When: Monday, November 28th 3:00pm ET/ 9:00pm CET
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy.
After most of Serie A's chasing pack picked up wins during the weekend it is absolutely vital that Inter do the same against Fiorentina on Monday night, if they are to retain any chance whatsoever of staging a domestic comeback and qualifying for Europe again next season. This is going to be anything but easy for Stefano Pioli and his players though.
Firstly, we are, to put things mildly, a complete and utter shambles. It's very difficult to be confident of this team winning any game of football at the moment, because of the mental and physical block the players appear to have developed and which prevents them from playing properly for a full 90 minutes. Thursday's loss to Hapoel Be'er Sheva was a new low for them in this respect and further severed the tenuous relationship between players and fans, which will make for a very interesting atmosphere at San Siro and make things even harder for those on the pitch. If they want three points then they're going to have to do it the hard way is what I'm saying.
Secondly, there's our recent record against Fiorentina. The Viola are not having a terribly successful season themselves with a lot of inconsistent performances in the league and in Europe, and all is not well behind the scenes either with Paulo Sousa and the club no longer seeing eye to eye, but they have beaten us in each of our last four meetings and for that reason I fear this game very much. It's the easiest on paper out of this Milan-Fiorentina-Napoli run of games we had scheduled after the international break, but recent history and in particular last September's humiliating 4-1 defeat suggests it will be a very tough match itself
Without any logical reason to be optimistic I'm left to just desperately hope that Pioli can wave a magic wand and make all of our defects suddenly disappear, because if he can do that then perhaps our campaign isn't already over, but without that the next six months could be very painful indeed for us Interisti. A win against the team he spent five years with as a player would at least be a very small first step in the right direction.
Pioli is expected to name a similar team to the one that started in the derby, with Joao Mario and Geoffrey Kondogbia returning to midfield and Ever Banega returning to the substitutes bench after starting in Israel. Gary Medel's injury will sideline him for two months and his most likely replacement for this game is Andrea Ranocchia (yes, I know), but that's the only alteration we're expecting to see in the starting XI post-Milan. Davide Santon is the only other man unavailable for this game.
Paulo Sousa meanwhile should recall all his big guns after giving some of them a rest against PAOK Salonika on Thursday, which means a 4-2-3-1-ish system with Nikola Kalinic being preferred to Khouma Babacar. They have no major injury absentees and there should be no surprises in the team he names.
Probable Starting XIs
Inter (4-2-3-1): Handanovic; D'Ambrosio, Miranda, Ranocchia, Ansaldi; Joao Mario, Kondogbia; Candreva, Brozovic, Perisic; Icardi
Fiorentina (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Tomovic, Rodriguez, Astori, Milic; Borja Valero, Badelj; Tello, Ilicic, Bernardeschi; Kalinic
How to Watch:
TV: Sky Sport 1 HD, Sky SuperCalcio HD, Sky Calcio 1 HD & Premium Sport HD (Italy); BT Sport 1 HD (UK); beIN SPORTS & Rai International (USA)
(For other countries' streaming and broadcasting options see here)