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Serie A Preview: Sampdoria vs. Inter

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The Nerazzurri hope to turn things around with a win over Sinisa Mihajlovic's men on Sunday…

Marco Luzzani

Inter is faltering down the stretch once again as a Europe League place is looking less likely by the week.

The Nerazzurri seemed to be in good shape after going unbeaten in six games, but the wheels suddenly fell off as they failed to beat Atalanta, Udinese, Livorno and Bologna in their last four matches.

Blown leads, mental mistakes and shambolic defending have cost the side dearly in the last 14 days and now the Beneamata must pick up the pieces with five teams hot on their tail.

Usually a trip to Genoa to face Sampdoria would be the perfect tonic for what's ailing the squad, but Inter is in a bad way and the pain is likely to persist for another week at least.

That the Nerazzurri were only able to secure three points from their last four clashes will surely haunt them throughout the summer. It was easily the most disappointing and frustrating stretch of the season as it looked as if they were ready for a major breakthrough only to fall flat on their face.

Sampdoria held Inter at San Siro in the first meeting of the season as Walter Mazzarri's men let another late lead slip away when Renan equalized in the 89th minute.

That's been one of the unfortunate themes of the season and is one of the reasons why the Nerazzurri aren't giving Napoli a run for its money.

So all we can do is hope that this virus has run its course and that the boys can recover quickly enough to salvage what has been another underwhelming season.

THE VITALS

Date: Sunday, April 13

Time: 9:00 am EST

Venue: Comunale Luigi Ferraris

BATTLE DOSSIER

Inter Probable Formation: 3-5-2: Handanovic; Ranocchia, Samuel, Rolando; D'Ambrosio, Alvarez, Cambiasso, Hernanes, Nagatomo; Palacio, Icardi

Sampdoria Probable Formation: 4-3-3-1: Da Costa; De Silvestri, Mustafi, Fornasier, Regini; Palombo, Renan; Eder, Krsticic, Soriano; Maxi Lopez

Unavailable For Duty: Juan Jesus is out for the season with a torn MCL while Jonathan is still nursing a muscle injury.

Operation Sinister Sinisa: The objective is to create some breathing room between our heroes and the fast approaching enemy armies that threaten to overrun them.

Enemy Of The State: Maxi Lopez can probably be considered the 'victim' of Wanda Nara and Mauro Icardi's sordid affair, but on Sunday he'll have no sympathizers among Beneamata supporters. The whole thing is a gong show and an unwanted distraction for the squad at a very sensitive time. Lopez has only scored one goal in seven appearances for Samp, but you know he's raring to double his tally in order to stick it to Icardi.

Fear Factor: 7: Samp is as scary as fighting one of your former friends, who is uber pissed at you for sleeping with his ex-wife and posting a play-by-play picture commentary of the whole affair on various popular Social Media sites.

Medal Of Honor: I'm hoping Icardi will continue his purple patch and find the back of the net on Sunday. But, I'm hoping he doesn't lift up his shirt to unveil another lovey-dovey message to Wanda if he scores though. The Marassi might spontaneously combust if that happens.  

Likely Outcome: I think the downward spiral continues as Mihajlovic outwits Mazzarri on a day where tensions threaten to boil over. Samp wins the game and the public relations battle.