While Real Madrid ended a run of three consecutive wins in the Champions League for Inter Milan, the Nerazzurri will be looking to extend a run of eight unbeaten in Serie A against relegation candidates Cagliari on Sunday. A win in this match he match could serve as a bit of a recalibration for Inter after a disappointing result away from home in Europe and allow Inter to keep up the pressure on league leaders AC Milan.
Inter are of course coming into this match having finished second in their Champions League group. Advancing in Europe’s premier competition serves as a goal well achieved early in Simone Inzaghi’s Inter career. He is also just a week off of his biggest win so far as manager, the 3-0 rout of Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. Currently in second place in Serie A, Inter are hot on the tails of Milan thanks to the Nerazzurri’s recent league form, one point behind in the standings. While Milan face a bottom half team as well in Udinese, Inter still need a win to keep Napoli behind them and Milan within striking distance.
Stefan de Vrij may be fit to return to the team, but Matteo Darmian, Joaquin Correa, Andrea Ranocchia, and now possibly Denzel Dumfries, who exited this week’s Champions League clash with a muscle problem, may to miss the matchup on Sunday. Despite the absences, Inter should be able to rotate and handle the match in the same professional fashion that they dispatched bottom half opposition Venezia and Spezia in recent matches.
Cagliari have only won once this season, but they have not lost in their past four matches, managing consecutive draws against Sassuolo, Salernitana, Verona, and Torino. This run has the Sardinian side currently sitting 18th in the league, two points from safety. However, their record against the top sides so far this season is that of a relegation side, with losses to Milan, Napoli, and Atalanta. It would take a herculean effort for the visitors to take points away from this trip to San Siro.
The Cagliari squad, managed by former Inter boss Walter Mazzarri, has a few familiar faces in it. Dalbert is currently on loan with the Rossoblu, while Keita Balde and Diego Godin are also on their books. Mazzarri has had a knack for causing chaos both as Inter manger and in revenge matches against Inter during his time at Torino. With his squad of other Inter castaways and linked players like Nahitan Nandez and Alessio Cragno, Mazzarri will be looking to cause Inter problems once again. The visitors may be without Nandez though, as he is recovering from injury. Also, special caution will need to be taken against striker Joao Pedro, who is a threat to any team in the league with his scoring prowess.
1-3 (A) - 13/12/2020
1-0 (H) - 11/4/2021
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Inter 2-0 Cagliari
This match should be a carbon copy of the wins against Venezia and Spezia. In those matches, Inter were able to retain massive amounts of possession and create enough shots to overpower their lesser opposition. Once they take the lead, the team goes into cruise control until the end of the match. As long as Inter can contain Keita and Joao Pedro, Cagliari should not be able to pose much of a threat. Scoring early would be great, and killing off the match early should be the goal. Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez will be likely to get on the scoresheet in this one. It would be great to get both strikers firing again going forward into a hectic holiday period.