The winter break has come and gone, so it’s time for Inter to get back to the grind of Serie A football. The Nerazzurri are in store for a packed month of January, featuring clashes against Lazio, Juventus, and Atalanta. Simone Inzaghi’s side is in for a tricky 2022 opener as well, with a visit to the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara and a reborn Bologna.
The Rossoblu are once more comfortably midtable, currently locked into tenth place on 27 points, five out of the European places, and sixteen clear of relegation. The side from Emilia Romagna isn’t quite identical to the Bolognas of years past, however. After a worrisome start to the season, Sinisa Mihajlovic dropped his usual 4-2-3-1 in favor of a new look 3-4-2-1. The back three has solved Bologna’s ever-present defensive issues, while the more fluid attacking approach has unleashed Marko Arnautovic (6g, 1a) and Musa Barrow (5g,3a). While not enough to take Bologna to the promised land of Europe, Mihajlovic’s tactical switch has boosted Bologna’s entertainment value and given rise to a talented crop of youngsters. Arthur Theate (21), Aaron Hickey (19), and Matias Svanberg (22) are just a few of the Rossoblu’s many talented youngsters that are a solid run of performances away from breaking onto the radar of Italy’s bigger clubs.
Inter will have to be far warier of this Bologna outfit than the frail and feeble side that crumbled by a score of 6-1 to the Nerazzurri back in September. Austrian striker Arnautovic will lead the line, supported by two of Soriano, Barrow, Orsolini, or Sansone. Inter’s center-back trio will have to keep Arnautovic under lock and key but the latter two, who have freer roles in the final third, could cause Inter problems by drifting between the lines.
The Nerazzurri closed 2021 on a high note, beating Torino one-nil thanks to a Denzel Dumfries goal. That extended a run of six straight shutout victories in domestic play, with the good guys outscoring the opposition 17-0 during that span. That run isn’t likely to last much longer, as the likes of Atalanta and Lazio are a cut or two above Cagliari and Spezia. Still, Inter now has a four-point advantage at the top of the table and a bit of a cushion when it inevitably drops points. Starting 2022 off on the right foot against a ‘weaker’ side like Bologna will be vital if Inter is going to navigate a tricky January successfully.
Inter holds an 83W-36D-43L advantage in the all-time series against Bologna, including wins in each of the last three meetings.
- 0-1 (A) - 3/4/2021
- 3-1 (H) - 5/12/2020
- 6-1 (H) - 18/9/2021
Predicted Starting XIs
Bologna is without Aaron Hickey after the Scotsman tested positive for COVID-19, whereas Inter won’t be able to call upon the services of a suspended Hakan Calhanoglu and virus-positive Edin Dzeko. Expect Vidal and either Correa or Sanchez to take their respective places in the lineup.
Prediction: Bologna 1-3 Inter
Bologna’s high-flying attack will make things interesting, but ultimately Inter will do enough to come out on top thanks to Perisic’s opener and a Lautaro brace.