Inter Milan will be eager to bounce back to winning ways when they face Cremonese at the Giovanni Zini Stadium on Saturday.

The second half of the 2022/23 Serie A season begins this week with the game between Bologna and Spezia on Friday. Inter Milan will be in action on Saturday, with the Nerazzurri locking horns with Cremonese at the Giovanni Zini Stadium.

Cremonese might have anticipated an uphill task to remain in Serie A upon securing promotion to the top flight last season. But they will likely be surprised by sitting rock bottom in the standings after the first 19 games. The Grey and Reds are yet to win a game in Serie A this term, managing only eight points while having the second-worst defence. But Cremonese recently sprang a surprise by beating Napoli in Coppa Italia.

On the other hand, inconsistency has been the name of the game for Inter Milan thus far this term. Simone Inzaghi’s men are a part of the chasing pack that has blown hot and cold this season and failed to compete with Napoli for the Scudetto. And the latest setback came a few days ago when Empoli beat Inter 1-0 at San Siro.

The reverse fixture this season saw Inter Milan cruise to a 3-1 win, with David Okereke scoring the consolation goal for Cremonese. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics


Davide Ballardini, who took over at the helm at the Giovanni Zini Stadium less than a fortnight ago, has one new roster issue hampering his preparations this weekend. Against Inter Milan on Saturday, the Cremonese manager will be bereft of the services of three first-team players.

Charles Pickel will miss the game through suspension after accumulating too many yellow cards. The 25-year-old has joined Ionut Radu on the sidelines, with the goalkeeper struggling to overcome knocks. Otherwise, Ballardini has a full-strength squad at his disposal.

Marco Carnesecchi picks himself between the sticks, with Cremonese set to line up in a 3-5-2 formation in front of him. Captain Matteo Bianchetti will shore up the defensive unit, with Vlad Chiriches and Alex Ferrari joining him in the back three.

Leonardo Sernicola and Emanuele Valeri will be the two wing-backs. The duo will fall back to form a back five in the defensive phases while providing width in the final third. Pickel will leave a gaping hole in the Cremonese midfield during his ban.

Marco Benassi should take Pickel’s spot in the middle of the park, with Michele Castagnetti and Soualiho Meite joining him in the midfield unit. Castagnetti will aim to keep things tight in the centre of the pitch, with Benassi and Meite being the midfield workhorses.

Cyriel Dessers is available but will unlikely be fit enough to start. So Ballardini and Cremonese will sorely miss 28-year-old in the final third, considering he has had a hand in 75 per cent of the Grey and Reds’ home league goals this season. And Daniel Ciofani will take Dessers’s spot in the strike partnership alongside David Okereke.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Carnesecchi; Bianchetti, Chiriches, Ferrari; Sernicola, Benassi, Castagnetti, Meite, Valeri; Okereke, Ciofani

Inter Milan

Like his counterpart in the Cremonese dugout, Simone Inzaghi has new roster issues to deal with ahead of the trip to the Giovanni Zini Stadium. The Inter Milan manager will be without four first-team players on Saturday.

Milan Skriniar is the most notable absentee for Inter Milan following his dismissal against Empoli. And with his days with the Nerazzurri seemingly numbered, he will miss one of his last few games with the Italian giants. Like Skriniar, Nicolo Barella is also suspended, while Samir Handanovic (muscle injury) and Marcelo Brozovic (calf) are out injured.

Andre Onana is an automatic pick between the sticks, with Inter Milan lining up in a 3-5-2 formation in front of him. Danilo D’Ambrosio should replace Skriniar, joining Francesco Acerbi and Alessandro Bastoni in the back three.

Denzel Dumfries and Federico Dimarco should be the two wing-backs. And the duo’s offensive output will be crucial for Inter Milan in the final third against Cremonese. At the same time, they will need to press high up the pitch.

A second-string midfield unit should have Roberto Gagliardini, Hakan Calhanoglu, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan taking their places in the middle of the park. Calhanoglu will look to pull the strings from a deep-lying position in the centre of the pitch. Meanwhile, Mkhitaryan will provide more progression from the midfield.

Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko should form the strike partnership for Inter Milan against Cremonese. Martinez has been in fine form since returning from Argentina’s triumphant World Cup campaign. And Romelu Lukaku will be an impact substitute on the bench as he scrambles to rediscover his form.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Onana; D’Ambrosio, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Gagliardini, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Martinez, Dzeko

Key Stats

  • Inter Milan are the club to have won the most Serie A games against Cremonese: 12 victories in 15 meetings, two draws and a defeat (dating back to May 10, 1992).
  • Cremonese became only the second side since Serie A returned to a 20-team league (2004/05) to have failed to win a match in the first half of the season (after Verona in 2015/16). Only one newly-promoted team in the competition’s history has not found success in the first 20 matches of the season, Ancona, in 2003/04.
  • Inter Milan have conceded goals in their last 13 consecutive Serie A away games. For the Nerazzurri, it is the longest run without a clean sheet away from home in the competition since 1988 (18 under Giovanni Trapattoni).
  • Inter Milan have scored the most goals in the first 30 minutes in Serie A this season (13), while Cremonese have conceded the most in the same period (13).
  • For the first time in his career, Romelu Lukaku has scored just one goal heading into January. The Belgian has not netted in six Serie A appearances, his worst streak in Italy’s top flight.

Player to Watch

Lautaro Martinez

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Amid Romelu Lukaku’s long-running poor form, Lautaro Martinez has had to shoulder much of the scoring responsibility. And the Argentine international will again be the go-to player for Simone Inzaghi against Cremonese. The 25-year-old striker’s recent record against newly-promoted clubs is also promising.

Martinez has either scored or assisted 11 goals in his last nine Serie A appearances against newly-promoted opponents, including one against Cremonese in the reverse meeting this season. And the World Cup winner will be in the equation to make the difference for Inter on Saturday. Another top-notch outing might alert suitors like Manchester United and Tottenham ahead of a summer move.


Cremonese 1-2 Inter Milan

Cremonese might have the second-worth defensive record in Serie A this season. But Simone Inzaghi will be without a few pivotal figures this weekend. So Inter Milan might have to work hard to eke out a win over the Grey and Reds on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Milan Skriniar’s absence significantly weakens the Inter Milan defence. And Cremonese might be in business to score a rare goal to leave the visitors nervy. But the Nerazzurri will have more than enough quality to clinch three points. The Hard Tackle thus predicts a 2-1 win for Inzaghi and his charges.

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