Inter vs Lazio Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News and More

?Inter and Lazio meet at San Siro on Saturday in a crucial tie at the top of the Serie A table. 

After an undefeated start to their 2017/18, Inter now find themselves third, five points behind league leaders Napoli. Defensively the Nerazzurri have looked convincing, it is at the other end of the pitch that Luciano Spalletti’s side have struggled recently. Inter have failed to score in four of their last five matches in all competitions. 

Simone Inzaghi’s’ Lazio side are currently fifth in the league table – four points behind their hosts – and are in good form, having lost just one of their last five Serie A games. Scoring goals is not a problem for Le Aquilekeeping them out is their Achilles’ heel.


Classic Encounter

Inter 4-1 Lazio, May 2014

FC Internazionale Milano v SS Lazio - Serie A

Javier Zanetti bid an emotional farewell to an adoring San Siro crowd, as Inter marked the Argentinian’s impending retirement with a 4-1 comeback victory against Lazio.

Two minutes in, Lorik Cana found himself all alone at the far post following a corner and, after his header was spilled into the six-yard box, Biava tucked the ball home. Hush descended upon San Siro – but not for long – as Palacio soon struck the first blow of a swift Inter comeback.

Keita Balde Diao came close to restoring Lazio’s lead in the 24th minute when letting rip from the edge of the Inter box. Samir Handanovic made the save before denying Ogenyi Onazi on the rebound.

Inter went 2-1 up 10 minutes before the break, when 20-year-old Mateo Kovacic produced the perfect through ball for Mauro Icardi, who could not fail to score from when one-on-one with Berisha.

Three minutes later, Palacio capitalised on a critical lapse in concentration from Berisha to tap Yuto Nagatomo’s low cross from the left into the back of the net.

FC Torino v FC Internazionale - Serie A

In the 73rd minute, Handanovic somehow managed to deny Felipe Anderson with his feet and, three minutes later, he pulled off an energetic double save to deny the Brazilian and then Antonio Candreva.

Just as it seemed Lazio would get back into the game however, they were wounded by a former employee. Yet another break orchestrated by the enchanting Kovacic saw the ball arrive at Hernanes’ feet and the one-time Lazio star gratefully rifled the ball past Berisha with trademark accuracy.


Key Battles

Lazio’s defenders can expect a testing afternoon at San Siro on Saturday. Stefan de Vrij will need to marshal the troops and will have the responsibility of marking Inter’s captain – and top goalscorer – striker Icardi. 

The Dutch international will need to be alert from the first whistle in order to effectively monitor the Argentine’s clever runs and movement by restricting the space he creates for others and reducing Inter’s goal scoring opportunities. 

Conceding goals is Lazio’s main issue therefore young Albanian goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha will need a confident display to keep the home side quiet. Since making the number one jersey his own, he has performed to a consistent level, but will need to be decisive in his decision making and commanding of his area for the Romans to take anything away from San Siro on Saturday night. 

Lazio’s Ciro Immobile is bound to test the resolute Inter defence as, after scoring 16 league goals so far this season, the Italian international will be brimming with confidence. Inter’s Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic will need to make sure his defence is well organised, disciplined and restricts the striking opportunities of Lazio’s potent attacking threats.

Also keep an eye out for the battle on the touchline between two head coaches. Their contrasting styles of management and football ethos are now firmly embedded in their teams and will make intriguing viewing for all supporters. 


Team News 

Defensively, Spalletti will be reluctant to change his Inter’s defensive approach, which has remained solid, but it is likely Danilo D’Ambrosio will start at left back ahead of Japanese defender Nagatomo after the midweek derby defeat in the Coppa Italia.

Juventus v FC Internazionale - Serie A

However it is in attack that is the area of concern, as they have struggled to score consistently over recent weeks. Expect Croatian Marcelo Brozovic to return in his offensive role behind Mauro Icardi in the coach’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.

Inter Milan (4-2-3-1): Handanovic, Cancelo, Skriniar, Miranda, D’Ambrosio, Gagliardini, Valero, Candreva, Brozovic, Perisic and Icardi

Lazio (3-4-2-1): Strakosha, Patric, De Vrij, Wallace Santos, Marusic, Parolo, Murgia, Lukaku, Luis Alberto, Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile


Prediction

An Inter win is on the cards with the home side overcoming their recent goal scoring drought. Lazio’s defensive frailties will provide Inter and their significant attacking threat the opportunities for them to convert.

FC Internazionale v Udinese Calcio - Serie A

These gifts are likely to be exploited and Inter will eventually prove to have too much for their opponents. A hard fought home win is likely for Inter.

Inter 2-1 Lazio

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3 Key Battles Which Could Decide Inter’s Clash With Lazio on Saturday Evening

As the resolute Nerazzurri prepares to host free scoring Le Aquile at the San Siro early on Saturday evening, we look ahead to three key battles where the game could be won or lost. 

Inter have made an impressive start to their league campaign, sitting third in the table with just two defeats, while Lazio are 5th and are the second highest scorers in Serie A – behind defending champions Juventus. 

This should be an interesting encounter that will keep those fans watching captivated. 

3. Luciano Spalletti vs Simone Inzaghi

It will be exctitng to see both managers do battle on the touchline. Inter’s Spalletti has shown consistently that he is a coach that encourages his sides to play attractive football in the way it was intended, but has the tactical nous to change formation and personnel if things are not working as he had intended. 

In Inzaghi, Lazio have a manager that has earned his opportunity after being the club’s youth team coach and learning his trade. Indeed, Inzaghi’s approach is organised, direct, and effective: his ethos very much on the counteract, a direct style with plenty of long balls played quickly forward. This suits his attackers especially Ciro Immobile who has thrived on this type of service. 

Contrasting styles of management and ethos, but a battle that will make intriguing viewing. 

2. Samir Handanovic vs Ciro Immobile

Lazio’s Ciro Immobile is bound to test the resolute Inter defence; his speed and finishing ability will cause problems especially after scoring 16 league goals so far this season, the Italian international will be brimming with confidence and he thrives on that ball over the top. 

Inter’s Slovenian international goalkeeper Samir Handanovic will need to make sure his defence is well organised, disciplined and restricts the striking opportunities of Lazio’s potent attacking threats. 

Good starting positions will enable him to snuffle up any misplaced passes behind his defence.

1. Mauro Icardi vs Stefan de Vrij

Lazio’s defenders can expect a testing afternoon at the San Siro on Saturday. Stefan de Vrij will need to marshall the troops and will have the responsibility of marking Inter’s captain and lead striker Mauro Icardi. 

The Dutch international will need to be alert from the first whistle monitoring the Argentine’s clever runs and movement. By restricting the space the striker creates for others and reducing Inter’s goal scoring opportunities will be essential for Lazio being able to take something positive from the game. 

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Milan’s Franck Kessie Victim of Racist Abuse During Coppa Italia Win Against Inter

?AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie was the apparent victim of racist chanting during his side’s derby meet-up with rivals Inter Milan on Wednesday.

AC Milan v Atalanta BC - Serie A

The sides, who share the San Siro, faced each other in a Coppa Italia quarter-final tie, with Milan claiming a 1-0 victory. Yet it wasn’t all that great for the Rossoneri, who had one of their stars suffer a bit of racist abuse.

According to beIN Sport reporter Matteo Bonetti (citing RAI), the former Atalanta player had chants hurled at him from the Curva Nord end of the San Siro.

He tweeted: “Confirmations from RAI that racist chants were heard towards end of game by Inter fans from Curva Nord in regards to Franck Kessie. Disgusting.”

Kessie has made 25 appearances for Milan since his loan move during the summer. The club will have the option to take him up on a permanent basis when his two-year spell is up. And given his output this season, which includes two goals and three assists to this point, it’s looking increasingly likely.

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Luciano Spalletti Admits Inter Are Missing ‘Something Extra’ Following Derby Disappointment

Luciano Spalletti insists that his Inter Milan side can “win against any opponent” on their day, however, the Nerazzurri are not showing what they are capable often enough.

?Inter suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of AC Milan on Wednesday, with 19-year-old striker Patrick Cutrone scoring the only goal of the game to book ?Milan’s place in the semi-finals of the TIM Cup.

“We lost a bit of confidence,” Spalletti said after the final whistle, as reported by the club website. “We did things with less courage and we didn’t manage to make the most of our qualities.

“As for now, we need to shift our perspective from a psychological point of view. We need to realise that we need that something extra. 

“We are doing well from a physical point of view and we are not lacking in quality. However, things become difficult if you’re just waiting for someone to come in and resolve a situation. We must resolve it for ourselves.

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“This squad has the potential to compete in any match and win against any opponent. However, we must be aware of our own ability and use this at all times. Sometimes, we are not completely capable of showing what we can do.”

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