Originally posted on Top-soccer.com
Inter will look to continue their march towards their 19th Scudetto with a tenth straight league win when they face Sassuolo.
Wednesday’s game is actually a make-up fixture, which will help the Nerazzurri finally pull level on matches with everyone else in the table. With AC Milan stumbling once again as Sampdoria managed to hold them to a draw, it’s firmly advantage Inter heading into this contest. Conte’s men could be as much as 11 points clear by the time this game ends, and that much closer towards ending their 11-year-long wait for their 19th Scudetto.
In addition, Inter are hoping to make it ten wins on the spin. They come into this game having earned a gritty, but well-deserved win over Bologna, thanks to a solitary goal from the very-much in form Romelu Lukaku, who continues to have an outstanding sophomore campaign at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Meanwhile, reigning champs Juventus continue to fall behind as they were shockingly held to a draw by their struggling city rivals Torino in last weekend’s Derby della Mole, and now Andrea Pirlo will be under crushing pressure when they face Napoli. Has he already written himself out of the equation? Perhaps, but that really won’t matter much to Inter fans, who are certainly already dreaming of seeing their team ending Juve’s stranglehold on the Scudetto this May.
Inter will be missing some key players for this match, however. Samir Handanovic, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Stefan de Vrij, and Matias Vecino all recently tested positive for COVID-19, while Alessandro Bastoni and Marcelo Brozovic are suspended, meaning that Conte may decide to tweak his starting XI somewhat for this match. However, Handanovic and De Vrij have since recovered, and will feature, but D’Ambrosio will not. The Nerazzurri, who haven’t lost in the league since January, are also looking to move closer to their impressive feat of 2007, when they strung together a 17-game winning streak. While they have some ways to go, each match does bring them closer and closer towards the ultimate prize – the Scudetto – and they’ll definitely be looking to get the better of a team that have proven to be a real nuisance for them in the not too distant past.
Indeed, Sassuolo, since bursting onto the top-flight scene in 2013, have built their reputation on being a disruptor of sorts. The Neroverdi have won just one of their last five games, and while they did sit in the top four for a bit, the general feeling was that they were punching well above their weight and they’d eventually slide back down into a more realistic spot. At the moment, Roberto De Zerbi’s side sit in eighth, but still are proving to be that thorn in the bigger teams’ sides. Despite losing to relegation-threatened Torino just before the break, Sassuolo came back and frustrated Roma by nicking a point off them last weekend, thus putting a huge dent in the capital club’s hopes of securing a top four spot.
Sassuolo themselves aren’t likely to secure any European football, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to try to throw wrenches in other teams’ plans, either. They’re not like other teams who, once they’ve secured safety are just happy to go on holiday and just cruise along for the rest of the campaign. Rather, they keep on fighting hard until the very end, regardless of wherever they end up ultimately finishing in the table. Currently missing their two big men up front – Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo – the plucky side have made do the best they can, and they will be looking to preserve their own solid record that hasn’t seen them lose on the road to Inter since 2014.
In fact, in their head-to-head record, it’s surprisingly Sassuolo who hold the superior numbers. Out of their last 15 meetings, the Neroverdi have won seven times, versus Inter’s six (and two draws). So while Inter have really tightened things up defensively – with just two goals conceded in their last six games – they may find themselves potentially asked a question or two as their eager opponents will look to try to cause as many problems as possible.
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