Inter vs Barcelona Preview
Inter Milan welcomes Barcelona at San Siro for their return match in group stage of Champions League. The two sides met in Barcelona two weeks ago where the Catalans took the three points without star Lionel Messi. The Argentinian has been out of action since fracturing his elbow against Sevilla in La Liga action. Nonetheless, the club has been rather successful in his absence.
Both sides sit first and second in the Group B. Domestically, Barcelona are coming off 2-3 win over Rayo Vallecano, 0-1 win against Cultural Leonesa and a 5-1 thrashing of bitter rivals Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Inter are coming off a huge 5-0 win over Genoa and a great 0-3 win against Lazio in Serie A.
Fortunately for both, Tottenham and PSV Eindhoven have slim chances at catching up to both sides.
Luciano Spalletti men are in fine form, having won all but one of their last 10 matches. Their sole loss came at the hands of La Liga champions in their first matchup in this Champions edition. Nonetheless, the Nerazzurri are looking sharp on the defensive side and is coming with tons of confidence with Mauro Icardi on fire.
However, the Italian side will be without Dalbert and Roberto Gagliardini. Radja Nainggolan, who missed the match at Camp Nou, will be back with the team.
Messi is back training with the rest of the team after fracturing his arm. However, he will be a last-minute call for Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde.
“Leo is at the point where he might be available, but we have to wait for the training session. We have to see if he’s safe to play, said Ernesto Valverde.”
“In terms of his play and his movements, he’s fine. We have to wait. … It’s always better if he’s there. Of course it’s necessary to get Messi back as soon as possible.
“There are three or four possibilities. One is that he plays from the start, or he comes on, or he goes off. What we won’t do is take any risks.”
Inter Milan XI: Handanovic; Vrsaljko, Skriniar, De Vrij, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic, Nainggolan; Politano, Icardi, Perisic.
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Rafinha, Suarez, Coutinho.
Spalletti rested a lot of his players against Genoa this past week and may have an advantage with well-rested players. Additionally, the Italians have been fortified at San Siro this season and may be difficult for Barcelona to enter and exhibit any of their ball controlling skills.
Nonetheless, the Catalan side should be able to do damage with a better fitted Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho. Additionally, the resurgence of Arthur into the starting lineup has giving the Blaugranas some hope. However, Inter’s fine form may give them the edge for capturing a positive result against Barcelona.
Inter Milan 2 – 2 Barcelona
Photo credit to Noelia Déniz via Flickr