And yes, I mean "haven't gotten a result." Fiorentina have lost to Inter Milan every time they have faced them at the San Siro since 2000. This game unfortunately doesn't set itself up much better for Vincenzo Montella and company, with a slightly knocked and rotated side traveling to Milan after a wonderful but exhausting win against Tottenham Hotspur. Meanwhile Roberto Mancini has his new-look (and much more youthful) Inter trundling into gear, with 3 consecutive Serie A wins (and 9 goals spread across them). The nerazzuri's recent threat in front of goal has moved them up to 8th in the table and only 4 points off Fiorentina in 5th.
Inter's weakness has been and remains their defense. Hugo Campagnaro is the expected right back, and is hardly convincing in that role, while Inter captain Andrea Ranocchia remains the neutral's choice for "Most Entertainingly Inept Defender in Italy." Mancini has been packing the midfield to help compensate and, while Mateo Kovacic is unlikely to start, fellow Croatian international Marcelo Brozovic has had a favorable start to life at Inter after arriving in January. Watch out for the lively Xherdan Shaqiri behind the strikers, and the annoyingly in-form Mauro Icardi, who has scored 3 in his last 2 Serie A matches.
Montella has admitted too, that the lack of depth of midfield is making this game even more difficult. Borja Valero has started practicing again after a cut to his knee, but is unlikely to start, while David Pizarro may be rested for the coming midweek exertions, with the Coppa Italia first leg tie away to Juventus in midweek. Mario Gomez is certain to be rested, and isn't even in the squad for the trip to Milan. Confidence to Khouma Babacar then, who affirmed his revival with that goal against Inter in Florence, while the now undroppable Mohammed Salah will play across from Alessandro Diamanti in a 4-3-3. Alberto Aquilani and Manuel Pasqual are both expected to play, while Neto will start in goal again with Ciprian Tatarusanu still injured.
This is a tough game to call, although with two somewhat "combative" midfields likely to be fielded, and both teams having played in the Europa League on Thursday, I would expect much of the goalscoring chances to come from balls won in midfield and quick breaks (although it might be much more turgid than that). If Fiorentina can get their foot on the ball and reliably feed Babacar and their wide players, they are sure to have chances against this Inter back line. If it turns into a game of "Kurtic and Badelj try to catch Shaqiri between the lines," then the Viola will be in for a long evening. Forza viola, here's to a potentially massive result on the road!
Inter (4-3-1-2): Handanovic; Campagnaro, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Santon; Guarin, Medel, Brozovic; Shaqiri, Podolski, Icardi
FIORENTINA (4-3-3) NETO; TOMOVIC, GONZALO, SAVIC, PASQUAL; AQUILANI, BADELJ, KURTIC; DIAMANTI, BABACAR, SALAH