When: Thursday, October 20th, 13:00 ET/ 19:00 CET
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy.
With four matches still to play in the group stage phase of the Europa League Inter is already facing a win or go home situation. Two embarrassing defeats against Hapoel Be'er Sheva and Sparta Prague forced the Nerazzurri into this uncomfortable position which puts even more pressure on De Boer and the players' shoulders after the series of bad results in Serie A too.
Not everything is lost though and a convincing win this Thursday would not only resurrect Inter's hopes of reaching the next stage of the EL but it would also give a confidence boost to the team. Plus in the midst of this stupid Icardi scandal a goal, especially a decisive one, from the Argentinian forward could help mitigate the tension with the ultras allowing him to focus only on the job he his paid for — and not on writing silly biographies, for example.
Southampton are undoubtedly the most talented team Inter will have to face in this stage and yeah, I know it sounds crazy, that's exactly why I think the Nerazzurri will be able to finally get their first points. We saw how this squad strove against Juventus and this could be a similar case, even though Inter is still the better team on paper. It will be vital to avoid any drop in focus and defensive alertness, because as we saw earlier in the season and in the last match against Cagliari, it doesn't take more than a handful of minutes for the opponents to take advantage of our slackness and destroy everything we created until that moment.
To put things in perspective and make you understand how important this game is for them, I'll let Saint's goalkeeper Fraser Forster words do the talking.
7,000 Southampton's supporters are coming to Milan for the match, and I bet they're not following the team just to boo and insult their top scoring player. For us, instead, winning is the only possible and acceptable result this Thursday.
We reached out to the very nice guys of St. Mary's Musings to ask them a few questions and see what they think about tomorrow's crucial clash.
Inter and Southampton are going through two completely different period of form. How do you think this will affect the outcome of the match?
It's a tough one. Originally when we got Inter in the group, away at the San Siro was seen as the game which we shouldn't expect a result from. But, after Inter's last two Europa League outings against Sparta Prague and Hapoel Be'er Sheva, now this game holds a lot more weight. Saints are playing well and Inter seem to have a whole host of problems. But, for whatever reason, I can't help but feel it'll be a draw tomorrow night.
If you had the power of choosing one Inter player to keep out from tomorrow's match, who would it be and why?
With all of Inter's new signings unable to play in the Europa League, it will have to be Mauro Icardi. He may be a bit of a troublemaker but he always seems to find the net.
I know it's a bit early to make predictions but if you had to guess, in this group, which teams do you think will reach the next stage of the competition?
I'm hoping and praying Southampton make the cut, obviously! It may be too late for Inter to progress having lost twice already, so I'll go for Saints and Hapoel.
They asked us a few questions too, so head over to their blog to see what they asked us and our answers to them!
Frank De Boer named 19 players for this match and just four of them are listed as midfielders. That probably means we are finally going to see Brozovic on the pitch again, maybe even from the first minute paired with Medel.
Despite the incident with the Curva and the subsequent punishment, Icardi will probably be the starting striker on Thursday and hopefully he will be able to help the team get their first crucial points in the competition.
Predicted Starting XIs
Inter (4-2-3-1): Handanovic; Santon, Miranda, Murillo, Nagatomo; Brozovic, Medel; Candreva, Banega, Eder; Icardi.
Southampton (3-4-3): Forster; Cedric, Van Dijk, Fonte; Targett, Højbjerg, Romeu, Davis; Tadic, Redmond, Austin.
How to Watch
TV: Sky Calcio 1, Sky Calcio 4, Sky Sport 1 HD (Italy); BT Sport 3 (UK); WatchESPN, Fox Sports GO, Fox Soccer 2GO USA (USA).
Online: SKY Go Italia (Italy); BT Sport Live Streaming (UK); Fox Sports 1 USA, ESPN3 USA (USA).
(For other countries' streaming and broadcasting options see here)