Without a win in their last four Serie A outings, Scudetto hopefuls Inter Milan face a giant test to their Serie A title credentials at the beginning of 2018 as they prepare to face Fiorentina at Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Another Milanese challenge for Viola
Fiorentina finished the old year with a clash against one team from the city of Milano and will commence 2018 with a clash against another club from the same city.
Viola fought bravely against Rossoneri on the penultimate day of 2017. Stefano Pioli’s men opened the scoring in this closely-contested duel through Giovanni Simeone who scored his 6th goal for Viola in 19 Serie A appearances this season with less than 20 minutes left on the clock. Under-pressure AC Milan responded almost immediately with Hakan Calhanoglu leveling the score after only three minutes to deny brave Viola a much-needed triumph. A draw against AC Milan left Fiorentina in eighth place in the standings, three away from the last remaining European place. Viola have high hopes for the ongoing campaign but will need to raise the bar and improve their displays significantly in order to keep up with the leasing Serie A sides. Even though they are without a single league defeat since the beginning of November, Fiorentina recorded only three wins in eight matches and are worryingly toothless.
Portuguese defender Bruno Gaspar is unavailable through a knee injury, whereas the talented Bulgarian Petko Hristov is suffering from a muscle issue.
Crucial test for Inter Milan
Nerazzurri are currently going through a difficult patch which has the supporters questioning the club’s title credentials. The Serie A giants have been waiting for seven long years to get back to the top of Italian football and with Chinese investments over the past year Inter Milan did manage to make some improvements.
Led by the experienced tactician Luciano Spalletti, Nerazzurri headed into the new season with renewed optimism. Unburdened by European football, Inter Milan managed to impose themselves as top Serie A contenders but appear to be losing pace in title race over the past couple of weeks. Back-to-back Serie A defeats against Udinese and Sassuolo, respectively, were followed by a disappointing Coppa Italia elimination at the hands of city rivals AC Milan before Inter Milan finished the year with a goalless draw against Lazio. Six points behind Juventus in second and eight adrift of leaders Napoli, Nerazzurri now face a must-win challenge against another high-profile Italian side Fiorentina. Last couple of meetings between the two sides were won by home sides and Inter Milan will most certainly be hoping to put an end to that four-match trend. It will most certainly be easier said than done, knowing that Spalletti’s men are winless in their last three games on the road.
Danilo D’Ambrosio is still out of contention with a knee injury, whereas the Brazilian defender Miranda is joining him in the treatment room with a calf problem.
Games like these are very hard to predict, especially with both Fiorentina and Inter Milan lacking consistency over the past couple of weeks. What we know for sure, however, is that each encounter between two of Italy’s biggest clubs is a highly entertaining affair with plenty of goals on both ends. With three or more goals scored in last five matches, they should be a safe betting option.
Top pick: Both teams to score – yes 1.77 (10/13) @10Bet
Alternative pick 1: Fiorentina – Draw no Bet 2.00 (1/1) @StanJames
Alternative pick 2: Over 3.5 goals 3.50 (5/2) @BetVictor