There is only one acceptable result for Inter this weekend: WIN. Everyone can find different reasons for this team's recent slump, like bad luck, insanely good performances by the opponent's goalkeeper. Bad officiating, too. But at this point, it's irrelevant. They need to win. And they must do it now.
The Nerazzurri will face a team that have under-performed all season long and that have changed manager since the last time those two squads have met each other. The quality of the players of these two sides is not comparable, and that's why Inter has no excuse to drop points this time. Even if Mancini has tried to move the expectation's bar a little lower than what the media said about his team, it's time to acknowledge the quality of this Inter squad and demand more from them. Probably Mancini is starting to worry about the situation of his creation and maybe that's why he wanted to go on a ritiro with his men to work more closely and recover the lost chemistry.
Mancio, as always, looked very calm in the pre-game press conference even though he was asked a lot of off-the-field questions that could have made him lose his usual cool. He didn't want to reveal his choices about who to send on the pitch from the first minute, but, answering another question, he hinted at the possibility of moving back the wingers and make them play as side midfielders, to obviate at the suspended players problem. Perisic and Biabiany may be the ones chosen to do that, but I would be very surprised to see Eder on the bench against his former team, despite his not-so-good game against Fiorentina last Sunday. Palacio's absence would be a strange thing too, but the fact that only three senior true midfielders -- Melo, Brozovic and Gnoukouri -- are available for this match could force Mancini to switch from his signature 433 formation to a different one.
Fortunately for the Nerazzurri Juventus were forced to a draw by a reborn Bologna team. It's a good thing for two reasons: the first is the more obvious one, i.e. the fact they dropped two points giving Inter the possibility to bring them a little closer, but it's also a lucky event because with that draw the Bianconeri interrupted their 15 consecutive wins streak, losing the possibility to match the record, hold by Mancini's 2006/07 Inter, of 17. Oh, and they play Bayern too next week, so let's hope they put more energy in that game instead of the one against Inter.
Projected starting XIs
Inter: Handanovic; D'Ambrosio, Miranda, Murillo, Nagatomo; Brozovic, Felipe Melo; Perisic, Eder, Palacio; Icardi;
Sampdoria: Viviano; Cassani, Ranocchia, Silvestre, DeSilvestri; Barreto, Fernando, Soriano, Dodò; Muriel, Quagliarella;
How to Watch
TV: beIN Sports (U.S. & Canada), Sky Calcio 1 (Italy), Sky Sport 1 (Italy), PremiumSport HD (Italy), RAI International
Online: Fubo TV, beIN Sports Connect (U.S. & Canada), Sky Go Italia (Italy)