Getting three points against Chievo in the latest midweek round of Serie A was crucial for the Nerazzurri, but building up on that success may be even more important. Two crushing defeats against Juve and Milan in such little time could have sent this team into a spiral of jitters due to the urgency of winning. Thankfully, the team reacted immediately, playing their best football in a while. Unfortunately they weren't able to score more than one goal, and the umpteenth 1-0 of the season didn't erase all the doubts this squad has raised in the last month. That's why is so important to show some continuity, especially against a not-so-dangerous team like Verona.
The Scaligeri are going through the best period of their season so far considering that they have just won their first league match this week and they also collected 6 out of their total 14 points in the last 4 Serie A games, so Inter are a bit unlucky to have to face them right now. On the other hand, a team like Inter shouldn't be bothered by the worst team in the league if they plan to battle with the top teams to earn a spot in the Champions League next season.
Mancini will be back from his one match ban give to him after the derby, and in the pre-game press conference he seemed really calm even if his team is going through a so-so period of form. He praised the squad for their effort and their plays in the match against Chievo, but he stated once again that his players -- his forwards in particular -- need to be more precise and cynical with their finishing. They created 24 goal scoring chances but converted just one of them and that could have costed them the win in the final minutes, when the opposition pushed hard to get the equalizing goal. When asked who will be in the starting XIs this Sunday, given that Miranda is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow of the season against Chievo, Roberto gave out 5 names: Handanovic, Kondogbia, Icardi, Murillo and Juan Jesus. The first four are not a surprise. Their presence makes sense because they all played well on Wednesday, even the Frenchman, who may finally be going through his Renaissance after a disappointing, yet totally predictable, first half of the season. In terms of Juan Jesus, assuming that he will play as centre-back, this choice is a risk Mancio is taking. The only time he was on the field in that role alongside Murillo, the two were an absolute nightmare together, even if their opponents were one of the least intimidating team of the league, Carpi. With that said, I also respect the choice to not move back Medel to play as a defender because of his height, which could be an issue against two tall strikers like Pazzini and Toni, who are very good with headers.
Whoever Mancini chooses to field in the midfield and in the full-back position, I hope they give the same intensity and quality that the ones who played on Wednesday provided. Nagatomo and Telles were constantly running up and down the field, and they also provided a lot of crosses trying to find one of the strikers ready to put the ball in the back of the net. Even if that didn't worked exactly like it should have, the fact that they were always putting pressure on the opponent's defense allowed Inter to concede very little space for attacking to the Chievo players and helped their teammates build up their maneuvers with more poise too.
Projected Starting XIs
Hellas Verona: Gollini; Gilberto, Moras, Helander, Pisano; Wszolek, Marrone, Ionita, Emanuelson; Juanito Gomez, Toni;
Inter: Handanovic; D'Ambrosio, Murillo, Juan Jesus, Telles; Brozovic, Felipe Melo, Kondogbia; Eder, Icardi, Ljajic;
How to Watch
TV: beIN Sports (U.S. & Canada), Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD, PremiumSport HD (Italy), RAI International
Online: Fubo TV, beIN Sports Connect (U.S. & Canada), Sky Go Italia (Italy)