Going into the first Derby Della Madonnina of 2022, things were looking pretty rosy in the blue side of Milano. Inter was looking at a potential seven-point lead over its cousins and could have put a dagger in the Rossoneri’s Scudetto hopes. Now, though, the mood has shifted for the worse. Inter’s unbeaten run is over and now both Milan and Napoli are one point short of the Nerazzurri.
To make matters worse, the good guys are about to embark upon the toughest stretch of the season yet, which not only includes league ties against Napoli and Sassuolo, but cup fixtures vs Roma and Liverpool as well. Because of what happened last Saturday, the upcoming weeks could quite easily be what makes or breaks Simone Inzaghi’s debut season as Inter boss.
Inzaghi will be looking for an immediate reaction from his men in much the same way October’s defeat to Lazio kickstarted a red-hot vein of form. Things are only uphill from here, however, and Inter is going to have to take it up a gear to avoid a winter slump, starting with a visit from Roma in the Coppa Italia quarter-final stage.
Inter last saw Roma back on December 4th and walked out of the Olimpico with a comfortable 3-0 victory in the bag. Since then the Giallorossi have tread water more than anything else, with results ranging from a win over Atalanta to draws against Sampdoria and Genoa and defeats versus Milan and Juventus. Such inconsistency has guided Roma to 7th with 39 points and the Round of 16 of the Europa Conference League.
As for the Coppa Italia, Roma sprung past Serie B side Lecce 3-1. That’s set Roma up on a crash course with Inter in Jose Mourinho’s first return to the San Siro. Along with all of the dangers brought by meeting one’s ex, Inter will also have to deal with one of the best young strikers in the league. Tammy Abraham, signed for €40 million in the summer, took a few months to find his footing in Italy but has since registered 17 goals and 3 assists in 30 appearances (including four in his last five).
Inter holds a 92W-57D-61L advantage in the all time series against Roma, which spans 210 games. The Nerazzurri are also unbeaten in the last nine involving the side from the capital, though the majority of recent meetings have ended in draws (6/9).
- 2-2 (A) - 10/1/2021
- 3-1 (H) - 12/5/2021
- 0-3 (A) - 4/12/2021
Predicted Starting XIs
Inzaghi has the unwanted task of balancing keeping the starters fresh for Saturday’s monumental clash with Napoli and simultaneously avoiding a second loss in a row and the subsequent impact on the team’s mentality. As for Roma, with reaching the top four all but a dream by now Mourinho will surely be gunning for a domestic trophy of any kind and put forth the Giallorossi’s strongest eleven.
Prediction: Inter Milan 3-2 Roma
Inter’s lineup rotation will lead to a far closer game than what we saw in December, but the good guys will ultimately still come out on top. Goals from Alexis Sanchez, Lautaro Martinez, and Hakan Calhanoglu will cancel out an Abraham brace in a back-and-forth affair.