For the second consecutive weekend, AS Roma are involved in a top of the table clash as they head to the San Siro to take on Inter on Saturday evening.
MANCINI’S MEN LOOKING TO RECLAIM TOP SPOT
Having only scored 11 goals so far this season, Inter Milan can hardly be called the country’s entertainers, but the former Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini has returned for a second spell at the helm and has his sights set on winning the Scudetto (the best online sports websites are currently quoting them at *7.50 to achieve this). Last Tuesday’s 1-0 win in Bologna typified the season so far for the nerazzurri – not glamourous but effective. Only once this season have Inter scored more than once in a game and that was away at new boys Carpi in the opening weeks of the campaign, but the facts are there for all to see; if they defeat the current league leaders on Saturday, they will return (temporarily at least)to the summit of the Serie A table.
ROMA BECOME ONE OF EUROPE’S MUST-SEE TEAMS
If Inter have been rather conservative in the opening third of the season, then Saturday’s opponents Roma have produced a swashbuckling brand of football that has made them one of Europe’s most exciting teams to watch. The object of football is naturally to score at least one more than your opponent, Roma coach Rudi Garcia has taken this a step further ensuring that if his team concede two they will go out and score three. If it’s possible to win a championship playing like this only time will tell, but for now it makes compelling viewing for football fans around the world. Last weekend’s 2-1 win at Fiorentina put the giallorossi in first place in the table and they continued their blistering run of form on Wednesday, beating Udinese 3-1 without ever really getting out of second gear to record their fifth consecutive win.
Inter’s Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo lost his head in Bologna on Tuesday and his sending off means he’s unavailable for Saturday’s crunch clash. With Mancini set to tweak his starting formation, Chilean hard man Gary Medel looks set to return to spearhead the midfield at the expense of summer signing Geoffrey Kondogbia. Montenegrin striker StevanJovetic was rested during the week and he should return to the starting XI at the expense of former Roma man AdemLjajic.
Roma are sweating on the fitness of captain Daniele De Rossi who was taken off at half-time in Florence and who missed Wednesday’s game through suspension. The player will take another fitness test on Friday before deciding if he will travel with the team. If he makes it, then Alessandro Florenzi will revert back to defensive duties on Saturday. In-form Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah(*3.50 on the best football betting sites to be an anytime scorer on Saturday) has served his one match ban for his sending off in Tuscany and he will return in a front three alongside EdinDzeko and another player in great form, Gervinho. Both Francesco Totti and Seydou Keita area couple of weeks away from making their respective returns to first-team action.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Inter (4-3-1-2) Handanovic; Juan Jesus, Murillo, Miranda, Santon; Guarin, Medel, Brozovic; Perisic; Jovetic, Icardi
Roma (4-3-3) Szczesny; Digne, Manolas, Rudiger, Florenzi; Nainggolan, De Rossi, Pjanic; Gervinho, Dzeko, Salah
HEAD TO HEAD
In the past ten years this fixture has only ever produced two goalless draws. Inter won the corresponding fixture last season 2-1 with Roma’s last victory at the San Siro coming in Garcia’s first season in charge in October 2013. Inter’s lack of goals against Roma’s attacking power, but lack of defensive responsibility, makes this a fascinating contest for the neutral with top spot in the Serie A table the prize for the winners.
Inter 2.90 Draw 3.30 Roma 2.50
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)