Fiorentina don’t have much time to celebrate their comprehensive dismantling of high-flying SPAL, because they head to Milan for a Tuesday match against Inter. This will mark the 171st meeting between the sides, with a W49 D54 L68 record all time and a -36 goal difference. Over their last 10 meetings in Serie A, though, the Viola are W5 D1 L4 against the Nerazzurri, although this fixture last year saw the hosts run out to a 3-0 win in the first match of the season.
The match will be played on Tuesday, 25 September 2018, at 9:00 PM GMT/3:00 PM EST, at the Stadio San Siro in Milan.
9th place is not where the Nerazzuri expected to find themselves after a widely-applauded summer mercato, but here we are. They had to wait until the 94th minute to secure a goal to beat Sampdoria on Saturday and were roundly outplayed for most of their Champions League tie with Tottenham Hotspur in the midweek, but grabbed two late goals to snatch a win; clearly, Pazza Inter is back in a big way.
A lot of that starts with manager Luciano Spalletti, the Tuscan and former Fiorentina mister who’s actually suspended for this one due to an outburst at the referees against Samp. That means that Marco Domenechini (himself a Fiorentina academy product) will probably be the head man in the dugout; he’s been Spalletti’s top lieutenant for years, so there won’t be that much of a break in continuity. He’ll also have the full squad to choose from.
That means we’ll see the usual 4-2-3-1. The dangerman is obviously Mauro Icardi, who absolutely loves playing against Fiorentina; the Argentine has scored 9 goals against the Viola since 2014, which is just wild, and he’ll give Germán Pezzella and Vitor Hugo a merry hell of a time. However, this Inter side is just so weird and unpredictable; you get the feeling that if the Viola can frustrate them for an hour or so, the wheels could come off, especially with Spalletti watching from the stands. Of course, keeping Icardi, Ivan Perišić, Keita Baldé, Matteo Politano, and company quiet for that long is a big ask and will require unwavering focus for 90 minutes.
Sitting pretty in third place, the Viola will want to prove that they can get it done away from home; they’ve won their 3 matches at the Franchi by a combined 10-1, but have managed just a single point away. The San Siro, of course, is a tough place to break that streak, but Fiorentina have managed some decent results there of late, and will hope that their dangerous looking attack will trouble their hosts.
Stefano Pioli should have his entire squad available unless Cristiano Biraghi ends up being dinged, although his knock against SPAL looked like more of an impact injury. We can probably expect what is by now pretty clearly the mister’s first-choice XI, although the tactical plan will be very different against Inter than it will against the Estensi.
Fiorentina will probably defend deep and try to test Inter on the break, which suits their tactics a bit more. They probably won’t press the centerbacks as much and instead will try to win the ball when the Nerazzuri play into midfield. Keeping Icardi quiet is obviously the top priority, but there’s il Biscione can call on a lot of quality, so it’ll be a tough ask. Expect to see the Viola in a back 5 at times as Marco Benassi pushes wide to wingback, with Federico Chiesa and Marko Pjaca also tracking back. That could mean that Giovanni Simeone will spend a lot of time battling a tough group of defenders alone, and that doesn’t bode well for anyone.
How to watch
TV: Since this is the only Serie A match on Tuesday, it should be televised in all the usual places. Here are the full international listings.
Online: Because it’s on TV everywhere, streaming may be trickier than usual. Here is your list of safe, reliable, and legal viewing options online.
Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department
It’s hard to see Fiorentina keeping a clean sheet here, because the Nerazzurro number 9. However, I can see Fiorentina sneaking a goal on the break early as well and keeping Inter on edge for the entire match, which could lead to a signature meltdown. That said, the hosts just have too much quality to come completely unraveled, so I’ll say this’ll end as a 1-1, with Icardi becoming the only player beside Nenad Tomović to beat Lafont this year, while a Veretout penalty evens the score at the other end. This also feels like the kind of game where VAR could play a huge part, so be ready for scenes.