Inter vs Napoli Preview: Classic Encounters, Key Battles, Team News & More

Napoli are set to travel away to Inter Milan on Sunday looking to maintain their position at the top of Serie A. 

Inter Milan are currently fifth in the league, one point behind the top four places. However, they have games-in-hand over both Lazio and Roma, who are in the two positions above. The Black and Blues have been in decent form since 2018 began, winning two matches, drawing four and losing just one. 

Napoli suffered a blow last weekend after ?losing 4-2 at home to Roma. The Light Blues remain at the top of Serie A, leading Juventus by one point, however, the Old Lady have played one game less than them. 

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash at the San Siro:


Classic Encounter

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One of their classic encounters came back in December 2013 in a memorable 4-2 home win for Napoli.

The Light Blues took an early lead in the game thanks to a strike from Gonzalo Higuain just inside of Inter’s penalty area. However, the away side struck back in the 35th minute when Esteban Cambiasso hammered a shot past Napoli goalkeeper Rafael from a few yards out. 

The set back didn’t effect the hosts for long as two quickfire goals just minutes later from Dries Mertens and Blerim Dzemaili saw Napoli storm to a 3-1 lead. But the scoring wasn’t over just yet in this amazing first half as Yuto Nagatomo pulled a goal back for Inter Milan in first half stoppage time. 

In the 71st minute, the Black and Blues went down to 10 men when Ricky Alvarez received a second yellow card. That’s an advantage Napoli eventually exploited as they struck a decisive blow ten minutes later. Jose Callejon poked a cross home from a couple of yards out to seal the game. 


Key Battles

Mauro Icardi vs Kalidou Koulibaly

Spal v FC Internazionale - Serie A

Mauro Icardi was an unused substitute last time out for Inter as they beat Benevento 2-0 at home. However, their star striker is likely to start this game for them 

The Argentinian international is his sides top scorer with 18 goals in Serie A this season and will be their danger man on Sunday. One of the players likely to be given the responsibility to stop Icardi will be Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. 

He has made 26 league appearances for the away side this season, missing only one game, which demonstrates his importance. His side will need him to be sharp as they look to maintain their position in the league.

Dries Mertens vs Samir Handanovic

SSC Napoli v AS Roma - Serie A

For Napoli, they have an equally dangerous forward playing for them. Dries Mertens heads into this game with 17 goals in Serie A this season, just one below Icardi. But he has much more to his game than just goals as he has also made six assists for his side in the league, that’s five more than Inter’s top striker.

If Inter are going to get a positive result from this game then their goalkeeper Samir Handanovic will need to be at the top of his game.

Handanovic is the third best goalkeeper in Serie A at keeping clean sheets this season. So far he has 10, with only Roma’s Alisson and Napoli’s Pepe Reina keeping more.


Team News

FC Internazionale v Benevento Calcio - Serie A

For Inter, Mauro Icardi is likely to return to the starting eleven after not featuring in his side’s previous game against Benevento. But Tommaso Berni and Andrea Ranocchia both remain out for this match.

The away side will have Faouzi Ghoulam unavailable for this fixture as they look to secure three points to put their title charge back on track after last weekend’s defeat. 

Potential Inter Milan Starting Lineup: Handanovic; Cancelo, Skriniar, Miranda, D’Ambrosio; Borja Valero, Vecino; Perisic, Rafinha, Candreva; Icardi.

Potential Napoli Starting Lineup: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Rui; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne.


Prediction

SSC Napoli v AS Roma - Serie A

Despite losing last time out, Napoli will still be strong favourites to pick up the three points in this fixture. Inter haven’t beaten the Light Blues in their last three meetings and haven’t scored against them either. 

But with the likes of Icardi playing upfront for the Black and Blues they still remain a threat going forward. However, still expect Napoli to come out on top in this one.

Prediction: Inter Milan 1-3 Napoli

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Picking the Best Potential Inter Lineup to Face Napoli on Sunday

Inter host Napoli on Sunday in Serie A looking to keep themselves in the hunt for a place in the top four after ?beating Benevento 2-0 in their previous fixture. 

The Black and Blues are currently fifth in the league, one point off the top four places. They have played less games than both Lazio and Roma, who are fourth and third. Inter have been in good form recently, winning two out of their last three games.

Here’s who manager Luciano Spalletti could pick.

Torhüter

  • Handanovic

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Expect Samir Handanovic to start in goal for this game.

Verteidigung

  • João Cancelo

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  • Škriniar

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  • Ranocchia

    Ranocchia13

  • D'Ambrosio

    D’Ambrosio33

?In the heart of the Inter defense, Milan Skriniar and Andrea Ranocchia are likely to continue their partnership of recent games. Both played in the last two fixtures against Benevento and Genoa, and both actually scored in their 2-0 win over the former.

Expect Joao Cancelo and Danilo D’Ambrosio to complete the defensive lineup in the full-back positions.

Mittelfeld

Inter are likely to begin this game with two midfielders in the deeper roles. Expect Borja Valero to keep his place in the side in one of those roles and Matias Vecino could partner him for Sunday’s fixture. 

In the more advanced positions, expect the trio of Ivan Perisic, Rafinha, Antonio Candreva to all start the game. Candreva has been in particularly fine form this season, with eight assists so far, the joint best in Serie A.

Sturm

  • Icardi

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?Mauro Icardi has had some injury issues over the past month or so and started the previous game on the bench. 

But he is likely to be brought back into the starting lineup for this game against the league leaders. The striker is his side’s top scorer in Serie A with 18 goals this season and they will need him to be firing on Sunday. 

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Inter Reveal Specially Designed Badge to Commemorate the Club’s 110-Year Celebrations

?Inter have commemorated their 110th birthday celebrations with a special new badge which honours the club’s illustrious history.

The commemorative new design was revealed on social media on Friday as the Italian club’s players of past and present attended their evening’s Hall of Fame gala. 

The badge includes the current crest enveloped by the famous white and red cross of St. Ambrose, one of Milan’s patron saints St. George, with the years 1908-2018 and the phrase “Centodieci di Inter” etched above – translated to ‘110-years of Inter’. 

??In an evening full of celebrations and Hall of Fame awards the club’s CEO Alessandro Antonello took to the stage to make note of Inter’s past and future.

Antonello said, via the? club’s website“Our history must inspire us. The club’s founding fathers were revolutionaries, giving us important values and making us proud to wear the Nerazzurri shirt. This must provide inspiration for everyone.

“Our legendary history is really important and must be considered as a whole. The hope for the end of the season is that we can reach the goals that we set out at the start of the season.” 

Inter manager Luciano Spalletti said of the occasion: “To celebrate this anniversary is an honour, a privilege and an important responsibility. Like the great champions that are here this evening, we have an obligation to write important pages into the club’s history. 

“This birthday is another element of what it means to be part of a club like Inter and this must motivate us to guarantee the future of what this marvellous club deserves.”

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The celebrations of Inter’s history saw Ronaldo, Lothar Matthaus, Javier Zanetti and Walter Zenga become the first four players in their respective position to be inducted in the club’s Hall of Fame. 

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4 Players Who Need a Strong End to the Season to Secure Their Futures at Inter

After what has unfortunately yet again become a frustratingly typical Inter season – a fantastic start followed by an lacklustre winter period that undoes the previous good work – there are more than a few familiar faces who have underperformed.

With the Nerazzurri currently placed outside the Champions League places, and qualification considered a prerequisite for progress, it is realistic to assume that if the situation fails to be rectified there will be some high profile exits come the summer.

Here are four players who will need to reassure the club of their value if they are to remain adorned in the blue and black beyond the summer.

4. Antonio Candreva

After a summer of speculation, in which he was very publically courted by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, the veteran Italian winger has evidently failed to return his focus to the task at hand. 

While he was admittedly able to contribute seven assists during Inter’s impressive 16 game unbeaten streak that opened the season, the club’s subsequent slump in form has coincided with his own, and he hasn’t provided an assist since mid-December.

Even more damning, he isyet to register a goal across all competitions this campaign. 

With reports already suggesting his side are willing to let him go for the right price, he will have to produce a run of excellent form to secure his future, and even then it may only serve to increase Inter’s leverage in negotiations with the two interested English parties.

3. Eder

While the Italy international has never been the most prolific of strikers, he has always had an uncanny ability to slot home when it really mattered, often from the bench.

The issue has been his incapability to do so this term. In fact, up until the beginning of February, he had one goal in 24 appearances. However, back to back scores against Crotone and Bologna have helped repair some of the damage.

He will need to prove this wasn’t an anomaly if he is to maintain his status as an Inter representative. 

2. Rafinha

It tells you all you need to know that the Barcelona loanee is the only one of these four who as of yet doesn’t have an image of disbelief, anger or despair in an Inter shirt.

Indeed, while it may seem harsh to single out a loanee as someone who is playing for their future, that effectively is the situation. 

The Brazilian has recently made it clear he wants to make his stay in Milan a permanent one. The buck therefore lies at his feet to convince the hierarchy that his €35m option to buy is a justifiable outlay, especially under their current financial restraints.

1. Ivan Perisic

The talented Croatian is another who may surprise a few but, as with Candreva, his head appears to have been irrevocably turned from the reports last summer.

While the winger began the season in decent form, he has failed to register a goal or assist since the start of December, and there have already been murmurs that Inter are unwilling to show the same resolve as last summer this time around. 

With Jose Mourinho and Manchester United seemingly set to start where they left off come July, Perisic will have to excel in the last few months to reverse his inclusion in the purported summer overhaul that is being prepared for the forthcoming transfer window.

Whether he is interested in such a fate is another matter entirely. 

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Inter Planning Summer Swoop for Paris Saint-Germain Star Providing UCL Qualification Is Secured

?Serie A giants Inter Milan have identified Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria as a prime target for the summer, and will move for the Argentine star on the condition they are able to qualify for the Champions League, as reported by ?talkSPORT.

The Nerazzuri have enjoyed a resurgence this season, re-establishing themselves amongst Italy’s elite however, their attack has been somewhat lacking this campaign and have subsequently struggled in the absence of their talisman Mauro Icardi.

ACF Fiorentina v FC Internazionale - Serie A

Subsequently, Inter have set their sights of securing a move for PSG playmaker Di Maria. The 30-year-old has been a creative force at the Parc des Princes this season, scoring 17 goals and making 15 assists in 34 appearances.

As such the former Manchester United and Real Madrid man would be an ideal addition to the Nerazzuri however, the Italian giants will only move for him assuming they are able to qualify for the Champions League.

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Inter have seen themselves fall to fifth in the Serie A standings despite their impressive start, though have a game in hand over their rivals, with a win in their upcoming game against league leaders Napoli potentially being enough to see them move into third.

You may also like: ?Top European Clubs Reportedly Courting Inter Sensation Skriniar for Potential €70m Summer Move


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