While the Scudetto was met with rampant celebrations both in Milan and Appiano, a week of partying has done nothing to slow the Italian champions down; in its first outing since clinching the title, a heavily rotated Nerazzurri steamrolled Sampdoria 5-1. Next up for Inter is a more strenuous visit of Roma to the San Siro in the final midweek fixture of the season. But even against a club of the Giallorossi’s caliber, the good vibes will look to remain with the biscione ahead of a weekend showdown against Juventus.
Back when these teams met in the reverse fixture, Roma was solidly lodged in the top four and within three points of the Nerazzurri. Paulo Fonseca’s side boasted one of the best attacks on the peninsula, playing some of its best football yet. The story in Rome since, however, has resembled a multi-car pileup on the highway during a blizzard. The Giallorossi fell to 7th and 12 points out of the top four. Not only did the struggles against top clubs continue (two wins against teams in the top ten), but losses to the likes of Parma, Torino, and Cagliari have doomed Roma to yet another season without Champions League money. In fact, Roma will be competing in the debut season of the Conference League at best, with Sassuolo in 8th only two points behind.
With injuries ravaging the squad, Fonseca put all of his eggs into the Europa League basket in order to qualify for the UCL, leaving Serie A as an afterthought. While Roma was the last Italian club remaining in European competition and reached the final four of the EL, Manchester United was a mountain too tall for the Giallorossi to climb and the Red Devils came out 8-5 winners on aggregate. That was the last straw for the Friedkin ownership, who gave Fonseca notice that his contract won’t be renewed this summer. Jose Mourinho has since been announced as Fonseca’s successor, priming the Eternal City for a captivating 2021/22 season. But much like Inter, Roma has nothing left to play for in May.
Inter has a slight edge in the all-time record against Roma, leading the side from the capital 23W-27T-17L. The last six fixtures have ended in draws, however, including a 2-2 meeting back in January that saw Pellegrini and Mancini strikes at either end of the ninety cancel out goals from Skriniar and Hakimi.
- 2-2, 10/1/21
Predicted Starting XIs
If rumors are correct that the starting team versus Sampdoria was the same half of the squad that lost the inter-roster scrimmage last week, the winning team will start tomorrow. The only exception may be Alessandro Bastoni, with Kolarov unable to make the bench against Samp. Radu and Pinamonti could be set to get the go-ahead from the opening whistle after promising showings over the weekend, while the rest of the XI will more or less resemble a first-choice lineup. Roma doesn’t have the same freedom to experiment, as it's dealing with quite a few injuries. Spinazzola, Veretout, and Pau Lopez are just a few of the names out for the Giallorossi.
Prediction: Inter Milan 3-2 AS Roma
The fourth time is the charm for Antonio Conte, who will take the full three points from Roma for the first time as Inter manager. Lukaku and Mayoral will trade braces, with Alexis Sanchez sliding home the game-winner for the Nerazzurri in another entertaining affair from the Italian champions. And no, I’m not going to get tired of saying that anytime soon.