Match Preview: Inter Milan vs Real Madrid – 2021/22
Champions League football is back at Real Madrid’s doorstep. Last season’s semi-final elimination was disheartening given how far the team had gone and against all odds. The team returns this year with renewed momentum and a sense of anticipation for those involved.
Milan is the city, Inter is the club. The San Siro is set to host yet another Champions League classic. With both teams having lost significant commandment and a few other star players along the way this summer, this clash is one that’s surely weighed down from last season’s extravaganza.
What to Expect:
Simone Inzaghi was Antonio Conte’s replacement in the dugout at San Siro. Upon losing some major influence in the form of Romelu Lukaku, Achraf Hakimi and veteran central defender Diego Godín, Inter have few shoulders to heavily rely on. If anything, the likes of Nicolò Barella, Lautaro and cross city signing Hakan Çalhanoğlu carry majority of the weight.
Inzaghi hasn’t changed an awful lot in terms of the initial system that Conte had put into place. He understands that the team has essentially adapted to playing that way. Although the intensity has clearly dropped.
The Nerazzurri still remain a threat on the break and their rapid transitions are still very dangerous but with the likes of Lukaku and Hakimi gone, they lack both a ball carrier and a centre forward (although Edin Dzeko has been slowly fitting into a hybrid 9 position as of late).
Real Madrid on the other hand look like a completely new team. Recent LaLiga fixtures suggest that it’s less about the routine for Carlo Ancelotti’s players and more about going out there and putting on a show, whilst of course still remaining competent. Madrid can boast the exceptional early season form that Vinícius Júnior, Karim Benzema and Luka Modrić have displayed.
Look forward to a fixating encounter, goals aplenty. Inter’s resurgence against Real Madrid’s dynamism. Both teams are flawed in certain aspects but with huge room for exploiting each others weaknesses.
David Alaba has returned and has travelled to Italy. It remains unclear whether or not his participation is guaranteed, but one would expect him to take Miguel Gutiérrez’s spot in the team. Luka Jovic is also back in the squad. Toni Kroos’ recovery from Pubalgia will keep him out for longer than expected.
Gareth Bale’s hamstring injury was also confirmed right after the victory over Celta, but it doesn’t leave Ancelotti without options. He’s got Rodrygo and Vini, both of who performed excellently against Inter last year and the latter being in the form that he’s in, is difficult to ignore anyway. Ferland Mendy isn’t fit just yet.
Carvajal — Militão — Nacho — Alaba
Valverde — Casemiro — Modrić
Vinícius — Benzema — Hazard
Škriniar — De Vrij — Bastoni
Darmian — Barella — Brozović — Çalhanoğlu— Perišić
Džeko — Martínez
Player to Watch:
Real Madrid: Karim Benzema. There’s only one place to start when it comes to Real Madrid in the Champions League in recent seasons. Benzema isn’t just Madrid’s best goalscorer, he also remains their sole creative influence in the final third on most occasions. With his hat trick the other day, he displayed another fine example of how good of a goalscorer he really is. Other minute details in mind, he can only be described as the complete package.
Inter: Nicolò Barella. Quick, enterprising product of Italian football’s demanding structural intelligence. Barella is technically able, can run with the ball whilst maintaining pace and is Inter’s most dynamic player to say the least. More like Federico Valverde in simpler terms. The Italian is gifted and can spearhead counter attacks, set up creative outplays and never hesitates to lend a hand in defence.
Inter 2-4 Real Madrid.
Inter have scored first in five of their last six games but as they did on Sunday, you wouldn’t put it past Madrid to put on a late second half show. It’s going to be a goal fest.