With the midweek fixtures and awkward Monday kickoffs in Serie A over until April, it’s back to one match a week for Inter Milan, who will travel to Turin to face relegation battling Torino. Everyone at Inter took a big boost out of the narrow win against a big opponent in Atalanta, but this week’s recent news on the injury front may take a little bit of wind out of their sails. However, with both Milan and Juventus active in European competition in the midweek, it may be a valuable moment to capitalize on the so called “advantage” everyone has been giving Inter for being in one lone competition for the rest of this season.
Torino come into the match off the heels of a disappointing 4-2 loss at the hands of fellow relegation candidates Crotone. A match in which Torino also lost a key midfielder in Tomas Rincon for the Inter clash due to a late sending off.
Not much has gone well for the club from Turin this season. A disappointing campaign led to the sacking of Marco Giampaolo, but the appointment of former Crotone, Udinese, and Genoa boss Davide Nicola has not done much for safety hopes. However, a string of decent draws and a win over fellow strugglers Cagliari has kept them within reach of safety, two points off of Cagliari with two games in hand.
To make the challenge of facing the league leaders even tougher, Torino will likely go into the match on a shortened bench. The suspension of Rincon along with injuries to captain Andrea Belotti, midfielder Wilfried Singo, and defender Nicolas Nkoulou will take some of the depth and quality out of an already struggling team.
Inter will travel to Turin with injuries and suspensions of their own, though the suspension in question was dished out to manager Antonio Conte on yellow card accumulation, not exactly a suspension usually associated with managers. Assistant Cristain Stellini will take Conte’s place on the sidelines for yet another match this season. He will no doubt be getting an earful from Conte in the stands the entire match, so spare a thought for his hearing at full time.
On the injury front, two midfielders that have played very crucial roles at different times this season will be missing at least from kickoff. Arturo Vidal has knee surgery that was announced as successful by the club on Thursday to relieve some meniscus issues. The Chilean will be out for about a month, most of which will be filled by international break. Recent key figure Christian Eriksen is dealing with some knee issues of his own. Inflammation in his left knee limited the Dane in training and will likely mean he is left on the bench for the match, bar any need for a comeback as in the first fixture between these two teams. This opens the door for a start by Roberto Gagliardini, though Stefano Sensi might have an outside shot at getting the nod.
While the injury news is a bit deflating, Inter are still enjoying a great run of form, most recently seen in the victory over Atalanta. Quality all around the pitch has taken the burden off of certain areas when they have not been at their best and full team performances have seen everyone fight for the shirt. Because of this and the absences for Torino, Inter should be able to push out a result even without a first choice midfield.
3-1 (H) - 13/7/2020
4-2 (H) - 22/11/2020
Prediction: Torino 1-2 Inter
Despite the injuries forcing Inter into a second choice midfield with Gagliardini most likely slotting in, the rest of the team is still fresh and have been playing together on this run of great form. This quality and momentum should see Inter through the match, though it may not be as simple of a match as it would seem on paper. Put down Torino’s Simone Verdi down for a goal while Hakimi and Lukaku look favorable to be Inter’s two goal scorers.