Inter arrive in Madrid ready to FINALLY end their 54-YEAR Bernabeu hoodoo and snatch top spot… Simone Inzaghi’s team are 11 games unbeaten, Edin Dzeko looks reborn at age 35 and the defence is becoming the best in the business
- Inter Milan are looking to end their 54-year hoodoo in Madrid this evening
- The Nerazzuri have won just one of eight matches away to the Spanish giants
- Simone Inzaghi’s side arrive at the Bernabeu amid an 11-match unbeaten run
- Former City star Edin Dzeko looks reborn while the defence is looking rock solid
What does life after Antonio Conte look like?
It is a question that Spurs fans aren’t expected to ask for some time, but it is one that Italian giants Inter Milan have spent the latter half of 2021 wrestling with.
A cumbersome start followed Simone Inzaghi’s summer appointment, with the Nerazzurri coming to terms with not only Conte’s departure, but the absence of a focal point in Romelu Lukaku – who left for Chelsea in a £98million move.
Yet a run of 11 games unbeaten has put to bed any concerns for the Serie A champions’ aspirations of replicating their sensational 2020-21 campaign.
Inter Milan are soaring in Serie A and arrive in Madrid full of confidence of ending their hoodoo
Inter have closed the gap to league leaders AC Milan to just one point and can usurp Real Madrid to top spot of their Champions League group with an historic victory at the Bernabeu tonight.
And the Italians are primed to make history in Madrid. Inter have a torrid record in the Spanish capital, with their 1967 win over Los Blancos their only victory in eight visits to the LaLiga side.
Helenio Herrera’s great side escaped the Bernabeu with a 2-0 victory in their European Cup quarter final second leg clash, before eventually losing out to Celtic in the final in Lisbon.
The Italians have not registered a victory at the Bernabeu since Helenio Herrera’s side in 1967
Now, Simone Inzaghi’s side will look to snatch top spot of their group from their Spanish rivals
Now, Inzaghi knows that victory can send a clear message – not only in emphasising his credentials as a top coach, but also in announcing that Inter are finally ready to challenge for Europe’s biggest prize.
Italy’s clubs have fallen well short of expectations in Europe in recent seasons, with Inter crashing out at the group stage last term and playing Europa League football the season before, while Juventus have fallen further down the pecking order among the continent’s elite.
The feeling in Italy is that victory at the Bernabeu can act as a springboard for Inter and Inzaghi is the man entrusted with finally ending the club’s Madrid hoodoo tonight.
In truth, Inzaghi has not moved far from the 3-5-2 system that worked so successfully under Conte. The 45-year-old has played to his squad’s strengths and is prepared for a game of chess with compatriot Carlo Ancelotti.
After a cumbersome start, Inter are hitting their stride and showing shades of their 20-21 form
Ancelotti, returning to Madrid after his spell with Everton, has stuck with his tried and tested back four that has formed the bedrock of his hugely successful career in the dugout.
Further forward, Inzaghi prefers to utilise two playmakers – Marcelo Brozovic and Hakan Callhanoglu – in and around the front two, while Ancelotti tends to rely on the creativity of Luka Modric in midfield, supported by the lively Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo on the flanks.
Callhanoglu has best symbolised Inzaghi’s new Inter, with the Turk running riot during the Nerazzuri’s 3-0 drubbing of Roma over the weekend.
Edin Dzeko, Samir Handanovic and Ivan Perisic have also flourished under the Italian boss, and all three will have to be on top of their game if Inter are to triumph in Madrid.
Former Man City star Edin Dzeko has taken to life at Inter with aplomb and has impressed
The 35-year-old is able to link up play but also still retains his impressive positional sense
It is fair to say that Dzeko is enjoying a rebirth at the San Siro. Tasked with filling the gaping void left by Lukaku this summer, the Bosnian has taken to life in Milan with aplomb.
The 35-year-old has scored 11 goals in 21 appearances for his new club this season and has impressed with his tenacity off the ball, his ability to drop deep to link up play, as well as his natural instincts in the penalty area.
At 37, there had been fears that father time is ticking against Samir Handanovic. The Slovenian remains the captain of the club but it is widely accepted that he will play a backseat role next season, with the club on the hunt for a young goalkeeper.
Yet the past few weeks have seen Handanovic put in super-human performances, demonstrating to his boss that he is more than capable of providing security to his back three when called upon.
More pertinently, Handanovic remains a huge personality in the Inter dressing room, with his enthusiasm and charisma buoying his team-mates during this exceptional run of performances.
Samir Handanovic may be 37 but is proving himself a reliable option between the sticks
Ivan Perisic, now a flying wingback, has cemented his position as undroppable under Inzaghi
Perisic has cemented himself as an irreplaceable name on Inzaghi’s teamsheet.
The dogged Croat has emerged as Inter’s very own Juan Cuadrado – with his tireless efforts in defence and attack, coupled with his stoic determination, making him a crucial piece on Inzaghi’s chessboard.
Perisic’s concentration levels have been questioned over the years, but he has shown a maturity to develop into a wingback role under Inzaghi, allowing the Nerazzuri to focus on other areas to strengthen in the January market.
Inter risk losing the 32-year-old for free next summer, with his contract coming perilously close to expiring, but the former Bayern Munich loanee has put those off-field qualms to one side to turn in superb performances for Inzaghi.
Inter stand on the cusp of a seismic night against the runaway LaLiga leaders. After a 54-year wait, it can all finally come together for the Italians at the Bernabeu.
Ending their 54-year hoodoo would send a resounding message to the rest of Europe
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article