Inter’s ticket to the Champions League final is booked, but it still hasn’t secured a spot in next season’s version of Europe’s premier competition. The Nerazzurri will look to pick up a chunk of the four points it needs from the three remaining games to end the year in the top four when it visits soon-to-be crowned champions Napoli
Inter currently has 66 points in 3rd place, followed by Lazio (65), Milan (61), and Roma (59). Assuming Lazio, Roma, and Milan win out their remaining games, Lazio would be third and Inter would need four points to end level with Milan for 4th. The head-to-head record is tied, so Inter would need to keep its +15 lead in goal differential over Milan alive (which is quite probable if it loses just once in the next 3). The first of Inter’s remaining trio of outings is the toughest on paper, but Atalanta (home) and Torino (away) could be trickier than expected, so it would be nice if the Nerazzurri could get top four wrapped up sooner rather than later. Simone Inzaghi is likely to heavily rotate the squad, however, with the Coppa Italia final looming on the horizon Wednesday and heavy legs after the midweek UCL derby.
Napoli clinched the title back on May 4th with a 1-1 draw at Udinese but seems to be taking its foot off the gas of late, and rather understandably considering its 14-point lead at the top. The Partenopei have one win in four and split its most recent results, a 1-0 win over Fiorentina and a 2-0 loss to Monza (albeit with a large number of squad players in the XI). Nonetheless, Napoli still boasts the both best attack (70 scored) and defense (25 conceded) on the peninsula, and remains a very dangerous foe even with nothing but bragging rights left to play for. Victor Osimhen for one will be looking to extend his three-goal lead on Lautaro Martinez in the capocannoniere charts. The Nigerian has 28 goals and 4 assists in all competitions, followed by Kvicha Kvaratskhelia with 14 goals and 14 assists, although the Georgian has gone 11 games without registering a goal contribution. Piotr Zielinski (7g, 9a), Giacomo Raspadori (6g, 4a), Chucky Lozano (4g, 4a), and Giovanni Simeone (8g) form quite the supporting cast, but this team is powered by Osimhen.
Inter has a 79W-42D-51L advantage in the all-time series and handed Napoli its first defeat of the season in the reverse fixture, a 1-0 victory back in early January decided by an Edin Dzeko strike.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Napoli 1-1 Inter Milan
Luciano Spalletti will put out a full-strength Napoli with a week to prepare, while Inter will rotate with the Coppa Italia final in just a few days. That will result in a more defensive posture from the Nerazzurri with an emphasis on counter-attacking, and it will pay off with a 1-1 draw decided by a Lukaku equalizer after Osimhen opens the scoring.