High-flying Serie A leaders Inter head to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris to encounter newly-promoted Genoa in their last competitive outing of 2023. Friday’s showdown in Liguria is a seemingly presentable opportunity for Nerazzurri to sign off in style.
Genoa won’t go down without a fight, especially after performing an incredible second-half comeback to beat Sassuolo 2-1 on the road last time out. Buoyed by arresting an underwhelming four-game winless league run (D2, L2), Alberto Gilardino’s men head into proceedings keen to expand the gap on the drop zone.
Despite a dismal win ratio of only 29% after the opening 17 Serie A rounds (W5, D4, L8), Genoa commence this matchday in relative comforts, boasting a six-point lead on 18th-placed Cagliari. But having just returned to the top flight, the Griffins must have learned their lesson by now and should know better than to take anything for granted.
While Genoa’s seasonal goal is to secure Serie A survival, the visitors have much loftier ambitions. Goals on either side of halftime inspired Inter to a routine 2-0 home victory against Lecce last weekend, consolidating their tag as leading candidates to dethrone Napoli as Serie A champions this season.
Simone Inzaghi’s men have gone into overdrive since a 1-1 Derby d’Italia draw at Juventus in late January, winning four league matches on the trot to go four points clear at the summit. After spending Christmas at the top of the pile, Inter will be out to give their fans more reason to celebrate during the festive period.
Luigi Ferraris has recently been a safe haven for Genoa. Unbeaten in their last five home outings across all competitions (W3, D2), Gilardino’s side will fancy their chances against a more heavily fancied Inter. However, a quick peek into the history books dampens the hosts’ optimism, considering their last top-flight win against Nerazzurri dates back to February 2018.
Everything since has been doom and gloom, as evidenced by Genoa’s dreadful run of one draw and seven defeats from their last eight Serie A clashes against Inter. Another ominous sign for the Ligurian outfit is that their most recent league loss on home turf arrived at the hands of another San Siro tenant, Milan, in early October.
Inter have reigned supreme in Serie A in recent months. Except for the abovementioned stalemate in Turin, they’ve racked up an eye-catching eight wins across their last nine league matches. That result at the Allianz Stadium remains the only blemish on a near-perfect away record in Italy’s top-tier competition this season (W7, D1).
Not only are Inter the best traveling side in Serie A, but they’ve fended off Genoa in their last four meetings at Luigi Ferraris (W3, D1). Another clean sheet is well on the cards, given Inzaghi’s lads boast the most shutouts across Europe’s top-five divisions (12). On that basis, it’s hardly a surprise they’ve conceded a league-low seven goals this term.
An almost-impregnable backline and a virtually unplayable frontline put Inter in a commanding position ahead of this trip. Indeed, they’ve found the net in a club-record 25 successive Serie A games under the same manager.
Genoa will need all hands on deck to deal with the best-performing team in the league. Luckily for Gilardino, he’ll have his entire squad fit and ready for this fixture, with Milan loanee Junior Messias remaining the only doubt ahead of the kick-off.
As for Inter, Juan Cuadrado, Denzel Dumfries, and Federico Dimarco are on the sidelines injured, but Inzaghi’s principal concern relates to Latuaro Martinez’s questionable match fitness. The Nerazzurri captain will stay home in all likelihood after picking up a muscle problem in the Coppa Italia triumph against Bologna last week.
Genoa vs Inter Potential Lineups
Genoa (3-4-1-1): Josep Martinez; Koni De Winter, Mattia Bani, Radu Dragusin; Stefano Sabelli, Morten Frendrup, Milan Badelj, Ruslan Malinovskyi, Johan Vasquez; Albert Gudmundsson; Caleb Ekuban.
Inter (3-5-2): Yann Sommer; Yann Bisseck, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni; Matteo Darmian, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Carlos Augusto; Marcus Thuram, Marko Arnautovic.
Genoa vs Inter Prediction
With all due respect to Genoa’s recent form resurgence featuring a spirited 1-1 draw against Juventus at this stadium, we back Inter to take home three points. The visitors are not in a forgiving mood these days, and even without Martinez, they should have enough quality to conquer Luigi Ferraris.
Prediction: Inter Win
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