Benevento vs Inter Milan
Stadio Ciro Vigorito, Benevento
Wednesday, 30-09-2020 @7pm
Ref: Marco Picinini
The action has been relentless all across Europe for nearly a month now, with the domestic leagues shaping up quite well.
In Italy, it’s a continuation of Matchday 1 of the 2020/21 season, with Inter Milan taking to the field on Wednesday, when they will be facing off against Benevento at the Municipal Stadium Ciro Vigorito.
The hosts have begun only their second ever campaign in Serie A, having returned to the Italian top-flight after two years on the back of a triumphant 2019/20 Serie B season.
Gli Stregoni were quite impressive in their season-opening fixture this past weekend, as they completed a hard fought 3-2 win at Sampdoria and they will hope to build on a solid start.
Inter on the other hand, have come into 2020/21 on the back of a promising campaign in the 2019/20 season, wherein they finished runners-up in the Serie A and Europa League. The aim would now be to go a step further, at least in one of the three competitions that the Nerazzurri will be a part of. Last weekend, Inter narrowly beat Fiorentina 4-3 to start their 2020/21 campaign.
Inter Milan were 2-1 victors the last time they clashed with Benevento in a Serie A fixture at the Municipal Stadium Ciro Vigorito.
Filippo Inzaghi barely has any injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Inter Milan. On Wednesday, the Benevento manager will be bereft of the services of just one first-team player, with Nicholas Viola recovering from a knee injury.
Inzaghi will line his side up in his preferred 4-3-3 formation, with Lorenzo Motipo being the obvious choice between the sticks. In front of him, the key man for the hosts will be veteran centre-back Kamil Glik, who will need to use all his experience to keep Inter Milan at bay.
Glik will likely have Luca Caldirola for company at the heart of the Benevento defence, while Daam Foulon and Gaetano Letizia will be the full-back pairing for the hosts. Up ahead in midfield, the onus will be on Pasquale Schiattarella to keep things tight ahead of the backline.
Schiattarella will sit at the base of the three-man midfield, with support coming in the form of Artur Ionia and Bryan Dabo. Finally, in attack, Gianluca Lapadula will be the pivotal player, leading the line for Benevento against Inter Milan. Lapadula will be flanked by Roberto Insigne and Gianluca Caprari on Wednesday.
Much like his counterpart in the Benevento dugout, Antonio Conte hardly has any roster issues to contend with ahead of his side’s latest Serie A fixture. On Wednesday, the Inter Milan manager will be without just two first-team players, with Radja Nainggolan and Matias Vecino the only ones missing out.
In fact, Conte also greets some good news in the build-up to the game, with Stefan de Vrij now at his disposal after serving out his suspension. The Dutchman should return to the back-three straightaway, with Aleksandar Kolarov making way for him.
With Milan Skriniar’s Inter future a doubt, the Slovak misses out again. In his absence, Danilo D’Ambrosio will start on the right side of the three-man central defensive unit, with Alessandro Bastoni completing the back-three, which will provide cover to captain Samir Handanovic in goal.
Conte might alter his system slightly against Benevento, with Stefano Sensi returning in a box-to-box role, meaning Christian Eriksen drops down to the bench. Nicolo Barella and Marcelo Brozovic will be the other two midfielders for Inter Milan, with Arturo Vidal still awaiting his full debut.
However, one player who is likely to make his first start for Inter Milan is Achraf Hakimi. Ashley Young will, therefore, move to the left wing-back slot, with Hakimi starting on the right. Finally, the strike partnership should feature former Manchester United pair Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, with Lautaro Martinez missing out.
Inter Milan have won both of their Serie A matches against Benevento: 2-1 on the road in October 2017 and 2-0 at San Siro in February 2018. Inter have won nine of their last 11 Serie A matches against newly-promoted sides (D2). Their last defeat in such a fixture came against Parma in September 2018. Benevento won against Sampdoria in their first match of the 2020/21 Serie A season. Gli Stregoni picked up only one further point in the first 19 matches of their only previous campaign in the Italian top-flight. Inter Milan have won each of their last two Serie A games on the road without conceding a goal; the last time the Nerazzurri managed three successive shut-outs in away league games was way back in September 2013. Antonio Conte has always won his first away match of the season in a top five European league over the course of his storied career (6 in 6).
Udinese vs Spezia
Darcia Arena, Udine
Wednesday, 30-09-2020 @7pm
Ref: Alessadro Prontera
Udinese will host Spezia on Wednesday in their second Serie A game of the season. Both sides lost their opening encounters, but Udinese are the favourites to win this match.
Udinese are set to host Spezia on Wednesday at the Darcia Arena in Serie A action action.
Udinese come into this game on the back of a 1-0 loss to Hellas Verona on Sunday at the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi. A goal from former Juventus striker Andrea Favili was enough to secure three points for Ivan Juric’s side.
Spezia, on the other hand, were thrashed 4-1 by Sassuolo on Sunday at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi. Goals from Serbian midfielder Filip Duricic, Italy international Domenico Berardi, Gregoire Defrel and Francesco Caputo secured the victory for Roberto De Zerbi’s men. Bulgarian forward Andrey Galabinov scored the consolation goal for Spezia.
Udinese and Spezia have previously played only one game against each other, in 2016 in the Coppa Italia third round, with Spezia winning the game 3-2. Nahuel Valentini, David Okereke and Anderson Miguel da Silva scored for Spezia to win the game.
Argentina international Rodrigo De Paul and striker Duvan Zapata scored the goals for Udinese.
Udinese have a few injury worries. Midfielders Mato Jajaro and Rolando Mandragora are injured, while there are doubts over the availability of Danish defender Jens Stryger Larsen.
Meanwhile, Spezia manager Vincenzo Italiano will be unable to call upon the services of left-back Federico Mattiello and centre-back Elio Capradossi, who are both out injured.
Lazio vs Atalanta
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Wednesday, 30-09-2020 @9:45pm
Ref: Fabio Maresca
Lazio and Atalanta square off in Serie A on Wednesday evening with both clubs looking to build on their winning start to the season.
While Lazio posted a 2-0 victory away at Cagliari, Atalanta recorded a thrilling 4-2 triumph over Torino.
Having both challenged for the Serie A title during 2019-20, Lazio and Atalanta are aware that a fast start to this campaign will keep the pressure on Juventus and Inter Milan.
Neither of last season’s top two have looked particularly convincing during their opening fixtures, providing a window of opportunity for the teams who finished directly below them in the standings.
Starting their campaign later than some of their rivals, Lazio and Atalanta both got their schedules underway with victories on Saturday.
The latter found themselves involved in a chaotic encounter at Torino, going behind early before establishing a 3-2 advantage at half time.
An early goal after the break from Marten de Roon ultimately saw off the challenge of their hosts, but there was every suggestion that Gian Piero Gasperini’s side may require some time to get up to speed.
In the hours after the contest at Stadio Olimpico Grande, Lazio were more convincing in seeing off Cagliari courtesy of goals from Manuel Lazzari and Ciro Immobile.
While Simon Inzaghi has kept incomings down to a minimum, the club’s best piece of business was extending the contract of the free-scoring Immobile, who now faces competition from Vedat Muriqi.
Inzaghi and Gasperini will head into this encounter arguably content to settle for a draw should the opportunity arise, but collecting maximum points may act as the catalyst for a sustained bid at the league title.
Jose Luis Palomino is in line to take the place of Mattia Caldara after being introduced as a half-time substitute at the weekend.
Mario Pasalic and Ruslan Malinovskiy are also pushing for a chance in the Atalanta starting lineup, potentially at the expense of Luis Muriel.
Goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini and new arrival Aleksei Miranchuk will miss the game due to injury.
Barring any late fitness issues, Inzaghi could opt to name the same side which began Lazio’s fixture against Cagliari.
That would leave Felipe Caicedo having to remain patient for an opportunity in the final third, while Muriqi is currently sidelined through injury.