Inter’s season has slowly begun to turn around. Since the 2-1 defeat against Roma to open October, the Nerazzurri have picked up two wins in a row and taken four points from Barcelona, finally showing signs of being the team we all know Inter can be. And yet, the good guys are still mired in 7th and just as far behind the top of the table as it was a few weeks ago. That makes the upcoming run of games before the World Cup break all the more important. A solid run of form and anything is possible come 2023, and where better to continue than the always tricky visit to Fiorentina.
Like Inter, La Viola has lost a step or two since last season. Vincenzo Italiano guided Fiorentina to a 7th-place finish in his debut campaign with the biggest single-season improvement in points in the league (40 in 20/21, 62 in 21/22). His possession-heavy style was easy on the eye and cemented Dusan Vlahovic’s status as a superstar in the making before his midseason exit to Juventus. Despite the signings of Arthur Cabral and Krzysztof Piątek in January, Fiorentina never really replaced the Serbian, which has become even more apparent this season.
Though Fiorentina did enough to hold onto a European spot last season, the Tuscan side is currently 13th on 10 points and home to the second-worst attack in the league with 8 goals. While some of that has to do with a lack of a spark and creativity in the final third, Fiorentina has undershot its expected goals tally of 13.6 by over five goals. Summer signing Luka Jovic has been perhaps the most culpable with just one strike in 9 games, while Cabral has followed up two goals in his first six months with 0 in the new campaign and presumed starting wingers Nicolas Gonzalez and Jonathan Ikone have combined for 2 goals and 0 assists. In short, no one other than Christian Kouame has covered themselves in much glory so far, and even he only has 2 goals and 1 assist in Serie A play.
Inter has five domestic games remaining before the World Cup break (30 days away, not like I’m counting..). Fiorentina, Sampdoria, and Bologna form the easier part of the schedule, but clashes with Juventus and Atalanta will be the real metronome for determining the ceiling of Inter’s season. Simone Inzaghi’s side also have a pair of European outings to balance in between, highlighted by Viktoria Plzen’s visit to the Meazza Wednesday - a win there and Inter will have booked a ticket to the Round of 16.
- 1-3 (A), 21/9/21
- 1-1 (H), 19/3/22
Inter has a 76W-58D-49L record against the Viola across 183 meetings, last losing in 2017 (7 wins and 5 draws since).
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Fiorentina 1-1 Inter Milan
The Viola will prove to be a tough outing and take a point off Inter thanks to a Cabral goal, but the Nerazzurri will answer back from an in-form Lautaro.