After a midweek Champions League excursion, Inter return to domestic action when they travel to Ferrara to face SPAL on Sunday.
The hosts head into this one off the back of three straight defeats with their most recent being a 2-1 defeat against Sampdoria. Leonardo Semplici’s men now find themselves languishing in 13th in the table and they will desperate to pick up a result to avoid slipping down the standings any further.
Meanwhile, Inter have managed to put their slow start behind them and are currently on a five game win streak. They managed to dispatch Cagliari 2-0 last weekend before grinding out a 2-1 victory over PSV in the Champions League, meaning the Nerazzurri are red hot favourites coming in to this one.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s clash.
Inter 2-0 SPAL (September, 2017)
Last season, these two sides played each other for the first time since 1968 – the year SPAL were relegated from the top flight.
It turned out to be an interesting affair at the San Siro, with Inter prevailing 2-0 courtesy of goals from Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic.
Inter got off to a quick start, but had to hold their breaths as the referee elected to refer to VAR before awarding a penalty for a trip on Joao Mario. Captain Icardi then tucked away the penalty to give Inter a deserved lead going into the half-time break.
The home side mounted some serious pressure on SPAL’s goal before Ivan Perisic confirmed the victory with a late strike past Alfred Gomis between the sticks.
Thiago Cionek vs. Mauro Icardi
Brazilian born Polish centre back Thiago Cionek has been a standout performer for SPAL so far this season, operating effectively as a part of a back three.
He’s a strong tackling defender who has proven that he is more than comfortable with the ball at his feet to help build attacks from the back and his recent performances have seen him win accolades from all across Italy.
However, he will have a tough time on Sunday if Mauro Icardi has anything to do with it. The Argentinian striker started the season slowly, but he is now starting to find his feet.
He’s bagged a goal in both of his Champions League appearances and he recently opened his league account with a strike against Fiorentina. Icardi’s a hard man to stop when he is in the mood, so Cionek and SPAL will need to be on make sure they bring their A-game.
SPAL will be without Federico Viviani and Jasmin Kurtic, with the duo being forced to watch from the sidelines due to respective injuries. Mattia Valoti will play alongside Pasquale Schiattarella and Simone Missiroli to cover for the absence of the aforementioned duo.
Sime Vrslajko remains out injured for Inter, but he is the only concern for Luciano Spalletti to deal with. Otherwise, Inter are likely to remain unchanged from the side that defeated PSV in midweek.
Predicted SPAL Lineup: Gomis; Felipe, Vicari, Cionek; Lazzari, Missiroli, Schiattarella, Valoti, Fares; Petagna, Antenucci.
Predicted Inter Lineup: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Skriniar, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic, Politano, Perisic; Icardi.
If you factor in recent form to the equation, then this one should be a walk in the park for Inter.
Spalletti’s men look to have put their inconsistent start firmly behind them and the new look squad is finally starting to look like a cohesive unit.
SPAL only just managed to stay up last season and their recent run of results indicates that they are going to be embroiled in another relegation battle this time around.
Inter’s Champions League match may effect their level of performance, but they should still have to take away all three points.
Predicted scoreline: SPAL 0-2 Inter