Serie A Round 14: Verona – Inter Preview and Expected Lineups

It has been a joyful first part of the 2020-21 Serie A season, with three serious title contenders going neck and neck until the final match-day of 2020. In Round 14, Inter travel to Verona in pursuit of another three points that could potentially take them to the top the Serie A standings going into the new year.

Both teams had to fight hard to collect precious points in their most recent match of Round 13. Inter came away 2-1 winners in a tough game against Spezia, while Hellas Verona played out a 1-1 away draw with Fiorentina.

The Cult of Calcio is here to preview Inter’s final game of 2020, with an eye on the probable lineups of both sides.

Hellas Verona – Inter

Serie A Round 14
Wednesday, 23 December 2020
Kick-off at 18:30 (CET)
Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi (Verona)

Recent Form – Hellas Verona

Verona have been one of the surprising teams so far this Serie A season, currently sitting 9th in the league standings with 20 points, only four behind the fourth-placed Roma. A point earned in a game against Fiorentina can now be taken with a pinch of salt, as Hellas Verona missed out on the chance to climb into 7th place and be only 2 points behind Roma. The Gialloblu have collected 8 points out of the last 15 possible, having won two, drawn two and lost once.

At first glance, Verona’s 1-1 draw with Fiorentina looked like two points dropped rather than one gained. Prior to that game, Fiorentina were placed 17th in the league standings, nine places below Verona, which made a good indication of the possible match outcome. However, the game did not pan out as expected, with Verona struggling to impose themselves on the opponent. The Gialloblu had 41% ball possession and attempted only 6 shots, 3 of which were on target (50% accuracy). Apart from the penalty, Verona created only one big goal-scoring chance, valued at 0.24 xG (expected goals). They finished the game with an xG of 1.19 that was lower compared to Fiorentina’s 1.59.

Verona’s relatively high league position is the result of their, at first glance, impressive defensive record. So far, Ivan Juric’s men have conceded only 12 goals this season, which is the 2nd best result in the league, only behind the first-placed Juventus. More impressively, they have not conceded more than twice in any league game this season, on average conceding less than a goal per game (0.92). One of the reasons for such a solid defensive record is Verona’s high-pressing tactics. The Gialloblu are the 3rdbest team in the Serie A for PPDA (passes allowed per defensive action in the opposition half), allowing only 8.84 opposition passes when they are playing the ball out from the back. Besides, on average Verona block the highest number of shots among all 20 Serie A teams (5.31 shots blocked per game).

Team News and Predicted Lineups – Hellas Verona

Despite a few injury concerns, none of them seem to enforce any changes in Verona’s starting lineup. Juric is expected to field the same starting eleven as he did in the game against Fiorentina.

Expected Starting XI (3-4-2-1): Silvestri; Faraoni, Dawidowicz, Gunter; Ceccherini, Dimarco, Tameze, Veloso; Lazovic, Zaccagni; Salcedo

Unavailable: Favilli (hamstring), Kalinic (muscle injury), Vieira (muscle injury), Benassi (calf injury), Di Carmine (to be assessed)

Recent Form – Inter

On Sunday, Inter have claimed their 6th consecutive Serie A win after narrowly beating Spezia 2-1 at the Stadio San Siro. The Nerazzurri have not lost in the last 9 Serie A matches, with the last defeat coming in the Derby della Madonnina back in mid-October. Antonio Conte’s men are currently sitting 2nd in the league standings with 30 points, only one behind their fiercest cross-city rivals Milan.

Despite running away with all three points against Spezia, Inter were far from convincing, as indicated by the key performance metrics. The Nerazzurri had only 41% possession against the 17th team in the league, attempted 9 shots at goal (4 on target) and created only one big goal-scoring chance, valued at 0.20 xG (expected goals). Nevertheless, Inter restricted their opponents to only 7 shots (only 1 on target) despite Spezia enjoying 59% ball possession. The Nerazzurri finished the game with an unimpressive xG of 1.29.

Inter’s poor offensive display against Spezia should not be considered as a trend but rather a one-off game. Conte’s men are the highest-scoring team in the Serie A with 32 goals, averaging 2.46 per game. Like most top teams in the league, the Nerazzurri have been slightly overperforming this season, as shown by their npxG (non-penalty expected goals). Inter’s npxG is still the highest in the league (25.3); however, it shows that Inter have scored 7 goals more than expected, suggesting an overperformance from their side.

Team News and Predicted Lineups – Inter

Considering it to be the final game before a short 10-day break, Conte is not expected to rotate heavily. In fact, the Italian manager is likely to stick to his winning team against Spezia, meaning we will not see any new faces in Inter’s starting lineup.

Expected Starting XI (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi; Brozovic, Gagliardini, Barella, Young; Lautaro Martinez, Lukaku

Unavailable: Sanchez (muscle injury), Pinamonti (muscle injury), Vecino (knee injury)

Hellas Verona vs Inter – Previous Meetings

Both teams will play each other for the 60th time on Wednesday night, with Inter undoubtedly the more successful of the two sides. So far, the Nerazzurri have won 34 times (57.6% win ratio), while Verona were victorious only on 4 occasions (6.7% win ratio).

The last meeting between the two sides ended in a 2-2 draw back in July.


Based on the key defensive performance metrics, the game on Wednesday is shaping up to be one of the toughest for Inter in recent months. It will be fascinating to see how Verona’s defense handles the striker duo of Lukaku and Martinez who have already banged in 16 goals together this season. All in all, a draw would not be a surprise, but Inter will try to come away with all three points.