While fires rage off the pitch across Europe, there is still football to be played for this season. Inter will look to shake off a tightly contested draw away to Napoli on Sunday as they face surprise side Spezia on Wednesday. The trip to the Stadio Alberto Picco has the chance to be perilous, as Milan experienced firsthand earlier in the season. Antonio Conte and his team will once again have an off-field controversy to tune out in order to get an away win against a plucky side.
Spezia have been a surprise to many around Serie A this season, as the lifetime lower league minnows stormed through the Serie B playoffs to win a shock promotion for the first time in the club’s history. They are putting together a fairytale story of promotion and survival that is a product of football’s openness and an opportunity that so many teams have been lucky to take hold of. While their recent form has not been the greatest, manager Vincenzo Italiano has almost completed the gargantuan task of keeping this small side up at the first time of asking, something that will mean a lot to the club and its fans.
On their shaky recent form, they are just coming off of a 4-1 loss at the hands of Bologna on Sunday, leaving them seven points above the drop zone. Before that, they did knock off bottom team Crotone in an entertaining 3-2 affair. In the first fixture between the two, Inter did grab a 2-1 win, but Spezia and their attacking style made it tough for stretches of the match. On their day, Spezia can pop up and surprise favored opposition, a testament to their tactical preparation.
Inter’s 1-1 draw with Napoli was rather tight, but seeing Christian Eriksen get his first Serie A goal of the season was a glowing positive. The winning run ends, but the unbeaten streak continues. Despite dropping points, Inter managed to put another point between themselves and Juventus, as the current league holders lost to Atalanta thanks to a late deflected goal. Milan gained two points on the league leaders but still sit nine points adrift.
Conte’s defend first tactics will be put to the test by Spezia’s attacking 4-3-3. Luckily, Inter will again have their first choice team available for this match, though some rotation may be expected on such a swift turnaround. Ivan Perisic has recovered from injury and will likely take his spot on the left back from Matteo Darmian, who was given a run of games recently. To win this match, Inter will need to execute their tried and true style of play. Defending resolutely against this attacking side and countering quickly will be crucial in putting up another three points for the club that was founded on inclusion.
2-1 (H) - 20/12/2020
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Spezia 0-2 Inter
This will be an open match that will benefit the quality of Inter on the counter, much like it did in the first match between the two. Inter’s speed in buildup play was also something that gave Spezia issues back in December. Speed will be a key, as well as not making any cheap giveaways against a side that is not afraid to get forward. This one may be tight for a half, but Inter should be able to capitalize on the chances they are bound to create.