Inter Milan has a shot to get back in the race to claim the top spot out of Group B in the Champions League when they take on Barcelona at the Meazza Tuesday.
A win and the Nerazzurri will go level on points with the Catalans at nine. Tottenham Hotspur and PSV Eindhoven are both bottom of the group with just one point apiece.
Now, even a loss doesn’t take Inter out of contention, but it would all but secure Barcelona’s place in the Round of 16. If Inter loses, they would need a win against PSV to virtually lock in a spot in the knockout stage.
Inter team news
On the injury front, Radja Nainggolan is healthy and ready to play — heck he even scored in the few minutes he played against Genoa over the weekend.
Because Mauro Icardi, Matias Vecino, Antonio Candreva and Kwadwo Asamoah all got rest over the weekend, I would expect them all to start against Barcelona.
However, an interesting predicament for Luciano Spalletti is the surging play of midfielder Joao Mario. It appears Mario realizes it isn’t likely anyone of significance is going to take him, so it would be best to earn his way with the Nerazzurri. Matteo Politano has also been a bright spot, but I suspect he would come off the bench. With Sime Vrsaljko starting to pick things up, SPalletti may elect to rest Stefan de Vrij against the Catalans.
As a team, Inter are riding about as high as they were this same time last season when they were in the midst of a 16-match unbeaten streak. They have won seven straight league matches and have only lost once — to Barcelona — in their last 10 matches. Their six league goals allowed is the lowest in Serie A.
Speaking of defense, I really hope Marcelo Brozovic has another opportunity to lay out on a free kick like the last time these two teams played.
Inter Milan's Marcelo Brozovic brings out his 'crocodile move' at home pic.twitter.com/0i9d6BuGUV— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) November 4, 2018
Projected lineup: Handanovic; Vrsaljko, Skriniar, Miranda, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic; Candreva, Nainggolan, Perisic; Icardi.
Barcelona team news
The biggest issue for Barcelona is whether Lionel Messi will start, play or sit on the side watching his son draw pictures of Juventus’ logo.
Messi's son, busy drawing the Juventus logo.....— Juvefc.com (@juvefcdotcom) October 25, 2018
Messi has been out of action since suffering a broken arm in a match vs. Sevilla on Oct 20. He was out of last time Inter and Barca played at Camp Nou.
He was initially ruled out for three weeks following the injury but has recently returned to practice and could play Tuesday.
”Leo’s at the point where he might be available, but we have to wait until after the training session [on Monday to decide],” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said in a news conference. “We have to see if he’s OK to play. In terms of his play and his movements, he’s fine, but we have to wait. Of course, it’s necessary to get him back as soon as possible -- it’s always better if he’s there.”
Barcelona have won the last three matches without Messi — against Inter, Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano last weekend.
The last time out Rafinha Alcantara proved to be Inter Milan’s bane and while Messi may be ready, I could see him coming off the bench if Valverde feels the match is in question. A win and Barcelona pretty much secures their spot in the Round of 16. A loss and it is still a strong possibility they move through, but the position could be a question.
Thomas Vermaelen, Samuel Umtiti and Sergi Samper will likely not see the pitch as they continue to battle injuries.
Projected lineup: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Rafinha, Suarez, Coutinho.
Time and date: 3 p.m. (ET) Tuesday, Nov. 6
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (Milan, Italy)
How to watch: In the United States, you can stream the match on Bleacher Report Live or sign up to get a subscription to Fubo TV and catch the match on Univision USA or Univision Deportes USA. In the United Kingdom, the match will be on Talksport 2 Radio UK and on BT Sport ESPN and BT Sport Live. In Italy, you can watch the match on Sky Sport Uno, Sky Calcio 2 and Sky Go Italia.
Click here to get a full listing of how you can watch the match.
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