A buoyant Inter Milan will welcome AS Roma to the Giuseppe Meazza in a tie that can have huge implications for both sides.
A month can make a huge difference in football and Simone Inzaghi’s Inter Milan are experiencing just that. The Nerazzurri smashed local rivals AC Milan in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia and also have their Serie A destiny in their own hands going into the final games of the season.
Inter trail AC Milan by two points at the top of the Serie A table but have a game in hand. Winning it will see them move to the top by a solitary point. Having won their first title in 11 years last season, the Nerazzurri will be keen to make it two in two.
However, they face a strong challenge from AS Roma who are still in with a shout to finish fourth. Jose Mourinho’s side have had several ups and downs this season and are currently five points off Juventus with five games to go. Any more slip-ups will end their hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League.
A former Inter Milan boss, Mourinho is one of the greatest managers of his era and has often acted as a spoilsport on several occasions. His Chelsea side famously ended Liverpool’s title hopes in 2014 at Anfield, and he could repeat history this time at the Giuseppe Meazza.
Inter saw their form drop off in March but appear to have regained it of late. They will be buzzing after a series of wins in recent weeks and will hope to take another step closer to a successful title defence. The Hard Tackle looks at how these teams could line up on Saturday and what tactics they might employ.
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Correndo verso #InterRoma 👇
— Inter 🏆🇮🇹 (@Inter) April 22, 2022
Simone Inzaghi got his tactics spot on against AC Milan and will be hoping to do the same this time against Roma. Inter have already defeated the Giallorossi twice this season and are on track to make it three in a row.
Key players are currently hitting top form for the Nerazzurri. Lautaro Martinez has rediscovered his goalscoring touch, while Joaquin Correa is arguably enjoying his finest spell since joining the club. With Alexis Sanchez and Edin Dzeko also in the fray, Inzaghi has a wealth of choices to choose from in attack.
Veteran midfielder Arturo Vidal is a doubt for the game after being at the receiving end of a crunching tackle from Theo Hernandez. Given that he is a starter no more, Inter can cope in his absence. The home side have an otherwise fully fit squad to choose from.
Inzaghi will deploy his side in his preferred 3-5-2 system which has brought Inter much success this season. Samir Handanovic was excellent last time out against Milan and will retain his spot in between the goalposts.
He will play behind a back three of Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni. Denzel Dumfries looks set to return to action and will replace Matteo Darmian at right wing-back. The impressive Ivan Perisic has also raised his level in recent weeks and will occupy the wing-back role on the other flank.
Inter’s midfield general, Marcelo Brozovic will again be keen to dictate play from the middle of the park and will be a major antagonist to Roma’s hopes. He will be accompanied by Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu in central midfield. Barella and Calhanoglu will be tasked with creating opportunities and making forward forays.
Lautaro Matinez is in a rich vein of form and should retain his spot in the starting XI. Correa has been brilliant in weeks gone by but will make way for Edin Dzeko in the starting lineup. Having Correa and Sanchez on standby will give Inzaghi reliable options to bring on if needed.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Dzeko, Martinez
Jose Mourinho has done a decent job at AS Roma but has failed to see his side put up a consistent run of form. With just five games to go, he has his work cut out in trying to bridge the five-point gap to Juventus in the fourth spot. Nothing less than a win will do for the Giallorossi this weekend.
Young attacker Nicolo Zaniolo and reserve goalkeeper Daniel Fuzato will miss out after being suspended. Roma have an otherwise injury-free squad to choose from. The Italian giants will take on Leicester City in the UEFA Conference League semi-final first leg next week and could have an eye on the fixture.
With the cup competition providing Roma with a greater probability of success, it remains to be seen if Mourinho will rest some of his best players.
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) April 22, 2022
Inter Milan have been the team to beat in Italy this season, and Roma will have their task cut out. A lot will depend on whether Bryan Cristante and Sergio Oliveira can win the midfield battle. Doing so will help them not just isolate Inter’s forwards but also pull their wing-backs deep to defend.
Rui Patricio looks set to start in goal with Mourinho likely to implement a 3-4-2-1 system. The trio of Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling and Roger Ibanez will start at the back with Rick Karsdorp and Nicola Zalewski donning the wing-back roles. How the duo fare against Perisic and Dumfries could prove pivotal.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini will be Roma’s creators-in-chief with Tammy Abraham leading the line. The former Chelsea striker has proven to be an inspired signing for Roma and is likely the biggest threat to Inter Milan’s defence.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Cristante, Oliveira, Zalewski; Mkhitaryan, Pellegrini; Abraham
- Inter Milan are currently undefeated in their last ten Serie A matches against AS Roma.
- Inter Milan have not lost at home to AS Roma in the league since 2017. Since then, they have managed one win and three draws.
- AS Roma are currently on a 12-game unbeaten streak in Serie A. This is their best run since 2016 and the longest unbeaten streak currently in the Italian top flight.
- Inter Milan are unbeaten in 31 of their last 33 home games in Serie A.
- AS Roma have conceded at least twice in their previous five games against Inter Milan in all competitions.
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The Argentine’s loss of form coincided with a poor run of results for Inter Milan last month. However, he appears to be back to his best and was instrumental in putting AC Milan to the sword earlier this week.
Martinez certainly appears to have rediscovered his mojo, and his movement will prove to be a major headache for AS Roma. With former Roma captain Edin Dzeko set to also return, Martinez, will have a key role not just running into channels but also securing the second balls won by the Bosnian.
The 24-year-old’s pace coupled with his clinical ability to poach goals in the box makes him a dangerous opponent. Chris Smalling and Gianluca Mancini will have to be on their guard, lest the Inter Milan ace once again decides the tie for his team.
Inter Milan 2-0 AS Roma
AS Roma can be a dogged contender, but their lack of consistency has held them back this season. Jose Mourinho loves to spoil a party, and it will be unlike him if the Giallorossi do not do their best to keep Inter Milan at bay.
The home side, however have the upper hand in terms of quality and current form. AS Roma might be unbeaten in 12 league games going into the tie, but facing an Inter side who have rediscovered their best is a frightening proposition.
With Tammy Abraham leading the line, the visitors could cause the Inter Milan back three trouble. However, the Serie A champions’ quality should shine through ending Roma’s hopes of a top-four finish this season.