It hasn’t been an easy week for Inter Milan. Following a tough 1-0 loss in Turin to Juventus in the first Derby d’Italia of the year, the Nerazzurri only managed a 1-1 draw with PSV Eindhoven and found themselves dropped into the Europa League after a strong start in group play.
Now Inter, who sit third in Serie A behind Napoli and the Old Lady, find themselves needing some redemption to get back on track in league play to keep pace in the top four.
Enter Udinese. Here is a team Internazionale have struggled with, winning just two of their last seven matches at the Giuseppe Meazza against the team from Udine. In fact, it was Udinese who snapped the Nerazzurri’s unbeaten streak last season and started the midseason decline that forced Inter to win the last match of the season to even qualify for the Champions League.
Inter Milan news
On paper, it would seem that Inter Milan have a definite advantage over Udinese. Inter sit third in the league while Udinese are 17th, just two points above the relegation zone.
However, Udinese has been a thorn in the side of the Nerazzurri in the past.
“Our league has a lot of hidden difficulties and we’ll need to show determination,” said Inter boss Luciano Spalletti, in his pre-match news conference. “In our last few matches, one small detail has been enough to decide the result. We need to win to pick ourselves up straight away.”
Matias Vecino and Henrique Dalbert remain unavailable for Inter heading into Saturday while midfielder Radja Nainggolan is questionable. It is the latter that has proven to be an issue for Inter as the midfield has struggled to be creative and find space in his absence.
That said, it is likely that Spalletti will start a resurgent Joao Mario and Roberto Gagliardini Saturday after both were out of the mid-week match with PSV Eindhoven. This will allow Borja Valero to come off the bench if necessary.
It is also probable that Spalletti will rest struggling winger Ivan Perisic as the Croatian international has failed to produce in the first half of the season.
Probable lineup: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, de Virj, Asamoah; Brozovic, Gagliardini, Joao Mario; Politano, Icardi, Keita Balde.
Udinese had a good start to the season, but their latest form has been a struggle. So much so that ownership elected to change managers and bring in Davide Nicola in to run the show.
They squandered a lead against Atalanta in the last league round and suffered a 3-1 loss.
Udinese has won just two of their last 10 matches — including a 1-0 win over Roma. But, in that same time, they dropped a 2-1 decision at Empoli and managed draws with Sassuolo and Genoa.
But, they do have some kind of mojo over Inter at the San Siro as Inter have won just two of their last seven matches against Udinese at home, but the Nerazzurri have won their last five Serie A matches at home this season and haven’t suffered back-to-back setbacks since last February.
The biggest issue for Inter will be forward Kevin Lasagna who has scored in three of the last four Serie A matches at the Meazza — scoring two against Inter and one against AC Milan.
Probable lineup: Musso; Larsen, Nuytinck, Ekong; Ter Avest, Fofana, Behrami, Mandragora, D’Alessandro; De Paul; Lasagna.
Time and Date: 6 p.m. (Milan), 12 p.m. (EST), Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018
Where: Giuseppe Meazza (Milan)
How to watch: In the United States, the match will be live-streamed on ESPN+. If you are in the United Kingdom, you can watch the match on Eleven Sports 2 UK. In Italy, you can view the match on Sky Calcio 1 and Sky Supercalcio HD.
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