Inter record 10th win of the season as they hunt down Milan in Serie A

10 wins from just 15 games means that Inter are just a single point behind their rivals Milan in the chase for the Serie A title.

For Inter it would have been 11 years next year since they won the league and Milan 10. The two teams from the San Siro have had to watch Juventus run riot in the league over the past 9 incredible seasons, that could be set to end this season though. Milan are 10 points in front of the old lady although the champions do have game in hand. But Milan end the year as ‘winter champions’ and that could be a good omen.

As for Inter they have been incredibly strong this season and if not for Milan’s brilliant start which has seen the black and reds go unbeaten so far Inter would easily be top. Inter themselves have only lost one game and this latest victory against Verona away from home means that Antonio Conte’s side have won their last 5 games in a row and would be 1st in the league on form.

Just before Christmas was the last batch of Serie A games to take place this year and Inter travelled to Verona. It would be a game that Conte’s team would win 2-1.

Inter played some good football in the first half but it wasn’t a memorable one for either side as they had just 1 shot on target each and the first 45 minutes ended with the score at 0-0.

However just seven minutes into the 2nd half Inter were able to break the deadlock through striker Lautaro Martinez. It was an important feat for the Argentine player given that he had been quiet in front of goal in the last few weeks. A cross by Hakimi found an unmarked Martinez who swung his body in the right direction to score a fine goal, with the way the game was panning out it felt like it could be the only goal of the game and the winner.

However just 10 minutes later Verona found an equaliser. Ivan IIic could hardly miss as a cross should have easily been covered by Inter goal keeper Samir Handanovic but the keeper made a rare mistake and fumbled the ball into the path of IIic who was just a few yards from goal and it was 1-1.

With Romelu Lukaku having a quiet game it would be left to an unlikely hero for Inter to get the winning goal. Aptly named Milan, his full name Milan Skriniar of course, the defender rose high to head in a powerful shot which left the keeper stranded. Skriniar looked surprised and this was his first goal of the season, but what an important one to give Inter all three points.

Inter’s next game is at home against Crotone who are in 19th place on January 3rd.

Best Inter Players for Each Position So Far This Season

Goalkeeper: Samir Handanovic 8pts

This was an easy one given that Handanovic has played every game and Inter’s other keepers haven’t had a chance yet. However one would expect more points from a goalkeeper whose team are in 2nd place. This is because Inter have conceded goals and he has only been able to keep 3 clean sheets so far.

Defender: Achraf Hakimi 28pts

Hakimi has been very solid and is by far leading for Inter’s defenders. Along with his 3 clean sheets he has also contributed to seven goals for the club, scoring 4 and assisting in 3 which of course is very impressive for a defender.

Midfielder: Nicolo Barella 16pts

Barella leads from Roberto Gagliardini by two points and has been a very important player for the club scoring once but also assisting in a further 4 goals.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku 46pts

Easily out in front is the one and only Lukaku who has been magnificent this season. He already has 11 goals and has assisted in 2 more and is feeling very confident. Last season was a landmark one for him and this one could even be better.

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Inter close gap on Milan but crash out of the Champions League

Inter will now be fully concentrating on trying to win their first Serie A title since 2010 as they were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages.

It was always going to be a difficult group for Inter and in having to square off against Real Madrid, Borrussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk Inter were certainly in the group of death.

In the final group game they had to beat Shakhtar at home and hope that Real Madrid would beat Monchengladbach. Real obliged with their win which they needed themselves anyway but Inter could only draw 0-0, and they were out. To rub salt into the wounds Antonio Conte’s team finished in 4th place. One wonders though if finishing last could be a blessing in disguise, as 3rd would have put the club into the Europa League. With no European football to contend with Inter can focus 100% on the league now.

The Italian media were inevitably scathing of Conte after their European exit and Conte said: “We have to evaluate everything with cool heads, not after an exit like this. There is a great deal of regret and disappointment, but I absolutely do not feel we were lacking determination, focus or aggression. We lacked a goal and throughout the Champions League campaign, we have not been fortunate with referees and the VAR.”

Cagliari 1-3 Inter

The good news is that the disappointment of being knocked out of Europe did not roll over and infect the team in the domestic league which they still hope to win. Inter beat Cagliari 3-1 and that means Conte’s side have won 4 games in a row.

It was a game that Inter dominated from the first whistle to the last but they found themselves trailing 1-0 at half time. The home side had scored from having just one shot on target to Inter’s five, and it looked like it would be a frustrating game for the away side.

However with 13 minutes left and a surprise result on the cards Inter’s pressure finally paid off. Nicolo Barella made it 1-1 with a fine effort from the edge of the area. Seven minutes later Inter were in the lead and now Barella had turned provider after his cross found the head of Danilo D’Ambrosio who had been on the pitch for just 60 seconds.

Romelu Lukaku wrapped the encounter up with a fine run from his own half as Cagliari were caught out throwing too many men forward in search of an equaliser. Lukaku had no one to challenge and was able to run the length of the half and tap in easy. It was Lukaku’s 9th goal of the season.

Inter are 2nd and because Milan could only draw 2-2 at home to Parma it means that the gap has been shortened to just 3 points. Milan will be away to Genoa in midweek and Inter will be at home to Napoli in a crunch game since Napoli are right behind them and just a point off. Indeed the difference between 2nd to 5th is just two points so a lot can change in midweek and then next weekend as we head into the Christmas break.

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Seven – Top Matches

SASSUOLO-UDINESE

Sassuolo: the Neroverdi were missing their top three players against Napoli, but they won anyway thanks a brand-new scheme by Roberto De Zerbi, who, for once, opted for caution and a three-man back-line and got rewarded with their talented central midfielders stepping up. Filip Djuricic has COVID and will not return here, Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo have been called up, but they might be limited, so it is possible Giacomo Raspadori stays initially in a big role and Gregoire Defrel gets the nod. Both the Frenchman and Jeremie Boga have not looked great as they work their way into shape, while Hamed Traore is generally pretty lively. Even if at less than 100 percent, Caputo and Betardi are always good choices, while Lopez would be an outstanding one if used as no.10 to substitute Djuricic. Continue reading

A win in Genoa and draw in Ukraine keep Inter on the right path after hectic week

What a week it has been for Inter. First the derby defeat which put the club into a reality check after the pre-season hype and then they jumped back on the winning trail to beat Genoa away from home 2-0.

The victory in Genoa was a professional and solid win for Inter who had to fight hard for every ball and no one was that surprised to see the score locked in at 0-0 at half time. Star striker Lautaro Martinez was denied and was then shown the yellow card and it just seemed like it could be one of those days for Antonio Conte’s men.

However on the 64th minute Nicolo Barella teed up Romelu Lukaku who made no mistake to open the scoring and score his 5th goal of the season. The game was wrapped up 12 minutes later when Danilo D’Ambrosio scored his first goal in a month for the club which sealed the win. At 2-0 the game was over and Genoa gave up the chase.

It was 3 points that Inter really deserved and in truth they dominated the game having 6 shots on target in total. It said everything about Genoa who are now in 15th position with just one win this season that they didn’t even have a shot on target. With those stats had Inter dropped 2 points at the weekend they would have regretted it.

Whilst Milan remain top of the league they dropped 2 points as they were held at home in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Roma. Inter are now in 4th place and are just 3 points behind Milan.

On Tuesday Inter played their 2nd game of the Champions League and drew 0-0 against Shakhtar Donetsk. This match followed their opening game where they also drew 2-2 that time against Borussia Monchengladbach and the next fixture in their group is against the mighty Real Madrid. With two draws so far this leaves Inter in 3rd place with 2 points and they are a further 2 points adrift of current group leaders Shakhtar.

Coach Antonio Conte was disappointed with the draw saying: “I think we have to be disappointed in the final result because we played well and created many chances. We played with the right intensity, with the right commitment, as a big team. We dominated and we were not lucky. We had some chances to score, we played a very good game in both phases. Don’t forget Shakhtar have important technical qualities, we are sorry because we would deserve to win the game. We are on the right way, the mentality is a good one.”

Inter have a busy time coming up which includes a home game with Parma then they play Real Madrid away a few days later on November 3rd and then they are away to Atalanta. There are no easy games in that pick.

Top 3 best performing players in the fantasy rankings

1. Romelu Lukaku 19pts

2. Lautaro Martinez 11pts

3. Danilo D’Ambrosio 10pts

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Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Two – Top Matches

TORINO-ATALANTA

Torino: the Granata did really not show anything new in the Fiorentina game even though Marco Giampaolo is supposedly going to bring a ton of changes, but that will take time and likely a couple of new players to come to fruition. They created just a pair of changes, with Andrea Belotti fully in the thick of it as per usual, while Simone Zaza rubbished a tasty one. They might be better off signing a new striker. The coach went with Alex Berenguer in the hole and then voiced doubts about Simone Verdi’s playing in that position, however there is not really any other place for him in the formation, so he will have to adapt. Soualiho Meite and Karol Linetty were not very involved offensively, mostly because the match-up was not easy, but this upcoming one is worse.  Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 36

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic is again sidelined due to lack of form. Duvan Zapata (ankle), José Palomino and Berat Djimsiti (toe) picked up knocks in the last game but they are all available. The most at risk of being rested is the last one.

Bologna: Takehiro Tomiyasu closes his season in advance due to a biceps femoris strain. Jerdy Schouten is unlikely to be back here from the same injury.

Brescia: Stefano Sabelli is suspended. Simon Skrabb is nursing an ankle sprain. Jesse Joronen, Birkir Bjarnason, Jhon Chancellor and Alfredo Donnarumma will get the day off.

Cagliari: Christian Oliva and Luca Pellegrini  will stay on the shelf again with their ankle sprains.

Fiorentina: Gaetano Castrovilli is suspended. Dalbert subbed off versus Inter but it was just fatigue, Bartlomiej Dragowski missed some time with back spasms.

Genoa: Lukas Lerager is out due to yellow-card accumulation. Cristian Romero bowed out in the Derby, Francesco Cassata, Stefano Sturaro and Antonio Sanabria are dinged up but they have been pretty secretive with their injuries.

Inter: Nicolò Barella is suspended. Stefan De Vrij left the last game with a knee sprain but it is not believed to be a major issue.

Juventus: Mattia De Sciglio is expected back soon from his thigh strain. Giorgio Chiellini (calf) and Gonzalo Higuain (back) are day-to-day. Douglas Costa suffered a grade two thigh strain that will likely cost him the rest of the season, Champions League included. 

Lazio: Manuel Lazzari is banned. Luis Alberto (knee), Joaquin Correa (knee), Jony (thigh) and Adam Marusic (thigh) all came back in the last game, while Djavan Anderson missed it with fatigue. Stefan Radu (calf) might be back maybe in the season finale. Francesco Acerbi is questionable with knee soreness.

Lecce: Marco Calderoni  returns from a contracture, while Khouma Babacar and Diego Farias were late scratches for the past game and are questionable, but at least they are available this time around. Luca Rossettini has shaken off his worrying illness.

Milan: Theo Hernandez and Ismael Bennacer are suspended. Simon Kjaer is not 100 percent but should gut it out, especially because Alessio Romagnoli pulled his calf and will miss the remaining matches. Andrea Conti hurt his knee but the exams ruled out structural damages. Samu Castillejo and Leo Duarte (thigh) are available after spending time on the shelf. 

Napoli: David Ospina missed the last game with fatigue, but shook it off quickly, while Mario Rui will be rested.

Parma: Gaston Brugman is out due to yellow-card accumulation and also strained his calf, so he is done for the season. Bruno Alves (hip) came back in the previous game, while Riccardo Gagliolo might miss another one with a similar ailment. Hernani suffered a quad strain and he too will skip the remaining fixtures. Matteo Scozzarella (calf) and Andreas Cornelius (thigh) are trying to come back but face an uphill battle.

Roma: Roger Ibanez is likely to miss another one due to a thigh injury, while Cengiz Under is being assessed after being ruled out late for the previous match. Federico Fazio (ankle), Antonio Mirante (calf), Juan Jesus (hip) and Davide Santon (calf) are nursing minor stuff that cost them some time.

Sampdoria: Omar Colley and Ronaldo Vieira are suspended. Albin Ekdal subbed off in the last game after hurting his ankle and he is out.

Sassuolo: Mehdi Bourabia was sent off versus Milan. Jeremie Boga picked up a muscular injury and he is being evaluated. Pedro Obiang (thigh), Gregoire Defrel (thigh) and Vlad Chiriches (calf) will probably sit out another one.

SPAL: Kevin Bonifazi was red carded from the bench against Roma. Andrea Cerri fractured a phalanx in the left hand that will cost him some time. Jacopo Sala sprained is ankle and is iffy, while Sergio Floccari and Lucas Castro have been ruled out in advance. 

Torino: Armando Izzo is expected to return from his mild knee sprain, while Lorenzo De Silvestri is out for the season due to an AC joint sprain in the right shoulder.

Udinese: Kevin Lasagna was ruled out very late against Juventus due to a thigh issue. Walace has a shoulder problem but he is good to go, William Troost-Ekong is suspended.

Verona: Giampaolo Pazzini (thigh), Pawel Dawidowicz (pec) and Claud Adjapong are trying to come back from their minor physical problems, while it is probably too early for Marash Kumbulla. Alan Empereur, Salvatore Bocchetti, Valerio Verre and Matteo Lovato are out with last-minute issues. 

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Serie A Injury and Supension Report – Round 31

Atalanta: José Palomino is suspended.

Bologna: Roberto Soriano was red-carded in the last game and has been suspended for two matches. Gary Medel was a late scratch for the last game due to back spasm, but he is in the squad list. Ibrahima Mbaye and Andreas Skov Olsen (thigh) recovered enough to be called up. Andrea Poli and Federico Santander are nursing thigh strains.

Brescia: Andrea Cistana (lower leg surgery), Jhon Chancellor (thigh) and Dimitri Bisoli (patellar tendon) remain sidelined, Emanuele Ndoj and Enrico Alfonso are questionable.  Continue reading

Serie A Injuries and Suspension Report – Round 28

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic returned from an ankle problem in the last game, thus they have nothing else to worry about.

Bologna: Federico Santander and Andreas Skov Olsen will be out for a while due to thigh strains.

Brescia: Jhon Chancellor (thigh) will miss another one. Andrea Cistana is not close after repairing his peroneal tendon during the lockdown. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview and Predictions – Round 25 – Makeup Games

Serie A resumes with a soft relaunch that features the matches that were postponed in March.

Torino-Parma: the Granata were one of the least interesting teams fantasy-wise before the stoppage, with Andrea Belotti being the only okay piece to rely on. The coach has been working on ways to fix that and might go with a more aggressive scheme this time around, with the Rooster and Simone Zaza together and Alex Berenguer and Simone Edera on the flanks, since Simone Verdi will be out for a while. They also lost Daniele Baselli, another substantial blow, and Cristian Ansaldi, one of their biggest playmakers, is not totally right. Besides the spry Berenguer (five goals so far), it is a wait-and-see approach. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 26

Lazio-Bologna: the only game between two teams that actually played last week. The Biancocelesti extended their superb run by grinding out a W versus Genoa, thanks to the usual Ciro Immobile goal and two unlikely heroes coming through, Adam Marusic, who has started over Manuel Lazzari in two matches in a row, and Danilo Cataldi. While Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored against Inter, the bonuses for their other two fantasy stars, Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa, have not been there in recent rounds, leaving Felipe Caicedo as the only serviceable option besides the capocannoniere. Jony has taken over for the injured Senad Lulic and, while he is a high-volume crosser, he has come up with just one assist so far. It could be another ripe day for their offense considering that the Felsinei have a soft defence. Continue reading