Antonio Candreva Set to Extend Inter Contract Amid Reports Linking Him to Chelsea

?Antonio Candreva will lengthen his stay at Inter amid interest from Chelsea, according to reports from Italy.

The Italian, who was a reported summer target for Antonio Conte, is said to have been watched by Blues scouts in November, leading to suggestions that the London side could be making attempts next month.

However as reported by Sky Italy (via ?Football Italia), Candreva is close to signing a new deal at San Siro, with talks having concluded on a positive note. In fact, it is believed that he will put pen to paper as early as next week.

The 30-year-old has assisted eight goals in 17 Serie A appearances for Inter so far this season., a stat which should certainly appeal to Conte. But if the report is to be believed, the defender will extend his stay with his current club to June of 2021. 


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Inter 1-3 Udinese: Nerazzurri Shocked as They Suffer First Defeat of the Season

San Siro Stadium plunged into a shocked silence as Udinese put an unexpected end to Inter’s unbeaten run by defeating the table leaders with an incredible 3-1 victory on Saturday night. 

The Nerazzurri were undefeated in 16 matches but had shown signs of weakness recently, struggling against Juventus last week and Pordenone in the Italian Cup fourth round. However, they finally succumbed to defeat in humiliating fashion against Massimo Oddo’s side. 

The hosts conceded the first goal of the match after less than 15 minutes, when Italian striker Kevin Lasagna gave Udinese. 

FC Internazionale v Udinese Calcio - Serie A

However, Inter fought back quickly and made it all square thanks to their leader, captain and top goalscorer Mauro Icardi, who bagged his 17th league goal just one minute later. 

But incredibly enough, the home side let slip two goals in 15 minutes as Udinese took the lead, in the second half, with Rodrigo De Paulo and midfielder Antonin Barak giving the visitors a memorable win.

Luciano Spalletti’s men still top the Serie A table but will have to wait for Napoli and Juventus’ results this weekend to know about their future.

FC Internazionale v Udinese Calcio - Serie A

Both sides contributed to playing an enjoyable first half during, during which Inter had most of the chances but still failed to impose themselves on their guests. 

The Nerazzurri went close to scoring after barely eight minutes. On this occasion, Icardi scooped an assist for Ivan Perisic from the right-hand side but the Croatian strike home for Inter. 

It was Udinese who managed to break the deadlock first, against the run of play, taking the lead over their hosts with striker Lasagna. The Italian edged past Samir Handanovic after receiving a marvellous cross, and drilled the ball across the six-yard box after stealing it to Davide Santon. 

The visitors’ lead lasted little more than one minute and Inter equalised to the surprise of no-one through Icardi.

The Argentine scored his 17th goal in 17 matches for the Nerazzurri, as he finished with composure strike from Candreva’s delivery. 

The game became even more enjoyable to watch following the two early goals and saw both sides try their best to get in front. However, stout defending meant the sides went into the break level.

FC Internazionale v Udinese Calcio - Serie A

Inter certainly had numerous occasions to take the lead but Marcelo Brozovic wasted probably one of the best of the home side’s chances, as he curled a powerful shot from outside the box which flew wide by inches. 

Udinese were often stuck inside their half, rarely managing to push out of their zone and to counter on Handanovic’s goal. During the few times when they did it, Oddo’s men never managed to create anything impressive and were often too imprecise.

However, deeper into the second half Udinese showed more grit and personality in the opening and saw Handanovic forced into them to save Inter’s blushes.

Udinese’s new leases of life caught Inter by surprise and the hosts found themselves once again one goal behind, as De Paul converted a penalty around 15 minutes inside the second half. 

The visitors were awarded the spot kick after Santon deflected a cross with his hand inside the box. The Argentine taker cannoned the ball towards the top-right corner to make no mistake for  for Udinese.

The Nerazzurri were all but happy and counterattacked as much as they could. The San Siro fans looked desperate when they saw Milan Skriniar hit the crossbar with a stunning header just before the half-hour mark.

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Roberto Gagliardini too tried to head the ball home for Inter during a corner but his shot was parried by Bizzarri and ended wide outside. 

The hosts were left speechless when they conceded their third goal of the day with Czech midfielder Barak, who received a stunning cross from this year’s revelation Jakub Jankto and fired home for Udinese to seal a shocking victory.

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8 Times a Club Made a ‘Now or Never’ Push for Their League Title

Speaking at the end of last month, Napoli talisman Dries Mertens was quoted as saying that this season may be now or never for the club to end their 27 year wait for a Serie A title.

Napoli aren’t the first club to have had a title challenge engulfed by that sense of now or never, so here are some more examples of clubs who in recent years have mounted a title challenge that had that same sort of feeling…

8. FC Rostov (2015-16 Russian Premier League)

Going into the start of the 15/16 season, Rostov had never before been considered a contender for top honours in Russia, and had had to come through a relegation playoff to keep themselves in the country’s top division at the conclusion of the previous season. 

But after a steady start to the season, the club went into the winter break second in the league following a flourish at the end of the year. 

Rostov pushed on even further after the turn of the year, and would lead the title race with just five games to go. Then, however, they suffered their only loss in the spring section of the season, a 2-1 defeat to eventual bottom side Mordovia Saransk courtesy of a penalty four minutes from time. 

That defeat would prove decisive, as they lost the title to CSKA Moscow by two points.

7. Bursaspor (2009-10 Turkish Super Lig)

Only seven league titles in Turkey belong to clubs outside the big three of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray. Six of those have gone to Trabzonspor, while the seventh, and most recent, belongs to Bursaspor, who lifted their one and only title in the 2009/10 season. 

That season saw The Crocodiles, as Bursaspor are known, lead for much of the closing stages of the season, only for a goalless draw at Galatasaray with four games remaining hand the advantage to Fenerbahce. 

All “Fener” had to do to win the title was take victory in their three remaining games and they would be champions. But on the final day, Fenerbahce were held to a 1-1 draw by Trabzonspor, and Bursaspor pounced with a 2-1 victory over Besiktas, sparking jubilant scenes as Bursaspor claimed the title by just a single point.

6. Feyenoord (2016-17 Eredivisie)

Going into the 2016-17 season, Dutch giants Feyenoord were without a title since the turn of the century, and had only even finished second on three occasions in that period. An explosive start that saw them go eleven games unbeaten at the start of the season, including nine straight wins, put them in pole position to end that long wait for a league title. 

Feyenoord were never off top spot in the whole of the season, but a 3-0 defeat to Excelsior in the penultimate game sowed the seeds of doubt and allowed Ajax to move within a point going into the final day. 

There would, however, be no second slip from Feyenoord, and club icon Dirk Kuyt hit a hat-trick in his final game before retirement in a 3-1 win over Heracles to seal the championship in perfect style.

5. Monaco (2016-17 Ligue 1)

With the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Benjamin Mendy having all moved on from Monaco as expected in the 2017 summer transfer window, it is perhaps little surprise that many felt Monaco’s 2016-17 Ligue 1 was the only chance that side full of young superstars would have to lift the French title as a group.

Indeed, European giants were circling around the principality’s squad long before a 2-0 win over St Etienne in the penultimate game sealed a first title in 17 years for a side that swept all before them, hitting a staggering 107 goals in an unforgettable season. 

4. Atletico Madrid (2013-14 La Liga)

It had been 10 years since a side other than Real Madrid or Barcelona had lifted the Spanish title, and eighteen since Atletico Madrid had done so, when the curtain was lifted on the 2013-14 La Liga season.

That, however, was all about to change. 

Diego Simeone’s side went head-to-head with both Barca and Real, and it was the combative style of Atletico that for once, won out. Atletico netted just 77 goals that season, compared to Barcelona’s 100 and Real’s 104, but going into a final day decider at the Nou Camp, Atletico’s resilience proved decisive. 

Trailing 1-0 to Barca, a result that would have given Martino’s side the title on the head-to-head record, it was the centrepiece of the Atletico defence, Diego Godin, who rose highest to head home an equalising corner, handing Atletico a famous triumph.

3. Liverpool (2013-14 Premier League)

When Philippe Coutinho swept home Liverpool’s third goal in a 3-2 win over Manchester City at Anfield on 13th April 2014, it seemed as though the club’s 24 year wait for a title was just weeks from its end.

That win meant that victory in Liverpool’s final four games would secure them the championship. What happened next, however, is one of the infamous stories in Premier League history. 

Steven Gerrard’s slip two weeks later against Chelsea let City back into the title race, and when a hunt for potentially crucial goal difference at Crystal Palace backfired and a 3-0 lead became a 3-3 draw, the title race was as good as over. A final day win over Newcastle was therefore rendered irrelevant as City beat West Ham to claim their second Premier League title by two points, having been seven behind Liverpool, albeit with two games in hand, following their defeat at Anfield.

2. Leicester City (2015-16 Premier League)

No list of unexpected championships will ever again be complete without recognition of Leicester City’s spectacular 5000-1 Premier League triumph in 2015-16. 

Unlike just about every other title challenge, this was not targeted or anticipated even within the club itself, but as every week passed that saw Claudio Ranieri’s take a step closer to that famous title, more and more people began to believe that the unthinkable might just happen.

In the end, it was a result that almost everyone was rooting for, if only to remind us that in football, absolutely anything will always be possible.

1. Inter Milan (2017-18 Serie A)

Since Dries Mertens said that this was a now or never season for Napoli, Gli Azzurri have won just one of three league games, losing their unbeaten record to Juventus in the process.Thankfully for the neutral, however, Napoli are still far from out of it, and they aren’t even the only side looking to end the domestic domestic held by Juve in the past six years.

It has been six seasons without a top three finish for Inter, but with Mauro Icardi in seemingly unstoppable form and those around in looking just a formidable, a first Scudetto since 2010 could be on the horizon.

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Luciano Spalletti Makes Light-Hearted Suggestion That Inter Will Try Signing Iniesta in January

?Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti has joked about who he wants to see join the Nerazzurri in the January transfer window.

Inter are currently undefeated in Serie A, topping the table ahead of intense competition from the likes of Napoli, Juventus, Roma and Lazio. However, it has been suggested that the Milan outfit will need to sign a couple of new players in January in order to maintain their momentum in the league.

FC Internazionale v Pordenone - TIM Cup

“I think we have to be careful in the transfer market,” Spalletti said, as reported by ?Football Italia. “I think until the club and the President give their true intentions about how to act in this transfer window we should all be silent.

“Creating the expectations that you [the media] created before the start of the season, and the lack of faith because of the names who did come in isn’t good for the fans, the players or Inter. Above all it’s about results.

“If you ask me who I want then I’ll tell you. Here are three names I’d like: Sergio Ramos, [Andres] Iniesta and [Alexis] Sanchez. Get to work on those, OK? Otherwise start again with the phone calls. We need to give those who have taken Inter to where are now the respect they deserve.”

Inter have dropped only eight points from a possible 48 so far in Serie A seeing them surge unexpectedly to the top of the table and put themselves in contentions for their first Scudetto since 2010, despite finishing seventh last season.


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Picking the Best Potential Inter Lineup to Face Udinese on Saturday

?Luciano Spalletti will be hoping his Inter side will pick up all three points in the league match against Udinese this Saturday, after only managing a draw against Juventus last weekend.

The 0-0 result meant that they remained at the top of Serie A, a point clear of Napoli who are in second place. It also kept Inter’s unbeaten record in the league this season, winning 12 and drawing four.  

Here’s who the manager could pick this weekend. 

Goalkeeper

  • Handanovic

    Handanovic1

?Expect Samir Handanovic to continue in goal for this game.

Defence

  • D'Ambrosio

    D’Ambrosio33

  • Škriniar

    Škriniar37

  • Miranda

    Miranda25

  • Santon

    Santon21

?Don’t expect there to be too many changes from the side that drew with Juventus last week, especially in defence. 

The back four are likely to remain the same with Danilo D’Ambrosio and Davide Santon starting on the sides and Milan Skriniar being paired with the experienced Miranda in the centre.

The majority of these four have played in most of the league games this season, in a side that has conceded just 10 goals in 16 games. 

Midfield

?But their could be changes in the midfield for the league leaders. Roberto Gagliardini is likely to come back into the side after not starting the last league game against Juventus. He will perhaps join his more regular midfield partner Matias Vecino in the deep-lying positions. 

That may lead Borja Valero to move to his more regular advanced position in the centre of the park, after playing in a deeper position in their previous league game. Antonio Candreva and Ivan Perisic should complete the midfield lineup. 

Forwards

  • Icardi

    Icardi9

Mauro Icardi is Inter’s, and the league’s, top scorer with 16 goals. The captain is an influential player for his side and has been valuable in their unbeaten start this season.

He will more than likely start for his side on Saturday and will be the danger man as they attempt to keep their lead at the top of the Serie A table.

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