While defeat in the Milan Derby has triggered a downturn in fortunes for the Scudetto holders, their 19th-placed hosts have drawn each of their last four matches and retain hope of pulling off a great escape.
In a weekend when five of the top six failed to win, perhaps the most surprising setback suffered by one of Calcio’s big guns came at San Siro on Sunday, as Inter were beaten 2-0 on home soil by Sassuolo.
Spurning the opportunity to reclaim the Serie A summit, following Milan’s draw with rock-bottom Salernitana, the Nerazzurri instead went two goals behind before the half-hour mark – almost going in 3-0 down at the interval when Domenico Berardi then struck the woodwork.
Defeat to one of their traditional bogey teams therefore helped Milan to widen their lead at the top – and the Rossoneri could actually increase that advantage to five points with a win in Friday’s early kickoff – but as third-placed Napoli drew away to Cagliari on Monday, Inter still hold second place.
Simone Inzaghi’s side also still have a game in hand, but having lost three of their past five across all competitions – including defeats in the Derby and their Champions League tie with Liverpool – three points from that catch-up fixture can no longer be taken for granted.
Nonetheless, they begin as strong favourites to prevail at Marassi, where they have beaten Genoa on each of their last three visits. Indeed, Inter have won each of their last seven Serie A encounters with the Grifone by a stunning aggregate score of 25-0, so will expect to extend such supremacy against a struggling side.
Crushed 4-0 at San Siro in the reverse fixture, events on Serie A’s opening day set the tone for a miserable campaign, and Genoa have won just once in the league since – and are still yet to do so at home.
Arriving in Venice for a crucial basement clash with hosts Venezia last weekend, the 19th-placed side were desperate to return to Liguria with maximum points, but ultimately had to settle for a 1-1 draw secured by Caleb Ekuban’s first league goal of the season.
As a result, Alexander Blessin became only the second manager in Serie A history to draw each of his first four matches – indeed the German coach’s new club had not posted a quartet of successive stalemates since the turn of the century.
In all, the Grifone have now taken a single point from half of their league fixtures this season – ending level on 13 separate occasions – which has certainly done their position in the standings no favours.
Currently six points adrift of safety, having played at least a game more than several sides around them, Genoa are hoping that their third ‘permanent’ manager of the season can help extricate them from such dire trouble.
The former RB Leipzig development coach has tinkered with various formations since his arrival, but may also have to rely upon a fair share of luck if his side are to extend their unbeaten run when the champions roll into town.
We say: Genoa 1-3 Inter Milan
Genoa have certainly tightened up at the back since their latest switch of management, but have yet to be faced with the sort of firepower even an off-form Inter will bring to Marassi.
With key men back from suspension and a midweek clear of European commitments, the champions are poised to wreak revenge for their loss last time out and put an end to the hosts’ brief unbeaten streak.