Inter Milan will be keen to make it three wins in a row in all competitions when they take on Udinese in Serie A on Sunday.

An in-form Udinese will welcome Coppa Italia champions Inter Milan to the Dacia Arena in the early Serie A kick-off this Sunday. The home side currently occupy a higher position than the visitors, something they have achieved just twice before.

While wins over Torino and Viktoria Plzen have brought back life to Inter’s flagging campaign, they will find it difficult to get the better of a red-hot Udinese. I Friulani will not just be bolstered by their current form but will also have a boisterous home crowd egging them. With Simone Inzaghi’s men yet to hit top gear, the Nerazzurri cannot afford to let their guard down on the night.

The visitors need a win to not just overtake Udinese in the standings but also keep their hopes of challenging for the Scudetto intact. Another setback this early could spell doom to Inter’s hopes of winning a second Serie A title in three seasons.

It promises to be a highly charged encounter between two sides who will be keen to secure all three points on the night. A win will see Udinese win five games in a row for the first time in five years and consign Inter to yet another setback in the title race.

Simone Inzaghi’s men have the necessary quality to eke out a result but are yet to hit their stride as top dogs this season. What they get out of the game will depend on which version of Inter takes to the field on Sunday. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both teams could line up on the night and what tactics they might deploy.

Team News and Tactics

Udinese

Andrea Sottil’s side have looked good this season and have momentum going in their favour. A win over Inter Milan will certainly boost their morale further, even perhaps providing an impetus to battle for a European spot.

The Udinese manager will be without the injured trio of Adam Masina, Leonardo Buta and Jaka Bijol. Udinese have no other concerns to worry about and are likely to set up in a 3-5-2 formation that should mirror Inter Milan’s setup.

Marco Silvestri will start in goal behind a back three of Nehuen Perez, Rodrigo Becao and Enzo Ebosse. Roberto Pereyra and Destiny Udogie will anchor the wing-back spots and will have a key role on the night against Inter. The Nerazzurri make use of their own wing-backs to provide the width, and stopping them in the tracks could help Udinese cut off supply to the Inter frontline.

Walace will hold the fort in midfield alongside Sandi Lovric and Jean-Victor Makengo in the middle of the park. The trio will need to be energetic and smart on the night to keep Brozovic quiet. Having the Croat in their pocket will disturb Inter’s rhythm in possession and also leave the defence vulnerable to attack.

Gerard Deulofeu will start up front alongside an in-form Beto. Both players are mobile enough and could cause Stefan de Vrij problems should the Dutchman start on the night.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Silvestri; Perez, Becao, Ebosse; Pereyra, Lovric, Walace, Makengo, Udogie; Beto, Deulofeu

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Inter Milan

Simone Inzaghi will be without star striker Romelu Lukaku and midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu on Sunday. The latter is closing in on returning to action, but the Udinese tie could come a tad too early for his liking. Calhganoglu picked up a muscle injury and is now ruled out of action until the international break.

The Nerazzurri have an otherwise full-strength side to choose from. Inzaghi is unlikely to deviate from his 3-5-2 formation, and several players automatically pick themselves. Samir Handanovic is likely to replace Andre Onana in goal behind a back three of Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni.

Federico Dimarco is likely to start in the left wing-back spot, with Denzel Dumfries occupying the other flank. Marcelo Brozovic will anchor the midfield, with Nicolo Barella and Henrikh Mkhitaryan lining up alongside him in the middle of the park. Brozovic will be the one to hold the fort, giving Barella and Mkhitaryan the chance to push forward and get bodies upfield.

Edin Dzeko impressed against Plzen and is likely to keep his spot in the playing XI. Joaquin Correa, however, is struggling to find the back of the net and should make way for a rested Lautaro Martinez. The Argentine is himself going through a four-game goal drought and will be keen to rediscover his shooting boots on the night.

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

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Key Stats

  • Inter Milan are unbeaten in their last nine games against Udinese, winning seven and drawing the remaining two. The Nerazzurri have also maintained seven clean sheets in that run. Inter Milan have lost just two of their last 19 away games to Udinese in Serie A. They have won 11 matches and drawn the remaining seven
  • It is just the third time that Udinese will be above Inter Milan in the Serie A standings before their game. The former came out on top both times and will hope to make it three in a row.
  • Udinese have accumulated 13 points from their first six games in Serie A this season. This is their best-ever start to a league campaign, equalling the tally obtained in 2000/01, 2008/09 and 2014/15.
  • A win on Sunday will see Udinese win five Serie A games in a row for the first time since 2017.
  • Only Napoli with 13 goals have outscored both Udinese, and Inter Milan have scored 12 times apiece in their first six Serie A games this season.

Player to Watch

Lautaro Martinez

In demand. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

The player to watch on the night.  (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

The Argentine international was rested in the midweek UEFA Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen and is likely to be restored to the starting XI this weekend. Martinez has failed to find the back of the net in the last four games and is currently experiencing a mini drought of sorts.

Martinez will be keen to rediscover his goalscoring touch and look to get the monkey off his back. His ability to not just find the back of the net but also work hard to make an impact makes him a difficult player to keep quiet. The 24-year-old will be the perfect foil for an in-form Edin Dzeko and should cause the Udinese backline several problems.

Prediction

Udinese 1 – 1 Inter Milan

Udinese have not lost since opening day and have momentum on their side. Inter Milan are the better team on paper but have been unconvincing more often than not this season. More so, Simone Inzaghi’s predictable setup makes them easy to read.

It promises to be a hard-fought game, with both sides set to enjoy opportunities to make a difference. As things stand, a scoring draw appears to be the likely result. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 stalemate between Udinese and Inter this weekend.

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