Champions League is back again with the Matchday 4. In this week, Italian giant Inter Milan will welcome Barcelona, another giant from the Spanish arena on Tuesday night at San Siro.
Indeed, Juventus is ruling the Italian Serie A in recent years, but Inter is not far behind from them as well. The Nerazzurri are in fine form in this season too. They have won all but one of their last 10 games. Obviously, that the one against Barcelona on their last outing in the Champions League.
Currently, Inter Milan is holding the second spot of the Group B point table with 6 points in 3 matches. Inter started their Champions League proceedings with a 2-1 win over Tottenham on September 18. Later on, they sealed a 2-1 victory away to PSV at the start of October. But they found it difficult to harm Barcelona at Camp Nou, and lose that game by 2-0.
Don’t forget that Inter Milan was the last Italian team to win the Champions League. That happened in 2010, while they sealed their third European Cup triumph.
However, Luciano Spalletti’s side has kept seven clean sheets in their last 19 matches. Mauro Icardi has scored 8 times in 11 appearances in all competitions this season. Definitely, The Argentine will be eying on Barca’s net on this occasion while they will meet the Catalans at their home.
Inter’s Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan made his comeback from an ankle problem against Genoa at the weekend, and he is expected to return to the Inter startup XI.
Elsewhere, Sime Vrsaljko, Miranda and Kwadwo Asamoah also returning to the team having been rested at the weekend.
Just a few weeks ago, Barcelona was under tremendous pressure while they lost against Leganes and were winless for five matches as well. But things have changed for them in recent weeks. Right now, they are topping the La Liga table with three straight wins including a 4-2 win over Sevilla followed by a massive 5-1 success over their arch-rivals Real Madrid in El Clasico. But they couldn’t maintain that momentum in their last game. Somehow, they managed to win against Rayo Vallecano with two late goals.
The Catalans are leading the point table of Group B of Champions League as well. They have full 9 points in all 3 games they have played so far in UCL this season. Ernesto Valverde’s side beat PSV 4-0 on opening night. Their winning run continued with a 4-2 victory at Tottenham and a 2-0 success over Inter at home.
Meanwhile, Barca boss Valverde has claimed that Messi could be available on Tuesday night following a fractured arm injury. Recently, the Argentine has returned to first-team training and it seems like he will be on the bench against Inter.
Perhaps, Barcelona is not missing Messi that much while they have Luis Suarez on fire for last few games. The Uruguayan striker has scored 5 goals in his last 2 appearances. Despite the performances from regular midfielders, Catalans are enjoying a good support from substitutes like Ousmane Dembele and Arturo Vidal as well.
As far the Head-to-Head stats, it’s favouring on the Spanish side as well. Barca has won 4 times and 2 was drawn and losing just once in all 7 games against Inter Milan. Although, the defeat came in 2009-2010’s semi-final where Inter claimed their last European Trophy.
Here, Barca has only thing to concern against Inter Milan that their last European outing on Italian soil last year. The last term, Roma incredibly beat them by 3-0 in the second leg of the quarter-final. Although Barcelona had the first leg with a one-sided 4-1 win at home.
Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Vrsaljko, Skriniar, Miranda, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic; Candreva, Nainggolan, Perisic; Icardi
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Dembele, Suarez, Coutinho