Inter Milan will host Empoli in Serie A on Monday, hoping to continue their impressive run of form with a victory at home.
Inter Milan are currently fourth in the league table and could climb to second with a win over Empoli. The Nerazzurri come into this game on the back of a comprehensive 3-0 win over crosstown rivals AC Milan, and they will be full of confidence and momentum here.
Meanwhile, Empoli are unbeaten in their last three outings as well, and they managed to pick up a narrow win over Sampdoria in their last league game. The visitors have lost just once in their last six league matches and will look to pull off an upset here.
Empoli will target a top-half finish this season, and a win here would give them a major lift. The corresponding fixture last term saw Inter Milan come from two goals down to beat Empoli 4-2. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
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Simone Inzaghi will be without two key players for this contest. Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic and veteran goalkeeper Samir Handanovic are both ruled out with injuries. Inter Milan are likely to continue with their 3-5-2 formation against Empoli, with Andre Onana in goal.
Milan Skriniar will partner Francesco Acerbi and Alessandro Bastoni in a back three. The likes of Skriniar and Bastoni will help Inter Milan build from the back and provide ample defensive cover as well.
Matteo Darmian and Federico Dimarco are expected to be deployed as the wing-backs here. Both players will be expected to create goalscoring opportunities for the side and cover the centre-backs as well.
In the middle of the park, Hakan Calhanoglu will look to dictate the tempo of the game and create chances for his teammates. Henrikh Mkhitaryan will add flair and vision alongside the Turkish midfielder. Kristjan Asllani is also expected to start in a midfield three. Finally, Lautaro Martinez is expected to lead the line alongside the experienced Edin Dzeko.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Onana; Skriniar, Acerbi, Bastoni; Darmian, Asllani, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Dzeko, Martinez
The visitors have a number of injury problems heading into this game, and it remains to be seen whether they can put on a fighting display here. They will be without the services of Lorenzo Tonelli, Mattia Destro, Alberto Grassi, and Ardian Ismajli because of injury problems. Razvan Marin is set to miss out through suspension.
The away side are expected to line up in a 4-3-1-2 formation, with Guglielmo Vicario in goal. Tyronne Ebuehi and Fabiano Parisi are expected to be deployed as full-backs. Koni De Winter will partner with Sebastiano Luperto at the heart of the defense. Ebuehi and Parisi will look to provide an outlet during counter-attacks and protect the center-backs.
In the midfield three, Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro will partner alongside Liam Henderson and Filippo Bandinelli. The three players will be expected to drop deep and protect the defenders as well as create counter-attacking opportunities for their teammates.
Tommaso Baldanzi will be deployed as the number ten here and he will look to link the midfield with the attack. Meanwhile, Francesco Caputo will partner with Martin Satriano in the front two.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Vicario; Ebuehi, De Winter, Luperto, Parisi; Akpro, Henderson, Bandinelli; Baldanzi; Caputo, Satriano
- Inter have won nine of their last ten matches against Empoli in all competitions.
- Inter have won eight of their last ten matches in the Serie A.
- Inter have scored at least two goals in their last six home matches against Empoli in all competitions.
- Empoli have picked up just one win away from home in Serie A this season.
- Inter Milan have won eight of their last nine home matches in Serie A this season.
Player to Watch
The Argentine striker managed to score against AC Milan in the last game, and he will be our player to watch on Monday night. Martinez is in impressive form having scored nine goals in Serie A this season, and he has three assists to his name as well. And his recent displays have captured the attention of Manchester United and Tottenham.
The 25-year-old will look to influence the game with his creativity, link-up play, and his goalscoring ability. Empoli have conceded 22 goals in 18 league matches this season, and Martinez could cause all sorts of problems for the fragile away defense here.
Inter Milan 2-0 Empoli
The home side have the form and momentum with them right now and they have a better set of players as well. Inter Milan are undoubtedly the favourites heading into this game, and they will look to climb up the table with all three points here.
Empoli have been difficult to beat in recent outings, but they have a poor away record and they have struggled against Inter Milan in recent years. The away side are likely to put up a fight but the hosts have enough quality to grind out a win here. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 win for Inter Milan on Monday.