When: Sunday, October 30th 2:45pm ET/ 8:45pm CET
Where: Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa, Italy.
Despite the words of encouragement that Inter's hierarchy reserved for Frank de Boer during Friday's shareholders meeting, this remains an absolutely fundamental match for the new Inter coach as the rumors persist over his uncertain future. According to many of Saturday's newspapers, the public support Piero Ausilio and Michael Bolingbroke offered him yesterday doesn't role out the possibility of a dismissal in the near future - should the three matches we have left between now and the November international break go badly then anything could still happen. That's at least what they're saying - it would be easy to laugh them off as part of their furious and shameless agenda against the foreigner they want to see fail, but the fact they’ve been so uniform in dismissing the vote of confidence for De Boer makes me think they must know something.
For sure, a win on Sunday evening against an under-performing but nonetheless dangerous Sampdoria outfit would be a very welcome boost to Frank as the world continues to speculate over his imminent-or-otherwise departure. Wednesday's win over Torino was accompanied by a convincing team performance, that suggested his players are still very much behind him, but our precarious position in the table means nobody can afford to relax just yet. The exams never finish in football, even less so when you're called Inter, so this is a game we must approach seriously, with caution but also confidence. This team is capable of beating anyone in this league, as it demonstrated against Juventus last month, but it's also capable of losing to anyone in this league, as it demonstrated against Cagliari two weeks ago. We're crazy right to the core and there is zero we can do about that, so my only advice to Interisti for this game is to expect nothing but prepare for everything. Another crucial 90 minutes are almost upon us.
Succes gewenst, Frank.
De Boer seems inclined to confirm the team that began the game against Torino, although there are two roles for which the Dutch coach is thought to be undecided. Davide Santon and Ivan Perisic are in contention to replace Yuto Nagatomo and Eder on the left-hand side of the team, but it remains more likely that both start again as substitutes. With Gary Medel still suspended the midfield will remain untouched, meaning a second consecutive start for Marcelo Brozovic. Also unavailable for Sunday's game are Geoffrey Kondogbia, Felipe Melo, Yao, Stevan Jovetic and Gabriel Barbosa, although the Brazilian forward is thought to have no physical problem; De Boer has simply chosen not to include him in the match-day squad for whatever reason.
As far as the home side is concerned, Marco Giampaolo - another coach who's under intense pressure to get a result from this match - is likely to revert to his first-choice XI after very helpfully (sarcasm klaxon) resting half of it during Samp's trip to the Juventus Stadium on Wednesday. Fabio Quagliarella and Luis Muriel will definitely return up front, both of whom found the net against us last season, but ex-Nerazzurro Ricky Alvarez is likely to start from the substitutes' bench in favour of Portuguese U21 international Bruno Fernandes.
Probable Starting XIs
Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Puggioni; Sala, Silvestre, Skriniar, Regini; Barreto, Torreira, Linetty; Bruno Fernandes; Quagliarella, Muriel.
Inter (4-3-3): Handanovic; Ansaldi, Miranda, Murillo, Nagatomo; Brozovic, Joao Mario, Banega; Candreva, Icardi, Eder.
How to Watch
TV: Sky Sport 1 HD, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Calcio 1 HD, PremiumSport HD (Italy); BT Sport 2 HD (UK).
Online: BT Sport Live Streaming (UK); beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A. (USA); Sky Go (Italy).