Monday night football is a rarity in Serie A, with most matches normally played over the weekend to avoid teams being too fatigued due to European exploits. However, on this occasion there is a proper big clash happening on a Monday between Inter Milan and Fiorentina. Both clubs are involved in the Europa League this season, albeit with contrasting fortunes – Inter Milan will finish bottom of Group K due to a 3-2 defeat in Israel to Hapoel Be’er Sheva, whilst Fiorentina require only a point from their last group game against Qarabag to top Group J.
With both teams losing their Europa League games 3-2 to relatively weak opposition despite playing fairly strong teams, they will both be desperate for a result in order to boost their chances of claiming a European spot come the end of the season. Both teams have pretty strong squads, but find themselves falling short of expectations – Fiorentina are in 8th, Inter are all the way down in 12th despite finishing 4th last season. Inter have had a managerial change recently, with new manager Stefano Pioli facing his first home game since replacing Frank de Boer (as Inter were technically the away team in the Milan derby) – a fact which will no doubt fire up the team to get a good result in front of their fans.
Pioli appears to be favouring a slightly different approach to de Boer, although he hasn’t changed the formation (4-3-3). The wingers are now tasked with cutting inside to overload the central areas, allowing the full backs to bomb forward (as is the norm nowadays). This overload in the central areas may play directly into Fiorentina’s hands, as they have better centre backs than they do full backs, and Tomovic (a right back) is quite capable at slotting into central defence to make a strong back three.
This strong defence has ensured that Fiorentina have the best defensive record in Serie A thus far with less goals conceded (11) than games played (12). This may be put to the test against a free-shooting Inter side who have fired the second most shots of any team in Serie A so far this season (232).
Injuries and Suspensions:
Inter: Davide Santon (full back) and Gary Medel (Centre mid)
Fiorentina: Cristian Tello and Hernan Toledo (wingers)
Inter: Handanovic, Ansaldi, Murillo, Miranda, D’Ambrosio, Kondogbia, Brozovic, Joao Mario, Perisic, Candreva, Icardi
Fiorentina: Tatarusanu, Oliveira, Astori, Rodriguez, Salcedo, Badelj, Vecino, Bernardeschi, Ilicic, Kalinic
My Prediction: Fiorentina won’t roll over easily, but with it being Pioli’s first game I think Inter will just have enough to get the win. Inter Milan 2-1 Fiorentina