After suffering a shock defeat to Empoli in their previous match, Serie A football returns for Inter as they take on rock-bottom Cremonese today at the Giovanni Zini Stadium.
Inter started the new year on a high, defeating league leaders Napoli and clinching mid-season silverware by cruising past cross-city rivals Milan in the final of the Supercoppa Italiana in Saudi Arabia. However, their hopes of being a potential Scudetto challenger drowned after getting humbled by Empoli at the San Siro earlier this week.
Milan Skriniar’s sending off in the 40th minute meant the Nerazzuri had to play an hour of football with 10 men. Empoli took full advantage of Inter’s deficit and young star Tommasso Baldanzi’s strike stood the difference between the two teams.
With the shocking loss, Inter have now suffered six defeats this season, the most among the top six in the league standings. The record is a massive setback for Simeone Inzaghi’s side as the competition for the Champions League spots tighten up and Inter haven’t shown consistent performances this season.
The Nerazzurri will aim to continue their dominating form over Cremonese as they have won 12 in their last 15 meetings.
Meanwhile, 20th-placed Cremonese approach this match in search of their first win of the season. Though they could demonstrate commendable heroics in their last Coppa Italia outing in which they edged past Napoli in the penalty shootout, Cremonese will only look for a point at the best against Inter.
The Cremona-based club has become the second-ever side to not grab a single victory in their first half of the season since Ancona in 2003/04.
Results from their last five matches in all competitions
D W L L L
L W W W D
Simeone Inzaghi will miss Milan Skriniar and Nicolo Barella through suspensions.
Midfielder Marcelo Brozovic is set to rest this one out to become fully fit for next week’s Milan derby.
Francesco Acerbi is expected to cover for Skriniar while either one of Roberto Gagliardini and Kristjan Asllani is set to substitute for Barella.
As for Cremonese, Charles Pickel and Cyriel Dessers are ruled out for this match through a suspension and injury respectively.
Daniel Ciofani and Roma loanee Felix Afena-Gyan is expected to partner upfront in attack.
Cremonese (3-5-2): Carnesecchi; Bianchetti, Chiriches, Ferrari; Sernicola, Benassi, Castagnetti, Meite, Valeri; Okereke, Ciofani
Inter (3-5-2): Onana; Skriniar, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Gagliardini, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Martinez, Dzeko
Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN