Bologna are this weekend’s visitors in a contest that provides Luciano Spalletti with yet another opportunity to turn things around and get back to winning ways. The problem with this statement however, is that it could have been applied to each of Inter’s previous two games and we all know how those games panned out - the Nerazzurri were lucky to come away with draws against teams they should be beating handily.
Stale, unimaginative, disjointed, and uninspired are just some of the adjectives that could be used to describe Inter’s recent performances. What has become very evident is a total lack of leadership on the pitch, as none of the current squad members have shown the capability to drag this team out of its current quagmire. The same can be said of Spalletti as he has shown a surprising inflexibility which is taking the team nowhere (other than outside the Champions League placings).
It might be wishful thinking but if Spalletti were to freshen things up by dropping players who have been either underperforming or struggling with confidence, he might find that the likes of Karamoh and Rafinha bring a breath of fresh air to this struggling team. Even if they do not, one cannot accuse him of not trying alternatives. What Inter needs right now is a direct approach and taking the game to the opposition. Lateral passes and aimless possession football is only going to bring boos from a San Siro that is likely to be on edge.
When Inter were flying high, playing at the San Siro in front of their vociferous fans provided the team with an extra fillip. However, now that the team is doing poorly, playing at home might prove to be a burden if the team does not start well, or concedes first. That is something that Roberto Donadoni will likely use to his advantage and try to put Inter under pressure right from the start.
Speaking of Bologna, Roberto Donadoni brings with him a squad that is filled with players who are capable of hurting Inter but have been somewhat inconsistent this season. The manager’s preferred formation is 4-3-3 with Simone Verdi leading the line. Verdi has been to Bologna what Icardi has been to Inter: six goals and eight assists. So what good fortune for Inter then that he is out injured for this game. In his absence, other players to watch for will be Blerim Dzemaili, and a quartet of ex-Inter players in Mattia Destro, Ibrahima Mbaye, veteran Rodrigo Palacio, and midfielder Andrea Poli. Another very influential member of this team is defensive midfielder Godfred Donsah who was widely tipped to leave during the January transfer window but has been retained until the end of the season at least.
Inter should be fully aware that their opponents, injuries notwithstanding, are fully capable of turning them over in this game. Having said all that, one does get the feeling that Inter’s biggest opponent lies in their own minds and not necessarily who they face on the pitch
Inter are undoubtedly the draw masters in Serie A at this moment. Five draws in a row and a loss before that means Inter’s recent form puts the team in a lowly 15th place considering the previous six games. Bologna on the other hand have no draws in their past six, with two wins and four losses. It is fair to say that Inter are not playing a team on a hot-streak but Spalletti’s team is currently redefining the term ‘winnable game’ and thus Bologna’s form is almost immaterial.
Record in last six matches (most recent result right-most):
While Inter have not lost to Bologna in any of their previous five Serie A games, all of them have been close contests, often decided by the odd goal.
For fans looking for a free-flowing encounter, unfortunately this game has all the makings of a cagey, dour affair. Spalletti is under increasing pressure to turn things around and this game once again presents him with a golden opportunity to do exactly that. One really has to hope that he tweaks the formation as expecting a different result without making any changes is bordering on the insane.
If Inter concedes first, this game will be a real test of character in front of a fan base that is already restless. It is also difficult to see a clean sheet as the team has made a habit of lapses in concentration, and individual mistakes. Inter’s biggest hope is the dangling carrot of Champions League football which might inspire the team once more. Prediction for this game is a messy 2-1 win to Inter to end this winless run.
Mauro Icardi is not expected to return to the starting lineup after recovering from the muscle injury that kept him out against Crotone. There are some reports of a training ground bust-up between Joao Cancelo and Spalletti but given the precarious position of the team, the manager would be wise to not drop one of the few bright spots for Inter (Inter Milan) in recent weeks. Aside from that, he should have a full complement of players to pick from.
Date & Time: Sunday, January 21st, 2018; 2:00 PM CEST (9:00 AM on the U.S. East Coast)
Location: Stadio Giuesseppe Meazza; Milan, Italy
TV/Streaming: For our fans in the US, the game will be shown on beIN Sports, beIN Sports Connect, Rai Italia America, fuboTV, and on iGol (online). Viewers in the UK can catch the match on BT Sport 3 and online via BT Sport Live. For fans in the rest of the world, please click here to find out your viewing options.
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