Although the Nerazzurri, who are in fifth place, are certainly in contention for Europa League football, the Milan giants want something even better – a spot in the Champions League. With five points between them and Roma ahead of both sides’ matches, it certainly is not an unrealistic ambition. However, with the form the Giallorossi have been in since the return of Luciano Spalletti, Inter will be in for a tough battle for that coveted third place spot between now and May.
Obviously, the only way Inter can force their way into Champions League contention will be to win. And to win as many games as possible. Fortunately, there are two things going in Inter’s favor for their upcoming match. First, Roberto Mancini will have a full strength squad available. Players like Mauro Icardi, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Stevan Jovetic have all returned to the fold after recovering from injuries, and Rodrigo Palacio is now eligible to feature after serving a ban.
Second, Torino, for a lack of a better word, have been simply awful. The Granata have picked two wins out of their past 13 matches and have not won a match since February 14th, when they defeated an equally floundering Palermo 3-1. Furthermore, to add more headaches for an already embattled Giampiero Ventura, the visitors will be without the leadership of skipper Kamil Glik due to suspension, whilst Ciro Immobile is reportedly set to be away from the pitch for at least a month.
Torino, who will be coming into this game having suffered a demoralizing 4-1 defeat to Juventus in the Derby della Mole last month, currently are in 13th place. Most of the time, this provides enough of a buffer for a side and the relegation zone. However, by the end of matchday 31, they could actually find themselves becoming uncomfortably close to the sides propping up the table. This is because of the closeness in the bottom half, with Palermo, who are in 18th, just five points away from both the Granata and Atalanta (another floundering side who will take on Inter’s rival AC Milan before this match).
Still, football is well known for its unpredictable nature, and it is important to note that Torino, despite their woes, have been a tough nut to crack for Inter in the past. Earlier this season, the Nerazzurri really had to work to grind out a win, with a goal from Kondogbia being enough to earn a 1-0 result. And in this same fixture last term, it was the Granata who left the Giuseppe Meazza the happier side, so the onus will be on Inter to be totally focused as they seek their fifth consecutive home win for the first time since May 2011.
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