Inter’s attempts to win a first Serie A title since 2011 may have fallen by the wayside, but Antonio Conte’s side still have work to do when they take on basement boys SPAL at San Siro.
I Nerazzurri comfortably dispatched Torino last time out, but are now eight points behind table toppers Juventus – with hopes of overcoming their bitter rivals now a distant memory.
Catching Atalanta – who are this season’s surprise package – to finish second remains a possibility, and those chances will be greatly improved if Alexis Sanchez can maintain the glimpses of his former self that he’s shown of late.
SPAL, on the other hand, have had a rotten season, and are 11 points away from safety – surely too many to overcome before the end of the season. Since Serie A restarted, they have conceded eight times in three games and have failed to find the back of the net – bad omens against a side who have conceded just 34 all season.
Here is 90min‘s preview of the match:
When is Kick Off? Thursday 16 July
What Time is Kick Off? 20:45pm (BST)
Where is it Played? Paolo Mazza
TV Channel/Live Stream? Premier Sports 2
With the title now out of reach, Antonio Conte will most likely continue to tinker with his side.
Nicolo Barella and Stefano Sensi are both still out, while Romelu Lukaku has joined the injury list with a back injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season. In better news, Marcelo Brozovi? and Matias Vecino are both fully recovered from their respective injuries and will be available.
For SPAL, they are without first-choice goalkeeper Etrit Berisha, as well as Ervin Zukanovi? at the back.
SPAL: Letica; Cionek, Vicari, Bonifazi, Reca; Valdifiori, Dabo, D’Alessandro, Floccari, Murgia; Petagna.
Inter: Handanovi?; Godín, De Vrij, Škriniar; Moses, Brozovi?, Vecino, Biraghi, Eriksen; Sanchez, Martínez.
Inter’s form since Serie A restarted has been patchy, ending their hopes of stopping bitter rivals Juventus from winning a ninth successive Scudetto.
A second place finish would still merit good work from Antonio Conte in his first season in charge, given the number of signings he’s attempted to bed in.
SPAL have been pretty woeful all season, and a return to Serie B now looks inevitable. Their failings in front of goal have contributed to their downfall, with just 23 goals netted in the 32 Serie A games played so far.
Here’s how both sides have got on in their last five games.
Genoa 2-0 SPAL (12/07)
SPAL 0-3 Udinese (09/07)
Sampdoria 3-0 SPAL (05/07)
SPAL 2-2 Milan (01/07)
Napoli 3-1 SPAL (28/06)
Inter 3-1 Torino (13/07)
Verona 2-2 Inter (09/07)
Inter 1-2 Bologna (05/07)
Inter 6-0 Brescia (01/07)
Parma 1-2 Inter (28/06)
Taking everything into account, it’s hard to see anything apart from a comfortable Inter win.
Conte’s side are pretty ruthless in front of goal, and generally keep it tight at the back despite some worryingly lapses in concentration over the course of the season.
The title may be gone, but Inter can still claim second place – before heading back into Europa League action, a competition they are now among the favourites for.
Prediction: SPAL 0-4 Inter