After bouncing back from a couple of matches in which they dropped points with a win over Empoli, Inter Milan face Udinese at home on Sunday. Wednesday’s victory saw some minutes afforded to players who have not seen much of the pitch so far this season. This is a trend we may see continue this weekend as Simone Inzaghi and his team set their sights firmly on an important Champions League fixture away to Sheriff Tiraspol. Though a crucial fixture lies ahead, it will be important for Inter not to get caught up in a sort of trap match.
Beating Empoli away from home brought a sigh of relief to a squad that needed a positive result after an especially disappointing 1-1 draw with Juventus at home. With squad rotation bringing in the likes of Danilo D’Ambrosio and Alexis Sanchez, the trend is expected to continue into the Udinese match. Joaquin Correa, Arturo Vidal, and Andrea Ranocchia are all probable starters as Inzaghi attempts to keep the entire squad fresh and involved ahead of another Champions League adventure.
In recent seasons, the Nerazzurri have found Udinese to be a tough nut to crack defensively. Last season, Udinese were the only team to keep Inter off the scoresheet in Serie A, given it was at the Dacia Arena. The last home match against Udinese was matchday 38, when Inter had the title already wrapped up. The match was more of a championship procession than a competition, so it will be interesting to see if Inter can break down Udinese when it matters.
Udinese have really struggled as of late. The Friulians are winless in their last seven, their last victory coming back in early September against Spezia. Since then, they have drawn four consecutive after losing their three prior matches on the bounce. They sit just four points above the relegation zone, but a somewhat safe 14th on the table. Their biggest result of the season so far has been a 2-2 draw at home with Juventus, proving that they can still hang with the bigger teams on their day.
Former Milan player Gerard Deulofeu is in doubt for the match but still may be given the start. This would be huge for the visitors because any kind of pace going forward this season has given Inter trouble at times in defense. Former Verona keeper Marco Silvestri has settles well at the club and can put in a great goalkeeping performance on his day. Nonetheless, manager Luca Gotti will have his work cut out for him.
5-1 (H) - 23/5/2021
0-0 (A) - 23/1/2021
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Inter 3-1 Udinese
Though this could be a trap match for Inter with the Sheriff match coming up, the Nerazzurri should handle this one rather well. A new look Udinese without Rodrigo De Paul will be different than what we have seen in the past. Look for Dzeko to continue his scoring record and for Correa to return to form. Watch out for the speedy Deuloefeu if he starts.