After taking sole control of first place with a resounding victory over Cagliari, Simone Inzaghi’s Inter will look to secure itself at the top with a visit to Salernitana. The Granata are the only team below the Sardinians and have a mere eight points from 17 rounds. It’s already watching safety slip further and further away and looks destined to finish 20th by a lengthy margin.
Salernitana was promoted to the top flight for the first time in 23 years last season after finishing second in Serie B. It relied heavily on a rock-solid defense and scored the fewest goals of the top eight teams in Serie B. As you might expect, that sort of style wasn’t going to procure the same results against Serie A attacks. The man behind the promotion, Fabrizio Castori, lasted just three games at the helm in Serie A before Stefano Colantuono replaced him, But in a surprise to absolutely no one (except Salernitana’s board apparently) the results have failed to improve. Salernitana’s glaring lack of quality continues to rear its head and a very strong argument could be made that none of their starters would make the XI on any other team in the league. The side from Salerno is on an eight-game winless run, scoring just once throughout that span. Despite the best efforts of an aging Franck Ribery, its attack is the worst in the league with a disastrous eleven goals in seventeen games. Federico Bonazzoli is the leading scorer with three goals while summer signings Simy (1g, 1a) and Ribery (0g, 2a) have yet to make a real impact at the Stadio Arechi.
The situation isn’t much better in the defensive third either. Salernitana has kept one clean sheet all season against a frail Genoa attack and has conceded the second most in Serie A, only one goal behind Spezia’s tally of 38 goals against. This combination of struggles on both ends results in Salernitana ranking highly in the unwatchability categories. It has the fewest passes completed, the lowest pass accuracy, the third-fewest shots, and the fourth-fewest presses in Serie A. In other words, Salernitana bunkers quite unsuccessfully and wants nothing to do with the ball. They lack any semblance of quality in the final third. If you're looking for the perfect argument to reduce Serie A to 18 teams, search no further.
Inter rebounded nicely from a demoralizing defeat to Real Madrid with a business-like win over Cagliari that sent the Nerazzurri into first. The good guys will have two more opportunities (away to Salernitana, home vs Torino) to solidify its one point advantage over Milan before the curtain closes on 2021.
Inter has played the Granata just twice in the top flight, splitting the series with a win each in the 1998/99 season.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Salernitana 0-3 Inter Milan
Anything less than a repeat of the Cagliari game will be a bit of a disappointment. Salernitana can’t hold a candle to Inter anywhere and the Nerazzurri should roll over the newly promoted side with ease. Goals from Edin Dzeko, Lautaro Martinez, and Marcelo Brozovic will seal the deal and keep Inter at the top.