Inter got the job done in its midweek Champions League clash against Benfica, but the games just keep coming for the Nerazzurri, who return to action with a visit from Bologna on Saturday afternoon. Much like Benfica, Bologna is a team Inter should beat but won’t have it easy; far from it, in fact.
The Rossoblu are 8th on 10 points, 7 games into Thiago Motta’s first full season in charge after a very successful debut campaign that ended in 9th. So far it’s been more of the same, albeit with less final third action. Bologna has averaged 0.86 goals per game and 0.57 against, the lowest tally in Serie A, and over a goal a game less than last season’s mean. Its defense has been particularly stellar, with only 4 conceded (2nd fewest behind Inter) and four straight shutouts. The problem, though, is that 3 of those 4 shutouts ended scoreless on both ends. Bologna has the 7th fewest goals scored in the league with 6, although that could change if Roberto Orsolini keeps up the form that saw him bag a hat trick last week against Empoli. The Italian, perenially putting in good but not great seasons that keep him from making the jump to a big club, is joined by youthful forwards Lewis Ferguson and Joshua Zirkzee (who boast a goal and an assist each), but the consistency isn’t quite there from the 24 and 22-year-olds.
The loss of Marko Arnautovic, one of four key players to depart alongside midfielders Nicolas Dominguez and Gary Medel and striker Musa Barrow, has left a gap in attack that hasn’t been filled, but Bologna has still managed to pick up some impressive results regardless. It drew Juventus and Napoli, conceding just once in those 180 minutes. That should have Inter on alert, especially considering the Nerazzurri’s general struggles against the Rossoblu of late. Picking up all three points is vitally important with Inter and Milan deadlocked on 18 points and an international break (yes, another) looming following this weekend’s games. Keeping the good vibes going and staying in first is quite the needed boost for Inzaghi’s men to preserve the strong start to 2023/24.
Inter leads the all-time series with a 91W-41D-55L record, although points were shared with a win each in the past two seasons. Interestingly, the Nerazzurri have won the last two home games 6-1 Bologna on each occasion.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Inter Milan 1-0 Bologna
Bologna’s rock-solid defense will be on full display, but a late moment of magic from Alexis Sanchez off the bench will turn the tide in the good guys’ favor and earn Inter all three points.