The start of the Serie A campaign for Inter Milan has not been up to everyone’s expectation. One win, one draw and two losses. An unexpected start from a side that was tipped to challenge Juventus for the Scudetto. Time is of the essence and Inter cannot afford to dwell on their past results and must look forward as they now enter a precarious stretch of seven games in 23 days.
The game against Parma ended in defeat but the colossal game on Tuesday against Tottenham Hotspur at the Giuseppe Meazza has been the most anticipated fixture since the fixture announcement. It has been six years since Inter had last played in the Champions League with fans and players eagerly anticipating the return of this prestigious event. The poor start to the campaign will be forgotten once the emotional Champions League anthem is played after the players walk out – even if for a moment.
Both teams will be heading into the Champions League in poor form with Tottenham Hotspur visiting Milan on the back of two losses from their last two Premier League games against Watford and Liverpool. Having failed to strengthen their squad in the summer and an over reliance on a fatigued Harry Kane has left the London club in a perilous situation and will be looking to put things right in their first Champions League game of the season. Having qualified for the tournament four times in their history, this is the first time the English team has played in three consecutive seasons having been knocked out in the group stages and Round of 16 in the past two seasons.
Fans will remember the two teams faced each other in the 2010-2011 season of the Champions’ League group stages, playing out a thrilling 4-3 match where Gareth Bale scored a hat trick to singlehandedly bring Tottenham Hotspur on the brink of one of the most famous comebacks in world football. Inter won the away fixture 3-0 that year. Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur subsequently met in the 2013 edition of the Europa League in the Round of 16. Tottenham beat the Nerazzurri on away goals after an enthralling two legged tie which ended 4-4.
Both teams have an injury list to contend with. Inter Milan look set to be without right back, Šime Vrsaljko who sustained a knee injury during the weekend match against Parma. Vrsaljko suffered a similar injury while on International duty during the World Cup and will not feature in the Champions’ League group game. We should see the return of Danilo D’Ambrosio from injury - who missed the game against Parma - to the starting line up with Kwadwo Asamoah continuing at left back. Luciano Spalletti will look to field a similar side that lost to Parma at the weekend in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Tottenham Hotspur will be missing Dele Alli and influential captain and goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris. The French captain has been out with a thigh injury that has kept out of Premier League games against Watford and Liverpool. The 22-year-old English midfielder withdrew from the England squad last Monday with a ‘minor muscle strain’. Michel Vorm will be a like for like replacement for the injured Hugo Lloris. Mauricio Pochettino started the returning Harry Winks against Liverpool over the weekend who could keep his place in midweek. Erik Lamela scored a consolation goal against Liverpool and could play in place of Lucas Moura who played the full 90 minutes.
Inter Milan’s Possible Starting Lineup: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Škriniar, De Vrij, Asamoah; Nainggolan, Brozović; Politano, Icardi, Perišić– 4-2-3-1
Tottenham Hotspur Possible Starting Lineup: Vorm; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Dembélé, Winks, Eriksen; Lamela, Kane – 4-1-2-1-2
This already seems like a must win game for Inter Milan. However in terms of the atmosphere around the team and the scrutiny that would mount should things go badly again on Tuesday, you can’t help but fathom the consequences after such an unconvincing start. Luciano Spalletti and co. must rally round and give the fans encouragement for the rest of the season. A decisive outing will ease the hearts and minds of supporters.
Prediction: Inter 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Date & Time: September 18, 2018,
Location: Giuseppe Meazza, Milan
TV/Streaming: In the U.S., the match will be live-streamed on Bleacher Report Live. In the U.K., the match is available on BBC Radio 5, BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 3. In Italy, the match is available to watch on Sky Calcio 2 and Sky Go Italia.
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