Inter Milan travel to 18th place SPAL 2013 on Sunday afternoon looking for their first league win in over a month and a half. After making it all the way to mid-December without losing a match, Inter are now in search of their first win in six games and risk falling even further down the Serie A table if they don’t grab all three points against Leonardo Semplici’s SPAL.
As Luciano Spalletti said at today’s press conference, “Whereas in the past you told me we needed to keep winning, now we have to return to winning ways.”
The Inter manager will have two new faces to help him do just that, new signings Lisandro Lopez and Rafinha.
SPAL, despite finding themselves in a relegation-zone spot, can be somewhat plucky against better teams. So far this season they’ve earned points against the likes of Lazio, Fiorentina, Torino, and Atalanta.
This SPAL side don’t have too much of a hard time finding the back of the net: their 22 goals this season behind danger-man Mirco Antenucci (6 goals, 5 assists) are the most of any team below 12th in the table.
Their main problem is that SPAL bleeds goals. After 21 matches, the Biancazzurri have hemorrhaged 39 goals — nearly two per game. The Stadio Paolo Mazza, with a capacity of only 13,000, doesn’t seem to be much of a fortress...
Inter, meanwhile, can hardly afford to waste a good opportunity for three points at the moment. With no players missing through injury or suspension, Luciano Spalletti should like his chances.
A couple interesting starting XI dilemmas could arise for this trip to SPAL. Firstly, Yuto Nagatomo could return to the starting left-back spot after Davide Santon’s poor performance vs. Roma that included making an error that led directly to Stephan El Shaarawy’s goal. Sky Sports’ Giuseppe Bergomi made a good point midweek:
#Bergomi: "Nagatomo needs to start at left-back. how many times do you see Perisic asking Santon 'come forward, come forward', and he never does? Perisic never has any space to play when the full-back doesn't overlap, there are always two men on him"@SkySport ⚫ pic.twitter.com/RuktG3BhTR— Serpents of Madonnina (@SerpentsOfInter) January 26, 2018
Additionally, could Rafinha immediately insert himself into the trequartista role to inject pace and creativity into the team, which would surely see Borja Valero drop back into one of the defensive midfield positions?
Damn, does he look good in Inter gear. It’ll be interesting to see how Spalletti employs his new signings.
While SPAL gave the Nerazzurri more trouble than expected at the San Siro in September, Inter should win handily this time around. Per usual, I like the prospect of Icardi, Candreva, and Perisic bearing down on a lower-tier back three.
My prediction is Inter 3-0 SPAL.
Date & Time: Sunday, January 28th, 2018; 12:30 PM CEST (6:30 AM on the U.S. East Coast)
Location: Stadio Paolo Mazza; Ferrara, Italy
TV/Streaming: In the U.S., the game is available on beIN Sports 4, with streaming through beIN Sports Connect and fuboTV. In the U.K., the match will be shown on BT Sport Live and BT Sport 3. Click here to find out where you can watch the match everywhere else in the world.
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