Inter started the season in disappointing fashion with a 1-0 loss away to Sassuolo. Some would argue that Inter has progressed well and should easily overcome their rivals in the reverse fixture. Just how some things didn’t go Inter’s way in the first match, the same will happen again. Inter will enter the match on the back foot. Although they are hosting Sassuolo, they will do so in front of an empty stadium.
Inter was hit with the penalty of having to play 2 home matches behind closed doors. This was a direct result of racial remarks made to Napoli’s Koulibaly in the 1-0 victory in late December. Their first match was played earlier in the week against Benevento, where Inter came out 6-2 victors. Although the victory was fantastic, there was an eerie atmosphere with such a victory in front of no fans.
This will play into the hands of the visitors, as Inter are known for the fans. With 65,000+ fans attending each home match can swing results to favour the home team. This was evident in the big champions league matches that Inter did not lose at home.
Sassuolo is what some would consider being the bogey team for Inter. It is evident that Inter has the team behind them to defeat Sassuolo, but they cannot get the result. Sassuolo have beaten Inter on 5 of the last 6 occasions. This alone is enough to put Inter on the back foot mentally before the match even commences.
Sassuolo have been playing average football lately. They have lost 3 out of 3 matches, conceding 11 goals, and only scoring three. Losses to Napoli, Atalanta and Roma have them sitting 12th in the Serie A, and out of the Coppa Italia. Politano will be hosting his former team at the San Siro, and will be hoping the put on a show. Although Sassuolo is sitting in 12th spot, a win here is ever so important for the team. Coming off 3 consecutive losses, they need a win to get the team back on track. And what better team to beat than 3rd placed Inter.
Inter come into the match with a completely different record to Sassuolo. They have won 3 out of their last 3 matches, scoring 8 goals and conceding 2. Wins against Napoli, Empoli and more recently Benevento have ensured that they ended the first half of the season strong. Inter will be looking to end the bogey against Sassuolo and get their 2019 campaign off to a great start. Inter will be hampered by the stadium ban that has been imposed onto them. Hosting Sassuolo in front of no fans is hard and de-motivating for the players. If the match against Benevento is anything to go off, then this should not be a problem.
Overall it can be seen that although history has not favoured Inter in this fixture, now is their chance to turn the tables. It is extremely evident that Inter currently have multiple advantages over Sassuolo that could play a part in the match.
Firstly table position of 3rd place compared to 12th. This alone can demonstrate the progress that Inter has accomplished in the first half of the season. Secondly squad depth; Inter has displayed that they don’t have one specific line-up or formation that they stick by, with the depth of the players on their bench able to pick up where the starting player left off. Finally possession and defence play a massive role in this match. Inter currently hold the Serie A records for most clean sheets (10) and average possession (58.6%). This is compared to Sassuolo’s 6 clean sheets and averaging 55.5% possession per match. Inter should come away with this match with the full 3 points, and momentum moving into the next match.
Prediction 2-0 Inter