After a six-goal success pulled them clear of top-four rivals Roma in midweek, Saturday’s clash in the capital sees Inter Milan aiming to maintain their form at the Giallorossi’s expense.
Inter have won each of their last four games to recover from a dire run in Serie A and secure a spot in the Champions League semi-finals; meanwhile, their hosts have taken one point from the last nine available to slip behind in pursuit of a place inside Italy’s top four.
For the first time in 2023, Roma have failed to win for three straight league games, and following Wednesday’s draw at mid-table Monza they are in serious danger of missing out on a long-awaited Champions League return.
Jose Mourinho’s men had already dropped points in their previous two matches – a 3-1 loss to Atalanta followed by a 1-1 home draw with AC Milan last weekend – but when they failed to protect a lead earned by Stephan El Shaarawy’s opening goal, several sides around them in the standings duly capitalised.
The Lombardy trio of Milan, Atalanta and Inter all sit above or alongside Roma with five games to play, so they will be doubly keen to conquer the latter at Stadio Olimpico this weekend.
Mourinho tackles his former club with half an eye on his current team’s Europa League semi-final tie against Bayer Leverkusen – with the first leg to be played at the Olimpico next Thursday – but will be acutely aware that the situation in Serie A is fast becoming make or break.
Since Inter won 3-0 when the teams last met in Rome, a win apiece has been traded between the two Calcio giants, with Roma coming out on top in October’s reverse fixture at San Siro.
While they have lost six of their last 10 away games in all competitions, the capital club pose a far more formidable prospect in the Eternal City, so will now aim to complete the double over their Milanese visitors and leapfrog them in the table.
After a late comeback secured their third straight victory last weekend, Inter gave their top-four hopes another shot in the arm on Wednesday evening, when they visited relegation-threatened Hellas Verona.
Having beaten old foes Juventus to reach the Coppa Italia final and then staged a spirited second-half revival against Lazio, the Nerazzurri capped off a superb seven days by thumping their hosts 6-0 at Stadio Bentegodi, with all six goals coming during the game’s final hour.
Forward pair Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez both bagged a brace as the pressure was further eased on Simone Inzaghi, who has seen his side suffer 11 league defeats already this term – in contrast to their mastery of the cups.
Back inside Serie A’s top four with five games remaining, Inter cannot afford to slip up on Saturday, though, thereby opening the door to one of their rivals for a place in next season’s Champions League.
As the first leg of their clash with Milan in the semis of this year’s edition awaits next week, like Mourinho, Inzaghi may also be forgiven for being distracted by the glint of more silverware – but with his team getting back in the groove, he may sense it is now their time to strike.
Roma Serie A form:
Roma form (all competitions):
Inter Milan Serie A form:
Inter Milan form (all competitions):
We say: Roma 0-1 Inter Milan
With seven wins and six losses to their name on the road this season – while conceding plenty of goals in the process – Inter have not travelled well throughout this Serie A season.
However, they are apparently running into form at just the right moment. As Roma rarely concede much at the Olimpico, a single goal could therefore separate the sides on Saturday.