At one point this season, Nerazzurri fans were dreaming of their team completing a domestic double of the Scudetto and the Coppa Italia. However, a mid-season stumble – which they are still struggling to recover from – saw them tumbling down the table and out contention for their first league title since 2010. And recently, despite an impressive comeback to push their Derby d’Italia meeting with Juventus to penalties, Inter found themselves in the unfortunate position of “winning the battle but losing the war” as they bowed out of the Coppa Italia.
As such, barring a shocking collapse from Juventus – who presently sit six points clear of Napoli, but with a game in hand – Inter look set to end this campaign sans silverware. It is indeed a disappointing return for a club who were once on top of the table, but Roberto Mancini’s side do still have something to play for – a coveted Champions League berth.
Currently five points away from the Giallorossi, third place is not out of reach for Inter. However, they will have not only to string together a series of positive results but also will have to hope that Roma, who have been on an excellent run lately, start dropping points. Still, they will be coming into this game having recorded a confidence-boosting 3-1 win over Palermo, which was a much-needed victory following their Coppa Italia heartbreak. And fortunately for Mancini, only Stevan Jovetic will miss this match, meaning that he will have a strong line-up to choose from.
Well, Bologna will look to spoil the party for Inter, and under the tutelage of Roberto Donadoni, the Rossoblu have clawed their way up the table into a solid ninth place. Save for a shock defeat to Serie A debutants Frosinone, the visiting side have picked up one win and four draws from their last five matches, including one against Juventus.
However, they will be coming into this game having failed to score in their past three games; whilst holding the Bianconeri to a scoreless stalemate will have encouraged the squad, dropping vital points against a floundering Palermo and lowly Carpi will not have impressed fans. As such, Donadoni will be expecting a better showing from his team, and with the exception of Luca Rizzo and Anthony Mounier, who are in doubt for this match, he will have all his key players available.
The reverse fixture ended as a 1-0 win in favor of Inter, with Mauro Icardi being the match-decider, and Inter are undefeated in 20 out of their past 22 meetings against Bologna. Still, the visitors will be fancying their chances. Since the start of 2016, they have won or drawn all but one of their away matches, whilst conceding just one goal (in the 1-0 reversal to the Canarini). Additionally, the Rossoblu also have a knack of scoring at the Giuseppe Meazza: they have found the back of the net in seven out of their last eight trips to Milan.
And Inter’s form as of late against their visitors will be of concern to supporters: the hosts have taken only one point from their last three games against Bologna when playing at home. This pales in comparison to their previous record, which saw them pick up eight wins and two draws on their home turf.
Will Bologna manage to frustrate them yet again? A draw would certainly help the visitors, but for the hosts, nothing short of a win will suffice as they hope to make their return to European football’s most elite continental competition next season.
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