Inter Milan will host Sassuolo at San Siro on Saturday as they resume their pursuit of a top four Serie A finish after advancing to the Champions League semifinals with a derby victory in midweek.
Inter hopes to extend a six matches winning streak at the cost of their mid table visitors after taking a commanding early lead in their semifinal match up with Milan.
With a 2-0 victory against city rival AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal on Wednesday, Inter Milan gained control of the match, but coach Simone Inzaghi isn’t putting Serie A (SA) responsibilities on hold. It makes sense why Inzaghi said the game against Sassuolo was a “very important match” given that his team is now in fourth place and that the teams in second through fifth place are separated by only five points.
The Nerazzurri should be full of confidence after putting together their finest winning streak of the season, a six games competitive stretch, ahead of a demanding schedule that includes three competitions. The host on the day in this matchup has only won one of the last seven SA H2Hs (hosts: W1, D1, L5), and Inter have dropped three of their last four home league games (W1). This suggests that the match won’t be easy.
Sassuolo’s season may be all but over given their comfortable mid table position, but the prospect of achieving their third top half finish in the previous four seasons could serve as inspiration. However, recent performance has been shaky, with only two victories in seven games (D2, L3) casting doubt on the team’s spirit. The Neroverdi’s recent 1-1 draw with Bologna served as the capstone to that streak, but coach Alessio Dionisi’s statement that they “wanted to get the three points” suggests that they are still committed to climbing the standings.
As they attempt to end a three games losing streak on the road, Sassuolo will want more than just motivation. They may not be intimidated by the San Siro, though, since they defeated AC Milan 5-2 there earlier this season and triumphed 2-0 here last season.
Inter’s Romelu Lukaku, who has six contributions (G3, A3) in his previous three league games, is making up for lost time. Davide Frattesi of Sassuolo, meantime, has scored the second goal of the game in three of his past four league games, including the reverse head to head and this encounter against AC Milan.
In order to keep his first choice players fresh for Tuesday’s semi final second leg, Simone Inzaghi is bound to indulge in some squad rotation this weekend between two important derbies.
The only injured player is Milan Skriniar, but Robin Gosens and Danilo D’Ambrosio both made midweek comebacks and could play some part against Sassuolo.
No player has contributed to more Serie A goals since the beginning of April than the Inter tandem of Lautaro Martinez (five goals, two assists) and Romelu Lukaku (three goals, four assists). However, Romelu Lukaku is more likely to be paired with Joaquin Correa as ‘El Toro’ takes a break.
After being benched against Milan, Marcelo Brozovic ought to play in the middle, while Stefan de Vrij might go into the Nerazzurri’s defense.
After serving a two matches suspension, Sassuolo’s first choice striker Andrea Pinamonti will return on Saturday night, and the Inter loanee is expected to start the encounter against his original club.
Gregoire Defrel, a French forward, would thus be removed from the lineup, while Nedim Bajrami might make room for Armand Lauriente in the three men front line of the guests. Domenico Berardi, the third player in the group, and Antoine Griezmann are the only two players in the top five leagues in Europe who have at least six goals and six assists in 2023.
The Italian international, who has eight goals and six assists so far this year, may join Ciro Immobile and Inter’s Javi Martinez as the only players to score eight or more goals in each of the previous four Serie A campaigns.
Inter Milan possible starting lineup
Onana, D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Bastoni, Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Dimarco Correa and Lukaku.
Sassuolo possible starting lineup
Consigli, Toljan, Ferrari, Erlic, Rogerio, Frattesi, Lopez, Henrique, Berardi, Pinamonti and Lauriente.
We predict: Inter Milan 2-1 Sassuolo
The record of Sassuolo on the road indicates that their opponents should still be expected to win, even if Simone Inzaghi makes significant changes to his starting lineup. Within a fit and firing Inter squad, where rivalry for spots is now at its peak, they may look to a variety of sources for attacking inspiration.