Featured Matches
Previous
Manchester City
Liverpool
(1) 2
(3) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Bayern Munich
Guadalajara
1
0
FT
Game Details
AS Trencin
Hull City
0
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Mlada Boleslav
Lyon
1
4
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Real Sociedad
Aberdeen
2
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Fortuna Düsseldorf
TSV Eintracht Braunschweig
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AJ Auxerre
Le Havre AC
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Ajaccio GFCO
Valenciennes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Arles
AC Ajaccio
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Nancy Lorraine
Dijon FCO
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Chateauroux
Troyes
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nimes
Angers
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Stade Laval
Niort
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Tours
Créteil
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FK Rubin Kazan
Spartak Moscow
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
KV Oostende
Anderlecht
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Silkeborg IF
Sonderjyske
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Lillestrom
SK Brann
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bray
Athlone Town FC
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cork
Dundalk
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Derry City
Bohemians
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Drogheda Utd
UCD
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Limerick FC
Shamrock
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
St Patricks
Sligo
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Kansas City
Philadelphia Union
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Queretaro
Pachuca
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Tijuana
U.A.N.L
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Godoy Cruz de Mendoza
Banfield
Postp
Game Details
Rosario Central
Quilmes
Postp
Game Details
Lobos BUAP
Mineros de Zacatecas
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Correcaminos
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Avaí
Luverdense
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
Goianiense
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Unión La Calera
Antofagasta
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Real Espana
Parrillas One
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next

Summer transfers survey

Inter Milan Jul 20, 2014
Read

Javier Zanetti: 'Play Like a Man'

FC Reviews Jun 4, 2014
Read
Apr 25, 2014

Inter welcome back controversial former manager Rafa Benitez

Inter entertain former manager Rafa Benitez and his Napoli side at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Saturday.

Last weekend’s big win at Parma eased some of the pressure on Walter Mazzarri’s side as they now have a five-point lead over Parma and Milan, who are fighting for the last Europa League spot.

Despite last weekend's victory, Inter have not wrapped up their own place in next season’s Europa League yet. A defeat Saturday, combined with a Milan win at Roma on Friday, could see the two city rivals separated by only two points heading into next weekend’s Derby della Madonnina

Form

Inter head into the game full of confidence after back-to-back wins over Sampdoria and Parma.

The San Siro has not been its usual fortress for the team this season, as they have only the ninth-best home record in Serie A, with more draws than wins this season.

The team's disappointing home form has contributed to the frustration than the Nerazzurri fans have about this team. Inter fans are not used to seeing only 23 goals in 17 home games, and a style of play that at times has been more reactive than proactive.

Napoli have all but wrapped up Champions League football for next season, and a win or defeat by Fiorentina this weekend will ensure that.

Team News: Inter

Mazzarri has a defensive crisis on his hands as Rolando and Walter Samuel are suspended and Juan Jesus is out for the season. Hopefully Andrea Ranocchia has recovered from injury and will partner Hugo Campagnaro, while Marco Andreoll is expected to make his first Serie A start of the season in a makeshift Inter back line. Team News: Napoli

Napoli will be without the suspended Federico Fernandez, but otherwise should have a fully fit squad for Benitez to pick from bar Christian Maggio, who is still recovering from a collapsed lung.

The Battle Of The Managers

Benitez returns to face Inter for the first time this weekend, a reunion that will give the manager more opportunities to talk about how he was misled and not supported during his turbulent six months in charge of the Nerazzurri four years ago. I don’t expect that Rafa will get a warm welcome from the Ultras in the Curva Nord, but the greeting for current boss Mazzarri will not be much warmer.

Benitez is under pressure in Naples for his inability to improve on what Mazzarri did. Last season under Mazzarri Napoli finished nine points behind champions Juventus. This season that gap has grown to a massive 22 points.

Ending the season with a four-game winning streak and a win in the Coppa Italia against Fiorentina will ease the pressure on Benitez, and Mazzarri could benefit from ending the season with a six-game winning streak.

Mazzarri's style of play, where he takes a cautious approach especially at home, has really frustrated the Inter faithful. Since beating Milan in the derby back in December, Inter have won only two of their past eight games in the league. And in those nine home games they have scored only seven goals.

It is not enjoyable watching a side that is content to grind out games and win them 1-0 at home, especially a side like Inter who in the past decade has dominated Italian football.

If Mazzarri is to win over the hearts of the Curva Nord he needs to play a more attacking style of play for the full 90 minutes. If the club goes ahead and aims for a second or third goal and wins with style, it could help his case more than parking the bus and defending a slim lead. An Inter side that does that can be successful and entertaining.

Prediction:

Despite the two-game winning streak, I am not confident that Inter can make that three against Napoli. The Sampdoria and Parma wins were due in large part to two world-class performances by goalkeeper Samir Handanovic. Inter will need another repeat performance by the big Slovenian this weekend, especially with a makeshift back line, if they are to beat Napoli this weekend.

The other factor that has me worried is that the club has been lackluster against Juventus, Roma and Napoli this season. We have not been up to the quality of the big teams and have been soundly beaten by all three this season.

Can the Inter boss then put together a game plan that provides the Nerazzurri with their first win this season against a top-three side?

While I hope I am wrong, I cannot see Inter beating Napoli on Saturday. I can see Inter setting up defensively not to lose, and that might be enough for a draw, but not for a win.

Score: Inter 1, Napoli 1

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.