Inter Milan will be aiming to close the gap to the top of the table when they play hosts to Hellas Verona in the 2021/22 Serie A this weekend.

Inter Milan have a great chance to cut down the gap between themselves and Serie A leaders AC Milan when they lock horns with Hellas Verona at San Siro on Saturday evening.

Inter Milan find themselves in third place in the table. But they are just four points below AC Milan and three behind Napoli in second, with a game in hand over both teams. Currently on an eight-game unbeaten run across all competitions, Simone Inzaghi’s side defeated Juventus 1-0 in Serie A last time out and will back themselves to bag a vital victory to keep their title defence alive and kicking.

Hellas Verona, meanwhile, are battling to secure a top-half finish. The Gialloblu are currently seated in the ninth spot, five points clear of 11th-placed Torino. Igor Tudor’s men secured a narrow 1-0 win over Genoa last time out and have lost just once in their seven matches – a run that includes draws against Fiorentina and AS Roma. They will back themselves to get a positive result from their trip to San Siro.

The reverse fixture saw Inter Milan come down from a goal behind to beat Hellas Verona 3-1. Ahead of their latest meeting on Saturday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Inter Milan

Inter Milan will have to make do without their chief goal threat in the form of Lautaro Martinez, who misses out due to suspension for accumulation of cards. Stefan de Vrij will be back in contention after having recovered from his injury.

Simone Inzaghi will not tinker with his preferred 3-5-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic. With de Vrij back, he should slot in at the heart of the three-man backline flanked by usual partners Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni. Out wide, Denzel Dumfries and Ivan Perisic are likely to slot in as the wing-backs over the pair of Matteo Darmian and Robin Gosens.

Moving into the middle of the park, Marcelo Brozovic will hold the key for Inter Milan. The Croatian international’s presence will be crucial to the hosts establishing control on the pitch. He will be supported by the energetic Nicolo Barella, who will also be tasked with providing the forward thrust. Hakan Calhanoglu will carry the creative burden for Inter while also posing a threat with his set-piece delivery.

Up top, Edin Dzeko is a guaranteed starter for Inter Milan. Lautaro Martinez’s absence leaves a massive void in the attack. Joaquin Correa, who scored twice against Verona in the reverse fixture, could be preferred to start over Alexis Sanchez.

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

Hellas Verona

Pawel Dawidowicz and Ivor Pandur are confirmed absentees for Hellas Verona. Key midfielder Antonin Barak missed the game against Genoa due to an illness and will be assessed ahead of the trip Saturday’s trip to Milan. 

Igor Tudor will set his team up in a 3-4-2-1 formation against Inter and look to focus on keeping the defensive shape and discipline while trying to pick the hosts on the break. Lorenzo Montipo will guard the goal for the Gialloblu, with Nicolo Casale, Koray Gunter and Federico Ceccherini forming the three-man defensive line that will look to keep Dzeko and Correa quiet.

Davide Faraoni and Darko Lazovic are the automatic picks for the wing-back slots and will be the primary source of width going forward for the visitors. But they will need to be wary of their Inter Milan counterparts in Denzel Dumfries and Ivan Perisic, who will pose a significant threat.

Adrien Tameze and summer signing Ivan Ilic will hold the fort in the middle of the park and try to curtail the influence of Inter Milan midfield duo of Barella and Calhanoglu. If Barak is not passed fit, Daniel Bessa should get the nod as one of the two attacking midfielders, with Gianluca Caprari being his partner. They will look to support the main striker, who should be in-form hitman Giovanni Simeone.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Montipo; Casale, Gunter, Ceccherini; Faraoni, Tameze, Ilic, Lazovic; Bessa, Caprari; Simeone

Key Stats

  • Verona are the team Inter Milan have faced the most without ever losing in Serie A in the era of three points for a win (21 games, W17 D4).
  • Verona have never won in 30 Serie A games played away from home against Inter Milan (D11 L19). They have failed to score a goal in 22 of these matches.
  • Inter Milan, who defeated Juventus in their previous league game, have not secured back-to-back wins in Serie A in 2022.
  • After winning 1-0 against Genoa, Hellas Verona could keep two clean sheets in a row for the first time since September 2020.
  • Inter Milan have 11 points fewer points than they did at this stage of the last season in Serie A (63 vs 74), despite having let in fewer goals and secured one clean sheet more.

Player to Watch

Giovanni Simeone

After an explosive start to the season, the 26-year-old striker hit a rough patch around mid-December, going on a run of eight games without scoring in Serie A. But a hat-trick against Venezia in late February and the match-winner versus Genoa last time out has meant that Giovanni Simeone is showing signs of coming back into top form, in the process, taking his tally for the season to 16 goals.

But he will be coming up against the best defence in the competition on Saturday. Inter Milan have conceded just 24 times in 30 games. They have kept four clean sheets in their last six games in all competitions. Simeone’s performance will have a big say in the outcome of the game.

Prediction

Inter Milan 1-0 Hellas Verona

Inter Milan have been playing well below their best since the turn of the year. But they have managed to stay alive in the title race. And for them to stay in touch with the top two, the Nerazzurri cannot afford any more slip-ups. Lautaro Martinez’s absence will be a blow for the home team and could stifle their attacking play.

Hellas Verona can be a tricky opponent for the best of teams, but Antonin Barak’s potential absence does take some sting out of their attacking unit. The Hard Tackle predicts a narrow victory for the reigning champions.

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