With the international football finally over, we dive into the domestic action, with Round 8 of the 2020-21 Serie A season kicking-off this weekend. One of the main contenders for this season’s Scudetto crown Inter will try to get back to winning ways in a home match against Torino.
Both teams have had a rather different start to their respective Serie A campaigns, with the Nerazzurri currently placed 7th in the league table, whereas their opponents from Turin are only one place above the relegation zone sitting 17th.
The Cult of Calcio previews the Sunday’s fixture, likewise, presenting the expected starting lineups of both teams.
Inter – Torino
Serie A Round 8
Sunday, 22 November 2020
Kick-off at 15:00 (CET)
Stadio San Siro (Milan)
Recent Form – Inter
Antonio Conte’s side comes into this game after a fourth consecutive draw in all competitions, having drawn 1-1 with Atalanta in the final match before the international break. A 2-0 away win at Genoa in late October was the last time Inter took all three points, making the Sunday’s clash a rather must-win game for Conte and his team.
Inter’s thunderous start to the 2020-21 Serie A campaign suggested their undisguised ambitions to finally bring back the Scudetto to the black and blue side of Milan. A thrilling 4-3 win against Fiorentina and a thumping 5-2 thrashing of Benevento sent out a warning signal to their rivals stating that this will be Inter’s year. After scoring 9 goals in just two matches, the Nerazzurri had to settle for a one-all draw at home against Lazio. However, a 2-1 defeat in the Derby di Milano seemed to bring Inter back to earth, with even more points dropped in the next few matches.
So far this season, Inter are one of the attacking superpowers of the Serie A. With 16 goals, Conte’s team has the third joint-best attack in the league, only behind Sassuolo and Atalanta (both 18 goals). However, as mentioned before, 9 of those 16 have came in the first two matches, and only 7 were scored in the last five games. Inter’s 14.9 npxG (non-penalty expected goals) score indicates that they have converted most of their chances and do not seem to be massively under-performing.
On the other end, Inter have been less successful, having already conceded 11 goals in the Serie A this season (9th best result). Conte’s teams are renown for being defensively solid; therefore, the fact that the Nerazzurri on average let in 1.57 goals per game does not fill with confidence.
Team News and Predicted Lineups – Inter
Inter arrive into this match without five first-team players. Roberto Gagliardini, Marcelo Brozovic, and Daniele Padelli have all tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently self-isolating. Brozovic will be undoubtedly a major loss for Conte as the 28-year-old Croatian has proved to be a key figure in the Italian’s 3-5-2 tactical set-up. Christian Eriksen is likely to get a rare start, with Barella and Vidal both providing cover for a missing Croatian teammate.
Stefano Sensi and Matias Vecino are the other two players who will miss Sunday’s clash with Torino. Sensi is yet to recover from a muscle injury, while Vecino is still out after having his meniscus repaired back in September.
Expecting Starting XI (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi,Vidal, Gagliardini, Young, Barella; Lautaro Martinez, Lukaku
Unavailable: Aleksandar Kolarov (COVID-19), Marcelo Brozovic (COVID-19), Daniele Padelli (COVID-19), Stefano Sensi (muscle injury), Matias Vecino (knee injury)
Recent Form – Torino
Marco Giampaolo’s team has had a miserable start to their 2020-21 Serie A campaign, having accumulated only 5 points from their first seven matches. Torino have lost 4 of their opening 5 games, making it one of the worst starts in club’s history. However, Giampaolo’s men have been shaking things up lately, having claimed their first win of the 2020-21 Serie A season against Genoa two weeks ago, which was followed by a goalless draw against Crotone.
Despite their horrendous Serie A start, the results do not seem to reflect the level of Torino’s performances entirely. So far, Giampaolo’s side has lost only a single game by a goal margin greater than one, which was a 4-2 home defeat to Atalanta. Additionally, Torino are not shy in front of goal either, having netted 3 times in at least two Serie A matches this season. In total, they have scored 12 goals so far, which is 8th best result in the league. However, Torino’s npxG (non-penalty expected goals) score of 7.87 indicates that they have not been creating loads of chances with a high probability of scoring. Torino have scored 5 goals more than they were expected to, which is at the same time a good and a bad sign. Good in terms of their ability to convert an even low-quality goal-scoring chances, whereas bad stands for the lack of creation of chances with high scoring probability.
On the other end, Torino once again show contradicting results regarding their expected goals values. Giampaolo’s men have the 3rd worst defence in the league (16 goals conceded), but their xGA (expected goals allowed) value is 11.55, meaning that Torino have conceded 4 extra goals, which, in theory, they should have not conceded – a result that could have saved them at least a few more points.
Team News and Predicted Lineups – Torino
Torino have been rather lucky with injuries so far this season, with no big names likely to be missing Sunday’s clash with Inter. Armando Izzo and Daniele Baselli are the only absentees and will not feature in this game. Andrea Belotti remains Torino’s main man, having contributed to 50% of his team’s total goals.
Expecting starting XI (4-3-1-2): Sirigu; Vojvoda, Bremer, Lyanco, Rodriguez; Meite, Rincon, Linetty; Lukic; Verdi, Belotti.
Unavailable: Armando Izzo (muscle injury), Daniele Baselli (sprained knee)
Inter vs Torino – Previous Meetings
This will be the 161st meeting between the two teams in all competitions, with Inter being the leading team in this fixture. The Nerazzurri have been victorious on 70 different occasions (43.8% win ratio), with Torino managing only 39 wins (24.8% win ratio). The remaining 51 matches ended in a draw, making up 31.9% of all encounters between Inter and Torino.
The head-to-head history of the last five matches has been even, with both teams taking two wins each and one game ending in a draw. Speaking of the most recent result, the last game between the two sides saw Inter beat Torino 3-1 at San Siro back in July.
This match is shaping up as a must-win for both teams. Inter are already 5 points behind their city rivals AC Milan, whereas Torino are out of the relegation zone only thanks to a better goal difference.