Fresh (perhaps too fresh) off a dominant 3-1 win over Torino, Inter Milan travel to the Stadio Paolo Mazza to take on SPAL, which has not beaten Inter since 1962. Should that streak continue, Inter will be able to put some breathing room between it and Lazio, which stumbled yet again vs Udinese. Atalanta, though, still factor to challenge Inter for second after putting six(!) past Brescia (hey, maybe we aren’t so different from La Dea afterall). Actually, we are, but anyways, the table currently reads: Atalanta (70), Lazio (69), Inter (68). But enough of the numbers. Let’s move onto the the game.
Inter’s second half against Torino was excellent, and I for one would love to see that form hold strong as the norm for Inter. An undisturbed win here would only increase the confidence levels in Inter’s camp, even if it is SPAL on the other side of the pitch. Lautaro Martínez also could use a strong performance to piggyback the breaking of his slump Monday. The Argentine’s confidence looked restored (for the most part), but how this game goes could set the tone for the rest of his season. Meanwhile, Inter will be having a reunion of sorts with the man on SPAL’s bench.
Luigi Di Biagio is SPAL’s current manager, and a former Inter player. The 49-year-old played in Milan for four years (1999-2003) as a defensive mid, making 163 appearances with 18 goals. Now, though, Di Biagio is in a much more uncomfortable situation. SPAL is dead last, a whopping eleven points out of safety. It seems as though the team has given up as well, or at least was fully intent on exerting the least amount of energy possible in it’s last match, a loss to Genoa. All hope seems to have fizzled out of SPAL since a disastrous 94th minute own goal turned an early 2-0 lead into a draw against Milan. Since that unfortunate incident, SPAL has been outscored 9-0 by Udinese, Sampdoria, and Genoa. Not exactly the opponents you would accept losses of such magnitude against. About the only bright spot on this roster is Andrea Petagna, but even he is only on loan from Napoli. With 12 goals, he has over half of SPAL’s total tallies this season. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that SPAL has 23 goals this season. That is...not a lot, to say the least.
Predicted Starting XIs
- I don’t think there’s any reason to risk Lukaku with Roma coming up on Sunday. I’m also excited to again see what Sánchez and Lautaro can accomplish together.
- Stefan de Vrij has started the last five matches, and SPAL seems like the ideal opponent to rest the 28-year-old against.
- There’s a bit of a revolving door at center back, as Diego Godín is suspended for yellow card accumulation, while Alessandro Bastoni returns from a red card against Bologna.
Prediction: SPAL 1-4 Inter Milan
In a perfect world, Inter will breeze through SPAL, with Lautaro regaining all of his wayward confidence thanks to a hatrick. It’s unlikely to be that simple (hi Pazza Inter!), but that may not be too far off from the actual outcome. Petagna could cause some problems, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the hosts at least ended up on the scoresheet.