Inter head into week 4 with a 100% record and an excellent chance to make it four wins on the bounce, with this weekend's trip to Crotone. In fact, Inter have better than decent odds to head into the Milan derby seven wins out seven. However, Inter's failure to achieve pre-season goals over the past few seasons has been mostly down to lack of consistent results (three points) in the supposed lower profile games.
Why this match is important:
While the big games and derbies will always grab the limelight, it is weekends such as this that will truly determine how far this team can go. Inter's ability to fight for the Champions League places and keep Juve and Napoli honest at the top depends on being able to come away from such trips with three points. While the big games and derbies will always grab the limelight, it is weekends such as this that will truly determine how far this team can go.
One of the reasons Luciano Spalletti's appointment was hailed as Inter's best signing was his ability to navigate matches such as this with little to no drama and get the players motivated to put in a real shift. If Inter can come away with a "boring" 1-0 victory that would be just what the doctor ordered as far as the Nerazzurri faithful are concerned.
“The team must be confident but be aware of the risks of complacency,” he said in his news conference Friday. “In the last match against SPAL, I saw the right attitude. The result wasn’t to be taken for granted and the boys behaved correctly, I’m sure that it will be the same tomorrow.”
Spalletti said it was key for the Nerazzurri to not get tripped up against Crotone and take them lightly.
“We can’t consider matches such as this one to be less important, we still have 35 matches to play and they’re all important and they must all be approached in the best of ways,” Spalletti said. “I know (Crotone manager Davide) Nicola well, I know that he’s a coach who’s very good at motivating his players and he showed that last year. The team follows his instructions to the letter and Crotone will be a tough opponent to face.”
In his pre-match news conference, Nicola said his side have to press the issue, even against Inter.
“We have to try and get points everywhere we can, even against Inter. I’d be worried if we weren’t scoring goals because we weren’t creating chances, but we do create chances,” Nicola told Ansa (per FCInterNews.it) Our forwards will come good during the season. Against strong teams like Inter, we have to be practical and brave.”
Head to head matchup:
Inter have played Crotone only on two previous occasions, both last season. Inter beat the then-Serie A newcomers 3-0 at the San Siro but lost 2-1 away which pretty well summed up the wretched end to last season's campaign. Two matches are far too little to draw any inference from, but last season's away defeat should provide a timely reminder that squads on paper do not win three points.
About this weekend's opponents:
Crotone find themselves expectedly near the bottom of the table with just one draw (against Hellas Verona) and two defeats. They are the only team yet to find the back of the net in this year's campaign. All this points to Inter coming away with a clean sheet and improving their goal difference some more.
Inter should really be able to come away with a 2-0 win at the very least and anything less than three points would be considered a failure. I would be very surprised if one of Icardi or Perisic were not on the score sheet.
This week also saw the start of Europa League group stages with the likes of Milan, Lazio, and Atlanta in action. Why is this noteworthy? Inter have no Europa league distraction this season and should take full advantage of this to try and pull away from the likes of Milan and Lazio as they potentially feel the effects of playing Thursday night games on their Serie A campaign.
When – Saturday, September 16
Location – Stadio Ezio Scida (Capacity: 16,547), Crotone
Time – 3 PM Local Time (9 AM US Eastern Time)
TV / Streaming options – In the U.S, viewers have the following options - fuboTV, beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A., Rai Italia America. Click here to get TV options for other markets
Inter squad info:
Goalkeepers: Handanovic, Padelli, Berni;
Defenders: Ranocchia, Miranda, Dalbert, D'Ambrosio, Skriniar, Nagatomo, Vanheusden;
Midfielders: Gagliardini, Joao Mario, Vecino, Borja Valero, Brozovic;
Forwards: Icardi, Karamoh, Eder, Perisic, Candreva, Pinamonti.
All the data and trends point toward a positive weekend for Inter, here's hoping that plays out on the field as well - Forza Inter!