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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Antonio Conte’s European woes continue

When Inter was drawn into Group C alongside Real Madrid, Borussia Moenchengladbach, and Shakhtar Donetsk, it was quickly labelled the group of death, and with good reason. Zinedine Zidane’s men may no longer have Cristiano Ronaldo, but were just coming off a La Liga triumph, while the Bundesliga side boasts one of Europe’s most dynamic frontlines. Shakhtar, by contrast, has always demonstrated they can compete, regularly qualifying for the knockout stages.

Regardless of the tough opposition, Antonio Conte’s men entered the group as favourites to progress alongside Real Madrid. The Nerazzurri possess a resolute backline, including the likes of Samir Handanovic, Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij, and can count on Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez for firepower.

Nicolo Barella’s progression has helped them significantly in the middle of the park, while Achraf Hakimi’s summer arrival offered Inter some much-needed quality from out wide. Despite this, Inter has struggled to get its European campaign off the mark and are currently staring down the barrel an early exit. Antonio Conte’s side are languishing dangerously at the bottom of Group C, winless after four games, and will need nothing short of a huge turnaround to progress.

Beyond winning its last two games, Inter will need some help around Group C, giving them an outside shot of qualifying to the knockout stages. While Inter’s struggles have almost definitely condemned them to an early exit, they are indicative of a greater pattern at play: Antonio Conte continues to falter in Europe’s elite competition.

Dating back to his days at Juventus, the veteran tactician has struggled in the Champions League, failing to make deep runs into the competition. As it stands, Conte’s European record is nothing short of abysmal: 11 wins, 12 draws, and 11 losses for a 32% win ratio. At this level, that is simply not good enough.

Inter has invested significantly in moulding its roster to fit Conte’s preferred 3-5-2 and has since been left empty-handed. Dethroning Juventus may be a step too far, but even then, the Nerazzurri were unable to muster a serious title threat, faltering at crucial stages last season. The Bianconeri are largely a side in transition and have demonstrated their own vulnerabilities in recent seasons, yet Inter could not capitalize.

Beyond their struggles to contend, Inter’s recurring issues in the Champions League are concerning. Should they fail to qualify, that would be three consecutive group stage exits for them, two of which have come under Conte. While Group C is understandably difficult, Inter can do much better than two points from four games.

In many ways, Conte’s outdated 3-5-2 has cost them. Gian Piero Gasperini has since revolutionized the back three, urging his men to go forward and has shown the rest of Italy that a little courage can go a long way; a lesson Conte has not learned.

The former Azzurri boss has not adjusted his conservative setup, despite its clear limitations as it relates to the Champions League. Inter’s buildup play has become far too predictable and easy to defend against. Rather than committing another man forward, Conte persists with his 3-5-2, with Inter struggling to create regular chances.

The case of Christian Eriksen is another concern. Conte has failed to integrate the former Spurs maestro into his eleven, reducing him to a supersub. The Danish international would add some much-needed quality in the final third and inject some fresh ideas into the side, but alas, he doesn’t fit Conte’s 3-5-2. Despite featuring rarely, Eriksen continues to make an impact with Denmark on the international level, dictating proceedings in the final third. The midfielder is rumoured to be on his way out from Inter once the window reopens.

As Inter heads into a crucial stretch in the season, it may be time for Conte to reevaluate his roster and for the first time in his career, adapt. Inter can ill afford a trophyless season, let alone another early Champions League exit. As unlikely as it may be, Conte would be wise to shake things up and inject new life into his Inter side.

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How Inter could line up with new summer signings

Internazionale have been busy again this summer, with Arturo Vidal’s arrival from Barcelona on Sunday being the sixth new face to arrive at the San Siro this summer.

The Italian giants also have a number of players back from loan spells last season, including Ivan Perisic, Joao Mario, Valentino Lazaro and Radja Nainggolan, though whether they will be moved on permanent before the close of the transfer window remains to be seen.

Mauro Icardi’s sale to Paris Saint-Germain has given Antonio Conte increased transfer budget to build a side capable of challenging for the Serie A title this season.

€40 million has been spent on Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid. The pacey right-back has impressed on loan at Borussia Dortmund over the past two seasons that it was a surprise the Spanish giants moved him on.

Alexis Sanchez spent last season on loan from Manchester United before making his move permanent in August at the start of August.

Midfielders Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi have joined from Cagliari and Sassuolo off the back of good campaigns in 2019-20. Inter then signed experienced left-back Aleksandar Kolarov from AS Roma.

Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Team of the Year

No major surprises among the 11 selections, which mirror pretty well how the fantasy season has gone.

Samir Handanovic (63 points): it has been a pretty challenging year for defenses, especially in the restart, and nobody really put up elite numbers when it comes to conceded goals. Inter surrendered the least, 36, which is pretty pedestrian if we compare it with previous seasons, but six fewer than any other team, as Lazio allowed 42 and Juventus 43. Handanovic came in second with his 13 clean sheets, on a par with Gianluigi Donnarumma, trailing Udinese’s Juan Musso by a single unit. Continue reading

Serie A Best Fantasy XI – Round 29

Juan Musso (7 points): only three teams managed to keep a clean sheet in another goal-filled round and the Udinese goalie did against the opponents with the higher profile, accompanying it with few decent saves.

Danilo D’Ambrosio (9 points): the veteran defender benefitted from some heavy rotation to get in the XI and, as he has often done in the past couple of seasons, managed to shake free in the box and knock one on goal with a header. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 26 – Second Half

Brescia: Ales Mateju will miss this round due to yellow-card accumulation, as, by letter of the law, all suspensions in Serie A are served in the next match. Ernesto Torregrossa, Romulo have recovered from the small injuries that had sidelined them recently and will play against Sassuolo. Andrea Cistana hurt his ankle in practice, Sandro Tonali has a sore quad and they will both be sidelined. 

Fiorentina: Dalbert is disqualified, while Franck Ribery returned to full training following his massive ankle sprain, but he will need some time to get his conditioning up.

Genoa: Stefano Sturaro is trying to shake off some muscle fatigue and he is questionable, like Marko Pajac, who has spent time on the shelf with a sore tibia. Paolo Ghiglione (thigh) is progressing but this week is likely too early. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 26

Atalanta: Rafael Toloi will miss the next game due to a hamstring strain, while Berat Djimsiti with a bruised quad.

Bologna: Ibrahima Mbaye is suspended. The infirmary is emptying out since Nicola Sansone, Gary Medel and Federico Santander are poised to be available following thigh strains, Roberto Soriano after a bruise, leaving only Mitchell Dijks (foot), Ladislav Krejci (knee) and Mattias Svanberg (thigh) on the shelf. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 25

Atalanta: Berat Djimsiti was a late scratch for the Champions League game but he is simply dealing with a bruised quad and so he could be available on Sunday. Tomas Sutalo continues nursing a foot edema.

Bologna: Stefano Denswil and Jerdy Schouten were red carded last week. Gary Medel (hamstring) and Roberto Soriano (thigh bruise) are the closest to recovering, but this week is too early for them. Mitchell Dijks (foot) and Ladislav Krejci (knee) will not be back before the end of the month, same for Federico Santander (hip) and Nicola Sansone (hamstring). Mattias Svanberg picked up a thigh strain and will miss three-to-four weeks. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 24

Atalanta: newcomer Tomas Sutalo is the only sidelined player, due to an edema in his right foot.

Bologna: Musa Barrow sprained his ankle and Riccardo Orsolini picked up a cut on the knee last week, but they both practiced fully in the last couple of days and should be a full go. Roberto Soriano instead is out due to a bruised thigh. No returns among their previously injured players: Nicola Sansone, Gary Medel, Federico Santander (thigh), Ladislav Krejci (knee) and Mitchell Dijks (foot). Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 23

Atalanta: Marten De Roon is suspended, newcomer Tomas Sutalo is out for a month with a foot injury.

Bologna: Andrea Poli is disqualified. Nicola Sansone suffered a hamstring strain, Federico Santander a hip muscle one and they will both miss three-to-four weeks. No returns among the previously injured Gary Medel (hamstring) and Ladislav Krejci (knee).

Brescia: Ernesto Torregrossa is out due to yellow-card accumulation. Andrea Cistana  and Sandro Tonali dealt with some muscle fatigue but should be good to go.  Continue reading