Sassuolo v Inter – Preview: Injury-stricken sides aim to end season on a high
While the Neroverdi can draw level with Fiorentina with a win, their record against the Viola means that their highest possible position is the current sixth, which would be their best ever finish in Serie A, and could be good enough for a first-ever birth into the Europa League qualifying phase.
Eusebio di Francesco’s side enter the game in impressive form, having won on each of their last three outings, and have lost just three games at the Mapei Stadium all season. Meanwhile their visitors are on something of a torrid run away from Milan and having been victorious just once in their last nine matches on the road.
Recent meetings between the two have favoured Sassuolo, too. Although Inter’s first few games against the Serie A newcomers were spectacular, with two 7-0 victories in the first three clashes, the last two encounters have finished with the Modena side on top.
This season’s earlier meeting saw a smash and grab raid, as Domenico Berardi’s 95th minute penalty was the only goal of the game ensuring a 1-0 win. That result is typical for both sides, whose games are the 22nd and 23rd lowest scoring in Serie A over the course of this season.
Berardi is just one of the many players who is set to miss out on Saturday evening, with the Neroverdi talisman suspended for what might be the last match played while he is at the club. Inter’s creator-in-chief Ivan Perisic is also banned, along with goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, which will allow a rare start for Juan Pablo Carrizo between the posts.
Mancini will also be unable to call upon injured forward Mauro Icardi, which might well mean Rey Manaj is brought into the the starting line-up. With Albania set to take part in their first ever major tournament in the summer, this would represent a rare opportunity for the 19-year-old to impress.
Di Francesco is not without troubles of his own, with both Karim Laribi and Emanuele Terranova both set to finish the season on the treatment table.
Eder is currently on 49 Serie A goals, so will be looking to reach a milestone 50 before the summer, and will likely be given the opportunity to do so by Roberto Mancini.
Sassuolo (L-D-W-W-W) Inter (W-L-W-L-W)
Expected Starting XIs
Sassuolo; Consigli; Vrsaljko, Cannavaro, Acerbi, Peluso; Pellegrini, Magnanelli, Duncan; Politano, Defrel, Sansone.
Inter: Carrizo; D’Ambrosio, Murillo, Juan Jesus, Telles; Gnoukouri, Kondogbia; Brozovic, Jovetic, Eder; Manaj.
Infographic source: www.sporticos.com