Date: Saturday, April 23 2016
Time: 2:45 ET / 20:45 CET
Venue: San Siro, Milan; Italy
The disappointing defeat away to Genoa on Wednesday evening has almost certainly ended Inter's hopes of qualifying for next season's UEFA Champions League, with seven points now separating the Nerazzurri from a Francesco Totti-inspired Roma and just 12 still up for grabs. However if anyone believes that there is nothing left to play for in these last four matches then they would be very much mistaken, as there is still the not insignificant matter of a fourth-place finish to fight for between now and 15 May.
This may not excite or interest many supporters who were still holding out unrealistic hopes of snatching third place back at the last minute, but there is a big difference indeed between finishing fourth and finishing fifth, and that difference is called Europa League Qualifying. Staying ahead of Fiorentina (who are just two points back and have ended each of the last three league seasons fourth) would allow Inter to skip the tiring slog of preliminary rounds that require you to start your season as early as July, as well as sparing all of us fans the summer-destroying tedium of matches against FC Flibbertigibbet. On top of this, we would also avoid having to sheepishly cancel the money-spinning summer friendlies we have lined up against Bayern Munich and PSG - in other words, let's just finish fourth.
To do so, we must look to drop as few points as possible in our remaining four games, starting with a deceptively straightforward-looking home clash with Udinese on Saturday night. The Bianconeri are just about safe from relegation now after a terrible run of form between January and March had brought them back into the picture, but that doesn't mean they will be happy to turn up at San Siro and roll over for us. Gigi De Canio has injected new belief into the team since replacing the sacked Stefano Colantuono and led them to prestigious victories against Napoli and Fiorentina, which means we will have to be at our best to avoid being on the receiving end of an upset ourselves.
This match last season saw the triumphant return of Andrea Stramaccioni and Dejan Stankovic to San Siro, who left with all three points thanks to our inexplicable second-half collapse, while this season's fixture will contain three former friends who've gone on to pastures new in Giovanni Pasquale, Felipe and Zdravko Kuzmanovic. That's right - Lord Kuz is back, and it's going to be brilliant. If the prospect of seeing him walk out to rapturous applause from the crowd that used to worship him hasn't got you excited about this match, then quite frankly nothing will. I know I'll have a tear in my eye.
Inter (4-2-3-1): Handanovic; D'Ambrosio, Miranda, Murillo, Nagatomo; Melo, Kondogbia; Ljajic, Jovetic, Perisic; Icardi
Udinese (3-4-1-2): Karnezis; Heurtaux, Danilo, Wague; Widmer, Badu, Kuzmanovic, Pasquale; Bruno Fernandes; Zapata, Thereau
How to Watch
TV: beIN Sports (U.S. & Canada), BT Sport 1 HD (UK), Sky Sport 1 HD & PremiumSport HD (Italy), RAI International
Online: Fubo TV, beIN Sports Connect (U.S. & Canada), Sky Go Italia (Italy)