The Rivalry Continues
The bad taste in Internazionale‘s mouth still lingers after their 2-0 defeat to their Turin rivals on Sunday. The loss saw the Milan side lose ground in the Serie A and are now 13 points from the top spot which is held by, you guessed it, Juventus.
Massimiliano Allegri summed up what the win meant for themselves and for Roberto Mancini‘s side per ESPN FC:
I want to congratulate the players for their performance but we haven’t won anything yet. The season’s not finished yet either, we still have to play 11 matches in Serie A. However, it was important to win tonight, so we eliminated Inter from the title race.
Allegri’s words regarding Inter’s title chances are true, they have a tough task of coming back with only 11 matches left to play. Unfortunately, their hopes to make it to the Italian Cup final are slim as well.
Come Wednesday’s second leg battle in the Italian Cup semi-final, Inter will have to erase a three goal deficit on aggregate, for they lost the first leg in late January. However, playing at the Stadio Guiseppe Meazza should give them an extra boost of belief.
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) March 1, 2016
Mancini will be looking at his squad with hopes they can end their goal drought against the Bianconeri (the past two games against them have seen them score zero goals), while Allegri will be looking for his team to make it to their second successive Italian Cup final.
Read on as The Stoppage Time looks to identify each team’s recent form, their key players, their probable starting players and more.
Latest Run of Form Through All Competitions – W-D-L-W-L (Furthest right being most recent.)
Things are not on the up-and-up for the Nerazzurri, they’ve been inconsistent in their last five games and after their loss on Sunday, sporting director Piero Ausilio revealed what he wants from the team per La Gazzetta:
We want everybody to take a look at themselves in the mirror. The time has come to raise the bar. We need to realise that wearing an Inter shirt means a great deal, above all that you have responsibility. I don’t think we need any special measures or to make any threats, we just need to change gear.
In the same press conference Inter midfielder Felipe Melo echoed similar sentiments to that of Ausilio’s:
We have to stop talking and get to work. We’ve got the Italian Cup coming up against Juventus and we have to put everything into that, even if it won’t be easy.
Having conceded five goals and scoring none in their last two matches with Juve, Mancini will be looking for his side to step it up. Inter enjoy an attack-minded 4-3-3 and will need to find a way to score on Juve’s tight defense corps.
In the same last five, his squad has scored eight goals and will need many of them to overturn their three goal deficit.
Inter Milan Possible XI – Samir Handanovic; Yuto Nagatomo, Juan Jesus, GaryMedel, Danilo D’ Ambrosio; Assane Demoya Gnoukouri, Felipe Melo, Marcelo Brozovic; Adem Ljajic, Stevan Joveitc, Eder.
Key Players –
- Stevan Jovetic – Given that Mauro Icardi is unlikely for tomorrow, Jovetic will need to step up as their go-to forward. He’s second on the team in goals with four and also has two helpers to his name in Serie A fixtures.
- Felipe Melo – The Brazilian needs to put his money where his mouth is and set an example in the engine room. In 16 Serie A games, he has only one goal and one assist, the veteran midfielder will need to produce something special for his side to have a chance.
Latest Run of Form Through All Competitions – W-W-D-D-W (Furthest right being most recent.)
Although Bologna snapped Juve’s 15 game winning streak, their 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich coupled with their Sunday win, has fans loving their team’s courageous attitude.
The Black and White’s have made a tremendous comeback on all fronts and will be looking to upset Mancini’s men again. They also have a decent record of progressing on to Italian Cup finals courtesy of JuveStats1897:
Infographic: Juve’s record in the semi-finals of Coppa Italia:
— Juve Stats (@juvestats1897) March 1, 2016
Allegri prefers a four man backline but has opted for a 3-5-2 a lot this season. The three-man backline formation, coupled with heavy numbers in midfield, allows for great counterattacks and engine room dominance.
However, he could opt for a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, as he may feel Inter will be charged up and ready to press high, meaning a three-man backline may be risky on the flanks.
Juventus Possible Starting XI – Neto; Padoin, Rugani, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Asamoah, Hernanes, Sturaro; Zaza, Pereyra, Morata.
Key Players –
- Bonucci – The Italian may have to organize a backline of juniors and bench players, meaning things could get shaky at the back, it’ll be up to him to set the tone of the defense.
- Alvaro Morata – The Spaniard will have to step up in the potential absences of Paulo Dybala and Paul Pogba. He’ll be receiving many passes tomorrow on the counter.