In a quicker turnaround than the usual once a week schedule for Inter Milan at this point of the season, the high-flying Nerazzurri will be traveling to Parma with sights set on keeping their gap at the top of the table at a minimum of four points on Thursday. With a big match coming on the following Monday against Atalanta, Inter could find themselves caught up in a trap game sort of situation against Roberto D’Aversa’s side. Both Milan and Juventus have shown signs of life in recent matches, so setting the pace with another win in a match where Antonio Conte’s team are heavily favored will be imperative, especially ahead of a match against a fellow top team in Atalanta.
Having ended the Fabio Liverani project in early January, Parma have not seen much improvement after the reappointment of D’Aversa. They have yet to win a match under the German-born Italian, with only three points by way of three draws in 2021. This form has left Parma second from bottom in the table and fading increasingly farther from safety. However, two of their draws have come in their last two matches against Udinese and Spezia.
While Parma have had their struggles since sweeping through the leagues after their liquidation, they have given Inter fits. The Nerazzurri have dropped points in three of the five matches between the two since 2018, including this season's 2-2 draw at San Siro while Inter were still finding their feet in a horrid October. Also ominously, former Inter winger Yann Karamoh scored in last weekend’s draw against Spezia. However, the hosts will be missing Gervinho, who always seems to show up against Inter. Other notable absences for Parma will be Andreas Cornelius and young Bayern product Joshua Zirkzee. It may not be the strongest Parma side on Thursday, but Inter still have a history of making these kinds of fixtures much more work than they seem to be on paper.
This Inter team has been earning plaudits far and wide lately. From the renaissance of Christian Eriksen to the stellar work of the defense, to the attacking prowess of the front two of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, there is so much to like about this team right now. The continuance of their unbeaten streak in a sound 3-0 beating of Genoa put more space between the Nerazzurri and current titleholders Juventus, though second-place Milan earned an important win against Roma away.
The great form of the team and the relative space between fixtures compared to those still in other competitions has allowed for the team sheet to pick itself. The team that runs out on Thursday should be nearly the exact same as the team that defeated Genoa. The only change should be the reintroduction of Achraf Hakimi after a one-match ban, though Matteo Darmian slotted in well as cover over the weekend, scoring a goal and putting in a commendable performance. The only other question will be in the midfield, where Arturo Vidal is healthy and competing to take his starting spot back from Christian Eriksen, who could be rested ahead of a more open match against Atalanta.
1-2 (A) - 28/06/2020
2-2 (H) 31/10/2020
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Parma 1-3 Inter
While Parma have given Inter issues in recent seasons, the bad form of the hosts mixed with some key absences will be too much to overcome against a fully fit and firing Inter side. However, it would not be a match against a past player without a goal. Yann Karamoh should carve out a chance or two and maybe contribute to a goal, but it will likely be a consolation with Inter’s attack firing as it has been. A rested Hakimi will be huge for Inter, as his explosiveness and focus should be back after a few shaky outings in which he still contributed to goals, a testament to the quality of the Moroccan. A comfortable win to keep the camp calm ahead of Atalanta would be valuable for the team and their lead at the top of Serie A.