It has been quite a run for Inter Milan over the last week. Fresh off of Icardi-gate, or whatever you want to call the issues between the club and striker Mauro Icardi, the team has won their last four matches in all competition.
Now, Inter face another challenge when they travel to Florence to take on Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Inter will have to maintain the momentum it has seen over the last four matches in order to keep pace with a dangerous Viola side that has had an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions.
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We all know just what kind of a week it has been for the Nerazzurri.
However, Inter has been able to bounce back from a four-match winless streak to rattle off four consecutive victories – including a 5-0 aggregate win over Rapid Wien in the Europa League round of 16.
In between that, Inter has put together wins over Parma and Sampdoria to remain third overall in Serie A.
Sunday will mark another match where Icardi will likely not play. It will be the fourth match where the Argentinian striker will not be on the pitch following his loss of the captain’s armband.
That will mean Lautaro Martinez will start up top and Keita Balde could also earn a start after suffering an injury that has kept him out of Inter’s last four.
The team has seen a resurgence of Ivan Perisic and Matteo Politano could start over Balde, or replace him in the second half. It will be the wings where Inter will have to show its dominance.
In their last four, the Nerazzurri have found their offensive creativity, getting multiple players in involved. Andrea Ranocchia, Radja Nainggolan and Marcelo Brozovic have showed specific prowess in moving the ball up front. It will be the wings where Inter will have to dominate in order to prevail over Fiorentina.
With Germain Pezzella out of the match, it will provide the Inter attack opportunity to take advantage, if they can work the wings and find lanes between there and the center of the area.
Projected lineup: Handanovic; Soares, Skriniar, de Vrij, Dalbert; Brozovic, Gagliardini, Brozovic; Balde, Perisic; Martinez
Stefano Pioli’s crew have managed to string together an impressive streak of late – riding an eight-match streak without a loss in all competitions.
That was good enough to earn them a spot in the Coppa Italia semifinals and move them into 8th place in Serie A. They are three points back of Lazio and Atalanta for the second Europa League spot.
So, needless to say the Viola would love a win over Inter to keep their streak alive and keep pressure to teams above them as we head into the final stretch of the season.
It is likely that Pioli will be without the services of striker Luis Muriel, center-back German Pezzlla – who is out with a knee injury – and winger Kegin Mirallas – who suffered a calf injury. That will keep Giovanne Simeone up front in a 4-3-3 formation. Our brothers at Viola Nation also suggest that Marko Pjaca could see some time against the Nerazzurri, but when and how much is up for debate.
Fiorentina will look to dominate the midfield and take advantage of Inter in the center of the pitch. Doing that would lead to better scoring opportunities where the Viola could struggle against one of the best defenses in Serie A.
On the season, Fiorentina has scored 37 goals while its defense has let in 26.
Projected lineup: Lafont; Biraghi, Vitor Hugo, MIlenkivic, Ceccherini; Fernandes, Veretout, Benassi; Gerson, Simeone, Chiesa.
Time and Date: 2:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local time) Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019
Location: Stadio Artemio Franchi (Florence)
How to watch: If you are watching in the United States, you can see the match live on ESPN+ and Rai Italia America. In the United Kingdom, the match will be shown on Eleven Sports 2 UK and Premier Sports 1. In Italy, the match will be viewed on Sky Sport Uno, Sky Sport Serie A, Sky Supercalio HD, Sky Go Italia and Sky Calcio 1.
Click here to see how you can watch the match live anywhere in the world.
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