Exactly one week after a famous Derby della Madonnina victory that shot them four points clear at the top of the Serie A table, Inter Milan will be back on the pitch at San Siro to face a resurgent Genoa. It took plenty of hard work for Antonio Conte’s men to successfully claw their way to the top of the league with some slim breathing room, including last Sunday’s 3-0 victory, but now the Nerazzurri will have to settle back in and hold their spot at the summit against a team that is playing some of their best football of the season.
More than one point clear at the top of the Serie A table for the first time this season, Inter come into this match having put the league on notice with their resounding derby victory which much has already been said about. Dominant defense, hard working midfield, and one of the premier strike partnerships in Europe, recent weeks have shown us the Inter Conte and the club’s management have been envisioning since the summer of 2019. There was even a performance by Samir Handanovic that looked like it had come straight out of 2015 for Inter’s captain and number one, who would have guessed that? When Inter are in this form, it is hard to stop them. And with essentially just one match a week until May, bar the odd midweek Serie A fixture, there seems to be little that can stop the Nerazzurri.
The only change for the match will be for Achraf Hakimi, whose yellow card in the derby for a hard foul on Theo Hernandez rules him out through accumulation. Nearing this same fate are Marcelo Brozovic, Nicolo Barella, and Alessandro Bastoni, who are all one yellow card away from suspension. For Hakimi, the capable Matteo Darmian should be starting to the right of Barella. Besides the one suspension, all hands will be on deck, including Matias Vecino, who should be fit to make the bench after a lengthy knee surgery absence.
For a team that many favored for relegation at the turn of the year, Genoa have come storming back. The club’s managerial merry go round has once again landed on Davide Ballardini, and to great effect. The man in the aviator sunglasses has taken a club who have seen the depths of the relegation zone for much of the season and dragged them almost into the top half of the table in the space of just over three months.
Genoa have lost just once in Serie A since Ballardini took over in late December and have drawn with Atalanta while more recently defeating Napoli 2-1. They even took Juventus to extra time in the Coppa Italia. Key players in this run have been Mattia Destro, Eldor Shomurodov, and the ageless Goran Pandev. Inter will also have to look out for striker Gianluca Scamacca who has been linked with many of the league’s bigger clubs. Regardless of who plays, Ballardini’s team have proven that when they are playing well, they can go toe to toe with most anyone in the league.
0-3 (A) - 25/7/2020
0-2 (A) - 24/10/2020
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Inter 2-0 Genoa
Genoa will come to the San Siro as tough customers. A well drilled side that knows when to sit back and when to attack. However, Inter’s impressive run against Genoa in recent seasons should continue with a 2-0 win that may not be as comfortable as the scoreline suggests. Inter’s front two, now high on confidence, should continue their good work while an untouched defense should also keep up their recent successes. This should be another good game for Christian Eriksen, as Genoa will likely sit back at times, allowing the Dane to show his creative prowess while having to worry less about his defensive positioning and pressing, something he was able to enjoy against Benevento.