Serie A Round 9: Sassuolo – Inter Preview and Lineups

The ninth round of Serie A will be opened by the high-flying Sassuolo hosting Inter as they look to extend their hot streak and take advantage of the recent struggles of the Nerazzurri.

Sassuolo – Inter

Serie A Round 9
Saturday, 28 november 2020
Kick-off at 15:00 (CET)
Mapei Stadium – Città del Tricolore (Reggio Emilia)

Recent Form – Sassuolo

The Neroverdi are still undefeated after eight rounds, having collected five wins and three draws. They are coming off an opportunistic two-nothing result versus Verona, where they capitalized on their limited opportunities and kept their third clean sheet in a row, a rarity compared to years past. They come in second place, two points behind Milan and one above Roma.

The Emilian team has not played a particularly tough schedule so far and has defeated Spezia, Crotone and Bologna, while they got their lone signature win at San Paolo against Napoli (0-2). They shared the spoils with Cagliari in the season opener and more recently with Torino and Udinese. They are tied with Inter for the most goal scored so far (20), while they have given up just nine: only three sides (Juventus, Verona and Milan) have fared better in that regard. On top of boasting one of the most explosive offenses in the League, Sassuolo’s early success has been fueled also by a surprisingly stingy defensive phase. They lead the League in possession (58%), but their upcoming opponent is a close second (57.2%).

Team News and Predicted Lineups – Sassuolo

Their leading scorer Francesco Caputo and his back-up Gregoire Defrel will miss the second match in a row because of muscular injuries, so it will likely be again youngster Giacomo Raspadori leading the front-line. The inventive Filip Djuricic is 50/50 to start due to an ailment, as announced by the coach, who might replace him with Hamed Traore or advancing Maxime Lopez if needed. Vlad Chiriches is in the same situation and will be replaced by Marlon or Kaan Ayhan, who is also an option at right-back to make the formation stouter. In some occasions in the past it has been tilted to a 3-5-2.

Domenico Berardi has been their most consistent player so far, having notched four goals and three assists. They welcomed back one of their biggest weapon as Jeremie Boga bagged his first goal of the season against Verona after struggling in the early going due to COVID. Since Lukas Haraslin and Federico Ricci also turned negative, there is currently not any COVID case in the club, but the two wingers are not ready to play yet.

Expected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Consigli; Toljan, Chiriches, Ferrari, Rogerio; Locatelli, Lopez; Berardi, Djuricic, Boga; Raspadori.

Unavailable: Francesco Caputo (thigh injury), Gregoire Defrel (thigh injury), Lukas Haraslin, Federico Ricci (recovery from COVID), Filippo Romagna (knee injury)

Recent Form – Inter

After two draws against Parma and Atalanta, Inter returned to winning ways in Serie A with a furious four-goal comeback in the second half against Torino (2-4), registering their fourth win of the season and fixing some numbers that had become troublesome as they had prevailed in just one of the previous five domestic matches. However, after that, they lost badly to an undermanned Real Madrid, which put them on the brink of elimination in Champions League.

Considering the continental fixtures, the win over the Granata was the lone one in their last six outings. While they have enjoyed a good run of form from both Romelu Lukaku (seven goals) and Lautaro Martinez (five goals) and also Alexis Sanchez showed up in the previous match, they have been unable to stop opponents. They have already conceded 13 goals, seven more than Juventus, which is the worst number in the top six and on a par with middling sides like Fiorentina and Sampdoria. They have started very slowly in recent tilts, even though some second-half pushes have bailed them out.

Team News and Predicted Lineups – Inter

Marcelo Brozovic tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday and will now be assessed by the coaching staff in practice after missing a couple of weeks. If he looks good enough, he could get the start over Roberto Gagliardini as he has been their second most consistent midfielder behind Nicolò Barella and they generally have troubles whenever he is missing. Stefano Sensi returned midweek after spending significant time on the shelf with a thigh injury and will be an offensive-minded option off the as the coach has generally trusted him more than Christian Eriksen.

Arturo Vidal will be fined after the silly red card against Real Madrid, but the incident should not keep him out of the XI in this one. Possible adjustments and some natural rotation in the midst of a busy stretch of might see Danilo D’Ambrosio, Matteo Darmian and Ivan Perisic being selected over Milan Skriniar, Achraf Hakimi and Ashley Young in their respective roles, while it does not look like their recent difficulties will lead to a tactical overhaul. Romelu Lukaku is also being rumoured with getting some rest as they are eyeing the pivotal match with Moenchengladbach on Tuesday and Alexis Sanchez has fared well recently.

Expected Starting XI (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Vidal, Brozovic, Barella, Young; Martinez, Lukaku.

Unavailable: Aleksandar Kolarov, Daniele Padelli (COVID).

Sassuolo vs Inter – Previous Meetings

This will be the 15th meeting between the two outfits and the Neroverdi have had the upper hand, having won eight times (all coming in the most recent 11 encounters) against Inter’s five. Two of the last three matches ended in a draw, while Inter took home last year’s one in this stadium. The last two games have had a total of 13 goals.


Sassuolo have been a relative surprise this season, showing impressing growth in all facets of the game, while Inter are in desperate need of turning it around after the recent disappointing results.