Fiorentina vs Inter Milan: The battle for third spot is on

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Having suffered draws in their last matches, Fiorentina and Inter Milan will be battling to clinch all three points as they clash at the Stadio Artemio Franchi later this Sunday.

With Roma having now inched their way into third place after four straight wins, the pressure is now on the Nerazzurri and the Viola to reclaim that coveted Champions League berth. For today’s visitors in particular, they will be desperate to avenge the heavy 4-1 loss they suffered at the hands of Fiorentina, and more important, to put a halt to a downward trend of form that has seen them win just one out of their past five games.

Inter fans will be quite concerned about their team’s performance, and rightfully so. From August to December 2015, the team, whilst not boasting the most prolific attack, were excellent defensively, with 11 clean sheets, with the same number of goals conceded in 17 league games. Since the start of 2016, the Nerazzurri have kept just two clean sheets, whilst conceding nine goals in just seven league matches. Once mentioned as a potential Scudetto contender, their bad form has seen them fall well off the pace and now look in danger of missing out on even a top three finish.

A 3-0 loss in the Derby della Madonnina followed up by an insipid performance against Chievo did not do any favors for restoring their supporters’ confidence. And a 3-3 draw against Hellas Verona – this season’s worst side – in which they had to come from behind whilst conceding three goals will have fans up in arms.For a team that once boasted the best defense in the league to be the first and only side to ship three against the Gialloblu is something that is simply unacceptable, and Inter followers will be demanding a better showing from their team against Fiorentina today.

Fortunately for Mancini, he will have a full-strength squad to choose from, with only Felipe Melo serving yet another suspension. Meanwhile, Fiorentina, who have won their past three matches against Inter in all competitions, will be coming into this game having had to settle for a draw against Bologna. Paulo Sousa’s men, although they have had their ups and downs, have been solid at home, with five wins in their past seven matches. In addition, they have scored at least two goals in six out of their last seven home matches. Still, all in all, will obviously want to complete a “double” over the side they humiliated at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza earlier this season in order to re-claim third place at the expense of Roma.

With just two wins in their past five matches, this will be a game in which Viola fans will hope to see their team rebound, especially after the frustrating stalemate with Bologna that would have felt more like two points dropped than one won. Nonetheless, they will be welcoming a side desperate to make amends after conceding three from set pieces against Hellas Verona and an added incentive of, as noted before, revenge. Will either of these teams come out on top to knock the Giallorossi back down the table and out of a Champions League spot?

Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.