?Inter will look to cement their place in the top four of Serie A as they host SPAL on Sunday afternoon.
As with most of Inter’s recent matches, the buildup to this match has been dominated by the antics of star striker Mauro Icardi, with manager Luciano Spalletti telling a news conference that he is refusing to train with the club, Goal reporting that Icardi has told his boss: “I’ll tell you when I feel ready to play.”
The Nerazzurri are three points clear of fifth placed Roma in their hunt for Champions League football next season, while also being only a point behind city rivals AC Milan. SPAL meanwhile are in 16th, just five points above the relegation zone.
Where to Watch
|?When Is Kick Off?
||Sunday 10 March?
|?What Time Is Kick Off?
|?Where Is it Played?
||?Free Sports UK
Following their hard-fought 0-0 draw away to Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday, Inter will have had little chance to recover as they return to Serie A action.
It’s looking more and more likely that the talismanic Icardi has played his last game at San Siro, meaning Lautaro Martinez, who has just five goals in 19 league games this season, will be expected to deliver for the home side.?
Radja Nainggolan suffered an injury in training which will keep him out for a couple of weeks, while fellow midfielder Matias Vecino will miss out due to a suspension. Croatian World Cup finalist Sime Vrsaljiko is out long term after having knee surgery.
Spalletti stated in his press conference that Ivan Perisic, who came off after an hour on Thursday, is suffering from fatigue and muscle issues, which may see the winger rested on Sunday.
SPAL centre back Thiago Cionek is suspended following his red card against Sampdoria in their last game, while winger Lazzari is out due to injury. Club captain and former Leeds forward Mirco Antenucci will likely be on the bench, as ex-Swansea player Alberto Paloschi will lead the line for the white and blues.?
||Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Skriniar, Dalbert; Gagliardini, Brozovic; Politano, Joao Mario, Candreva; Lautaro Martinez?
||?Viviano; Vicari, Felipe, Bonifazi, Fares; Valoti, Missiroli, Murgia, Kurtic; Petagna, Paloschi
?Head to Head Record
Before SPAL’s promotion to Serie A after a 49-year absence in 2017, the two sides had never met in a competitive match.
Inter have the advantage in the three previous matches with two wins a draw. A Mauro Icardi double helped them snatch a 2-1 win in October, but will things be different with the Argentine not playing this Sunday?
The home side will be desperate to bounce back in the league following a damaging 2-1 defeat to Cagliari, and they’ve been accused of lacking a cutting edge in the league during Icardi’s hiatus.
The Nerazzurri’s league form will be a major concern for Spalletti, following a run of just one win in seven, a spell which included a home defeat to Bologna, while also exiting the Coppa Italia against Lazio.
Following a promising start to the season, a run of just one win in 17 games has put the Ferrara club in deep relegation trouble. SPAL have only picked up one point out of a possible 15 in recent weeks, with only four teams in the division scoring fewer than them this season.
Here is how each team has performed in their last five matches.
|?Eintracht Frankfurt 0-0 Inter (7/3)
||?SPAL 1-2 Sampdoria (3/3)
|?Cagliari 2-1 Inter (1/3)
||?Sassuolo 1-1 SPAL (24/2)
|?Fiorentina 3-3 Inter (24/2)
||?SPAL 1-4 Fiorentina (17/2)
|?Inter 4-0 Rapid Wienna (21/2)
||?Atalanta 2-1 SPAL (10/2)
|?Inter 2-1 Sampdoria (17/2)
||?SPAL 0-0 Torino (3/2)
Inter have had a number of issues in recent weeks, with Icardi going AWOL and injuries to key plays such as Perisic and Nainggolan leading to some pretty toothless displays in recent weeks.
However, they are facing opponents in SPAL who are woefully out of form, and desperately need something to change for them very quickly.?
Even with Inter’s rocky patch recently, and coming off a big game from Thursday night, they really should have too much for the minnows here.
Prediction: Inter 3-0 SPAL