Inter Milan will look to bounce back from a dismal week when they welcome Torino to Giuseppe Meazza in Serie A on Saturday afternoon.
As strange as it may seem, Torino will travel to the San Siro on Saturday to lock horns with Inter in the unusual position of being higher in the Serie A standings than the Milan giants.
After all the hype of Romelu Lukaku’s return and the talk of clinching their Scudetto back after being narrowly pipped by their fierce city-rivals in the title race last season, Inter did not live up to fans’ expectations at the start of this Serie A season.
So far, they have failed miserably in their two big tests of the season, losing to Lazio and AC Milan. Inter Milan are currently eighth in Serie A, one point and two places below Torino, with nine points from their opening five games.
Having fallen to a 3-2 defeat in the first Derby della Madonnina of the season last week, the Nerazzurri kicked off their Champions League campaign with a 2-0 home loss to Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.
— Inter (@Inter_en) September 7, 2022
Simone Inzaghi’s side have now lost back-to-back games for the first time since February, and have now lost three of their previous four games. They will, of course, be mindful of the importance of bouncing back against Torino on Saturday, but Il Toro’s strong form under Ivan Juric will prove to be a tricky test.
The Croatian tactician is doing an extraordinary job at the club and finished last season with 50 points, with them proving to be a tough nut to crack in recent times. With an ambitious coach like him and a passionate fanbase, Torino deserve a solid project with exciting new additions, and it will be one worth keeping an eye on in the near future.
Torino have had a solid start to the season, currently sitting sixth in the Serie A table with 10 points from their first five games, although they fell to a 3-1 loss against Atalanta in their only big test of the current campaign. It will be interesting to see how they will fare against Inter.
Team News & Tactics
Inter will once again miss the services of star striker Romelu Lukaku (thigh) and left-back Dalbert (ACL) due to respective injuries, although the latter could be fit enough to feature on the bench. Simone Inzaghi will be forced to rotate players here, with changes expected across the pitch following two matches in quick succession and with another Champions League fixture next midweek.
Andre Onana, Inter Milan’s man of the match. The Cameroonian keeper stopped 10 shots from Bayern out of 11 in his debut for his club and in the Champions League.
They were defeated at home by the German club, two goals to nil. pic.twitter.com/apfVp6H3GH
— E-KWAT TV (@EkwatTV) September 7, 2022
Samir Handanovic is likely to keep his first-choice status in between the sticks for Inter, but with summer signing Andre Onana starting in midweek and the Slovenian continuing to underperform, pressure is certainly mounting.
At the back, Stefan de Vrij should be re-inducted after being dropped out of the starting XI for the Bayern clash following a stinker in the Milan derby. The Dutchman will be partnered with Alessandro Bastoni and Milan Skriniar.
The width in attack will be supplied by the two wing-backs, with Denzel Dumfries and Robin Gosens likely to make darting runs at the back post. There will be only one change in the midfield, with Nicolo Barella replacing veteran Henrikh Mkhitaryan to form a trio with Marcelo Brozovic and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Finally, with Romelu Lukaku sidelined, the goal-scoring burden has been shifted to veteran target man Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian bagged his first goal of the season against Milan, and his physical prowess and ability in the air should come in handy against a stubborn Torino defence. Joaquin Correa is likely to deputise for Lautaro Martinez, who is due a breather after a hectic run of games.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Gosens; Correa, Dzeko
Torino have a few doubts ahead of their trip to Inter. Etrit Berisha, Alexey Miranchuk, and Samuele Ricci have all been sidelined through injuries and will sit out Saturday’s game. Wilfried Singo (muscle strain) is closing in on returning to his full fitness from a knee injury, but is unlikely to be risked here.
Juric is expected to stick with his customary 3-4-1-2/3-4-2-1 formation, in which the two attackers are bolder at pressing higher up the pitch, while new arrival Vlasic has the freedom to roam or switch between roles to get into pockets of space and create overloads in advanced areas.
While it may seem like an expansive style of play, the Turin-based outfit is incredibly tough to break down, with the majority of Juric’s starting XI workhorses off the ball and adept at limiting the opposition to a few high-quality scoring chances.
In the absence of the injured Per Schuurs, Alessandro Buongiorno will take his place at the heart of a back-three with Koffi Djidji and Ricardo Rodriguez as his defensive partners. Meanwhile, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic will take his place between the sticks for the visitors.
Valentino Lazaro, who has performed admirably in Singo’s absence, and Mergim Vojvoda will likely be the two wing-backs, with the duo being tasked with providing width higher up the pitch while also dropping back to form a five-man defensive unit during transitions. In the middle of the park, Sasa Lukic and Karol Linetty will be responsible for keeping things tight in the middle of the park.
Juric is expected to return to his strongest attacking lineup, with Antonio Sanabria stepping back into the front-two alongside Nemanja Radonjic. The visitors will also be relying on the services of their in-form attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic to produce the goods in the final third.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Milinkovic-Savic; Djidji, Buongiorno, Rodriguez; Lazaro, Lukic, Linetty, Vojvoda; Vlasic, Radonjic; Sanabria
- Inter have won their last six home matches in Serie A, conceding just four goals in that run.
- Inter have won their last three home games against Torino in all competitions, and have not lost in the last six meetings between the two sides (5W, 1D).
- Simone Inzaghi’s side have scored at least 3 goals in their last 5 home league matches.
- Torino have won three of their five Serie A matches this term (D1, L1), but have not won back-to-back league games since January.
- Argentine forward Lautaro Martinez boasts a decent production record when facing Torino, bagging four goals and two assists from eight competitive outings against them.
Player to Watch
It has been a positive start to life in Italy for the on-loan Torino star, Vlasic, whose long-term future looks almost certain to be away from West Ham given that an option to buy for €15 million was inserted in the sale, and they have since spent nearly £70 million on Maxwel Cornet and Lucas Paqueta.
Playing in a more central number 10 role, the Croat is indeed excelling and has three goals in his first five appearances for Il Toro, filling the void left by the departure of former captain Andrea Belotti seamlessly.
Torino manager Ivan Juric has long admired compatriot Vlasic and pushed for his signing this summer, and if the Croatian international maintains his current form, Torino officials will be rubbing their hands with delight at the opportunity to exercise the buy option at such a low cost. With his darting runs in behind, pace, and power, the 24-year-old will be a major threat to the vulnerable-looking Nerazzurri backline here.
Inter Milan 2-1 Torino
Inter have been at sixes and sevens from a defensive perspective in the last week or so, having shipped an alarmingly high nine goals in their last four games.
Torino – who have only failed to score in one game this season – will fancy their chances of breaching that frail Inter backline on the weekend, and will surely aim to put up a fight despite being the underdogs here.
That said, Inter have the required attacking firepower to cause the visitors all sorts of problems at the other end of the pitch and will look to dust themselves down back at home.
On paper, the hosts have the stronger team, and Simone Inzaghi will undoubtedly have to rely on his squad depth, having faced a difficult midweek Champions League match against Bayern Munich. Nonetheless, the Hard Tackle expects Inter to return to winning ways in what could be a pretty close contest at San Siro on Saturday afternoon.