EUROPEAN football expert Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) runs the rule over Monday night’s Serie A fixture between Inter Milan and Fiorentina.
Inter Milan v Fiorentina | Monday 20:00 | BT Sport 2
Frank de Boer was dismissed as Inter Milan manager after only 85 days and 14 games in charge having won just five fixtures – a miserable 35.7% win rate.
The Dutchman was the ninth manager to be employed by the Nerazzurri following Jose Mourinho’s departure six-and-a-half years after lifting the Champions League trophy. The outgoing boss left with the second-worst record during Inter’s grim recent history since their famous 2010 triumph.
A new dawn at Inter
Stefano Pioli has been drafted in to takeover – it’s the former Lazio boss’ first managerial role with one of Italy’s top three clubs as the 51-year-old goes in search of a first major trophy from a 10-club career in coaching.
But that would be doing Pioli a disservice. In his last stint, he took a less talented Lazio team to third place and the brink of a Coppa Italia win two years ago. However, he was less successful last season and was sacked in April after an embarrassing 4-1 defeat by neighbours Roma.
Inter have been without Champions League football for five successive seasons and following a summer takeover from Chinese electronics retailer Suning Commerce Group, the club are hoping to make their mark amongst Serie A’s big-hitters once more.
Costly Nerazzurri errors
But it may take time and it’s hard to find any faith in supporting the Nerazzurri on Monday night. Sure, only Juventus and Napoli are returning more dominant shot ratio figures but calamitous individual defensive errors and an overreliance on bad-boy striker Mauro Icardi continually cost the club dear.
Slow starts have also given Inter a mountain to climb too often – the Nerazzurri have leaked first in 11 of their 19 outings this term and their rollercoaster week has only served as further notice to their calamitous ways in current climes.
Pioli saw the Nerazzurri pinch a last-gasp point in the Derby della Madonnina against bitter rivals AC last weekend before an embarrassing Europa League exit on Thursday.
The new man in the dugout can’t be blamed for the failure to progress on the continental stage but Pioli wasn’t impressed with Inter’s game-management in midweek as they humiliatingly turned a cushy 2-0 lead against Hapoel Be’er Sheva in Israel into a stoppage-time 3-2 loss.
To make matters worse, Gary Medel has undergone surgery on his torn meniscus leaving Pioli with few options for replacing out-of-sorts Jeison Murillo at centre-back.
Bar Medel, Inter appear likely to field the same system and personnel that claimed a point in last weekend’s derby. The exciting Joao Mario looks set to play in support of Mauro Icardi, whilst Ivan Perisic will continue in the XI meaning Ever Banega will again start from the bench.
Goals on the agenda
Inter have struck four goals across their first two fixtures with the side looking more dynamic and decisive in the offensive third under Pioli. But with a tally of just three clean sheets in 18 outings this term, it’s hard to foresee the hosts shutting Fiorentina out at San Siro.
The Florence visitors have fired a solitary blank in 11 and scored in all six of their away league days thus far whilst claiming three victories on the spin during their Serie A travels. La Viola have also completing the double over Inter in last two seasons’ of action.
Sure, Paolo Sousa’s men suffered a shock 3-2 defeat at home to PAOK on Thursday but the Portuguese boss rested and rotated his troops and has a clean bill of health for the trip to Milan. Nikola Kalinic will return to the starting XI.
The guests draw more games than they would like – which has often been a fault of Sousa sides, offering possession without much in the way of penetration – but they have lost only twice this season and lie eighth with a game in-hand.
Back Both Teams To Score
But rather than support a positive away result, the 10/13 (10Bet) on Both Teams To Score makes much more appeal. It’s proven profitable in 15/25 (60%) Fiorentina matches on the road since the start of last season, as well as in 14/25 (56%) of Inter’s San Siro outings.
There have also been at least three strikes in six of Inter’s last seven matches and also in six of Fiorentina’s last seven on the road. Seven of the last eight meetings have thrown up at least three match goals so Monday night punters should expect more goalmouth action when the duo cross swords once more.
Inter Milan v Fiorentina – Both Teams To Score (10/13 888)