their opponents with ease.

The matchup has the air of a David vs Goliath ring to it. Inter go into the game as the heavy favourites and will be expected to have three points in the bag. With every parameter in their favour, the onus will be on the visitors to perform on the field. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides may take to the field on the night and the tactics they might employ.

Team News & Tactics

Salernitana

Salernitana manager Stefano Colantuono has a number of players unavailable on the night, making life harder for him against Inter. He will be unable to call upon Stefan Strandberg, Nadir Zortea and left-back Matteo Ruggeri.

To add further woe, veteran winger Franck Ribery, midfielder Mamadou Coulibaly and striker Federico Bonazzoli are also a doubt to feature on the night. To say that Salernitana will have their hands full on the night would be an understatement.

Vid Belec looks set to start in goal for Salernitana behind a back four of Frederic Veseli, Norbert Gyomber, Luka Bogdan and Luca Ranieri. The midfield of Andrea Schiavone, Grigoris Kastanos, Francesco Di Tacchio and Lassana Coulibaly will need to be at the top of their game to deny Inter.

The onus to attack the Inter Milan defence will be on the front two of Milan Djuric, and Simy. Whether the duo will have enough in their tank to trouble the visitors back three or find themselves starved of service upfront remains to be seen.

Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Belec; Veseli, Gyomber, Bogdan, Ranieri; Schiavone, Kastanos, Di Tacchio, Coulibaly; Djuric, Simy

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Inter Milan

Inter will be without summer signing Joaquin Correa. Simone Inzaghi could also need to make up for the potential absences of Andrea Ranocchia and Matteo  Damian. The defending champions have an otherwise full set of players to choose from.

Samir Handanovic enjoyed a quiet night against Cagliari and will hope to have more of the same on Friday. The back three of Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni are growing into their role and will make for a formidable rearguard.

The better the trio maintains their shape, the easier it is for wing-backs Federico Dimarco and Denzel Dumfries to bomb forward. The duo will have much success if they can help the Inter midfield choke the life out of Salernitana.

Marcelo Brozovic has become the conductor of the way Inzaghi’s side plays. With Hakan Calhonoglu and Nicola Barella alongside him, the Croat lays the foundations for the Nerazzurri winning the midfield battle.

Edin Dzeko looks set to return to the starting lineup following a much-needed rest against Cagliari. He will partner Chelsea target, Lautaro Martinez, as they look to build upon their early promise. Player for player, Inter completely outclass Salernitana. This massive gulf in quality could be on show on Friday.

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

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Key Stats

  • This is the first Serie A meeting between both sides since 1999. Both teams have won two games apiece, with the home side coming up trumps in all four matches.
  • Inter Milan have never scored in an away game against Salernitana in Serie A.
  • Inter Milan have kept just one clean sheet in their last 13 games against Campania based sides.
  • Salernitana have failed to score in their last three home games in the Italian top-flight. This is the longest such run in their history.
  • Inter Milan have scored 98 goals in Serie A in 2021. This is one short of their record of 99 goals in a calendar year set in 1950.

Player to Watch

Lautaro Martinez

The ideal option to lead the line for Arsenal. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Inter Milan’s main man. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

The Argentine international is in excellent form going into the game and is coming off a brace against Cagliari. He could have earned himself a hat-trick had he scored from the spot but somehow contrived to miss. The 24-year-old has adapted well to the summer sale of Romelu Lukaku and is today the Nerazzuri’s biggest offensive threat.

Any good move the Italian champions make on the night will likely involve the South American ace. Martinez’s movement and guile make him a difficult player to mark, and Salernitana could have their hands full trying to contain him. It would be a safe bet to assume the Argentine will find the back of the net on the night.

Salernitana 0-3 Inter Milan

Inter go into the game as heavy favourites. Both teams are at opposite ends of the spectrum and will be keen to earn all three points. The Nerazzurri’s quality should shine through, and it should prove to be an easy win.

Whether player vs player or even as a unit, Inter outclasses Salernitana in every aspect. It promises to be an easy night for the visitors, but then Salernitana also have an opportunity to make themselves heard in the Italian top flight. Unless Inter have an unbelievably off day, it should be three points in the bag for the Italian champions.

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