Inter Milan come into this one bottom of the group and desperate for points after what has been a pretty dismal UCL campaign so far for the Nerazzuri with two draws and a loss leaving them with just two points. Real Madrid have fared slightly better and will be keen to avoid a loss on Wednesday night at the San Siro with only two points separating both teams on the log with Real Madrid in 2nd and Inter Milan bottom of the log.
Inter Milan Team News
The return of Romelu Lukaku for this tie after his absence in the reverse fixture will be a welcome addition for Antonio Conte’s men. Aleksandar Kolarov and Marcelo Brozovic also look set to miss out with the duo having tested positive for COVID-19. While Stefano Sensi, Matias Vecino and Andrea Pinamonti remain unavailable due to injuries.
Real Madrid Team News
Real Madrid are set to be without the services of two of their key players with Sergio Ramos ruled out with an injury he picked up while on International duty, while Karim Benzema is also not fit enough with a slight injury ruling the Frenchman out of this tie. Federico Valverde and Alvaro Odriozola remain sidelined with injuries, whilst Luka Jovic and Eder Militao remain unavailable after testing positive for COVID-19.
Romelu Lukaku vs Nacho/Varane
Expect Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku to be heavily involved in much of Inter Milan’s attacking play against Real. Inter Milan generally look to play off Lukaku with his hold up and link up play improving markedly since joining up with Antonio Conte’s side. Lukaku’s combination play with Lautaro Martinez has proved highly effective against even the best of defences and the many runners Inter have from midfield also make them very threatening. The absence of Ramos could be a very big issue as his aggressiveness could probably unstable Lukaku but in his absence it is questionable to what extent Varane and Nacho can cope. Lukaku has also shown a willingness to run the channels so we may see the Real Centre Backs getting dragged out of position and leaving gaps in defence which Inter could very well exploit.
Hazard vs D’Ambrosio/Hakimi
Zinedine Zidane will be keen for Eden Hazard to have a big game for the Galacticos with Benzema unavailable for the trip to Milan much of the onus in the attacking third could be on the Belgian forward. Hazard could wreak a lot of havoc if he’s allowed to operate in between the lines and a little closer to goal with an encouraging display against Villareal last time out showing he may not be far off from his best form. With Mendy likely to hold the width on the left and likely draw Achraf Hakimi in, Hazard could find a lot of joy when isolated 1v1 against D’Ambrosio, and it could be interesting to see how the Inter man copes with the threat of Hazard.
Vidal vs Kroos
Antonio Conte could very well look to match up his midfielders 1v1 against the midfield trio of Kroos, Modric and Casemiro as it is very important they do not find their rhythm and are not allowed to string passes the likes of Hazard and co. Arturo Vidal could be especially vital with his energy likely to be decisive in making sure Toni Kroos gets as little time on the ball and is not allowed to dictate the pace of the game with the German acting as the hub of this Real side. Arturo Vidal could very well find some joy with his late runs from deep as it is debatable to what extent Kroos and Modric will be able to pick up runners from Midfield. With Lukaku’s hold-up play and crosses from out wide likely to serve up many chances for Inter Milan.
Expect an enticing affair between two of Europe’s biggest sides with goals on both ends of the pitch. Individual battles are likely to be crucial and expect an interesting tactical battle between two of the game’s finest coaches. The absence of Ramos is a big blow for Real but same can be said for Inter with Marcelo Brozovic unavailable.
Prediction: Inter Milan 2:1 Real Madrid
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