Inter’s 1-2 defeat to Juventus in the Coppa Italia semifinals stung, but the Nerazzurri have a chance to rebound just three days later when it travels to Fiorentina, incidentally Inter’s Round of 16 opponent.
Not much has changed in the Viola camp since Inter’s extra-time win back on January 13th. Fiorentina has lost 6-0 to Napoli, beaten Crotone 2-1, and tied Torino 1-1. Cesare Prandelli’s side is up to 12th place on 22 points, 7 ahead of the drop zone. Finding the back of the net remains a problem, with Fiorentina finding three goals in as many games. Dusan Vlahovic and Franck Ribery have one apiece and the striker pair could cause Inter the most trouble Friday. Sofyan Amrabat has notched up a level in midfield and muffling his bursting presence could shut down La Viola, especially with Gaetano Castrovilli unavailable.
With Milan facing a straightforward clash against bottom dwellers Crotone, Inter won’t be given any favors in its chase to catch the league leaders and close the two point gap. Juventus, on the other hand, faces AS Roma, and Inter could separate from one of the two with a win. But some attention is surely on the Coppa Italia second leg this coming Tuesday, with Inter needing to overturn a 2-1 deficit in Turin.
- 4-3 (H), 9/26
- 1-2 (A), 1/13 (Coppa Italia)
Predicted Starting XIs
Fiorentina will be dealing with two major absences. Nikola Milenkovic and Gaetano Castrovilli picked up straight red cards in Fiorentina’s most recent match against Torino. Prandelli could replace them with Igor and Erick Pulgar, respectively. Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi sat out Tuesday’s Coppa fixture so will be 100% for this one. Fiorentina has proven to be a tricky customer for Inter, so not much squad rotation is expected as the Nerazzurri need all three points. Christian Eriksen’s recent form could see him get the start, however, and replace Marcelo Brozovic.
Prediction: Fiorentina 1-2 Inter Milan
Like the previous times these sides have met this season, I see this fixture going down to the wire. A brace from Romelu Lukaku should send the victory Inter’s way, but not without some major obstacles supplied by Fiorentina.