Inter vs Barcelona preview
After a long international break that felt even longer for club football fans, the UCL is back with a bang. Matchday three of the UEFA Champions League is on the horizon and the marquee game from this matchday is Barcelona’s visit to Inter’s iconic San Siro. The teams are in the “Group of Death” along with Bayern so the two fixtures between these teams will go a long way to deciding who comes second. Whoever misses out will consider it a huge failure.
Xavi has got Barca humming again. Youthful exuberance has been complemented the by ice-cold finishing of veteran Lewandowski. Unbeaten in 18 away league games, and giving Los Blancos a proper title race, claims that Barca are back don’t seem so ludicrous anymore. All that economic lever turning doesn’t seem so bad after all. This will be a huge test of their elite credentials.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 2, 2022
Meanwhile, Inter Milan have struggled to get going this season. Early season title contenders sit in 9th place in the Serie A after eight games. They’re coming off a demoralising home loss to Mourinho’s Roma. They look nowhere near their best but a marquee game like this could be just the sort of momentum boost teams look for.
With all that said, let’s take a look at Inter Milan vs Barcelona preview. (KO- Oct 4, 8PM BST)
Inter vs Barcelona team news
The biggest boost for Inter could come in the form of Romelu Lukaku’s return. The Belgian has missed eight games due to muscular problems and Inter have missed his presence up front. He might be fit enough to make the bench but the prospect of Inter’s famed “LuLa” partnership (Lautaro Martinez and Lukaku) returning would make Inter fans a lot more confident. Marcelo Brozovic remains out with a hamstring issue. Inter have no other injury worries.
Calhanoglu’s set-piece prowess will be crucial and the defensive troika of Skriniar-Acerbi-Bastoni will need to be at their best to stop Lewandowski’s hot streak.
PROBABLE LINEUP: Handanovic, Skriniar, Acerbi, Bastoni, Dumfries, Dimarco, Barella, Mkhitaryan, Calhanoglu, Lautaro Martinez, Dzeko
No other side was hit by the international break as hard as Barcelona. Los Cules lost a number of starters to injuries as Xavi called it a “Disgrace”. Injuries to key players like Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde have decimated their backline with backups like Bellerin and Depay also injured. It could lead to another opportunity for wonderkid Alejandro Balde to impress. Sergi Roberto could play instead if Xavi opts for experience.
Eric Garcia, Marcos Alonso, Sergi Roberto, Pedri and Raphinha are expected to start vs Inter.
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) October 2, 2022
The injury bug has been caught by the midfield too, with a resurgent Frenkie de Jong facing a spell on the sidelines with a muscular issue. Xavi has somehow kept getting results despite this but this will be their biggest test yet. He’ll take solace from the fact that his forward line is fit and firing.
PROBABLE LINEUP: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Christensen, Garcia, Alonso, Busquets, Kessie, Pedri, Dembele, Raphinha, Lewandowski
Barcelona is light in fullback areas, so the opportunity is ripe for Inter’s wingbacks to exploit that uncertainty. Denzel Dumfries will look to push forward and put pressure on a comparatively fragile Barcelona backline. Calhanoglu will also be a handful, as any free kick in the opposition half is a goalscoring chance for him.
Further forward, Lautaro Martinez will look to kick his season into gear after a stop-start campaign so far.
— Inter (@Inter_en) October 1, 2022
For Barcelona, their forward line is the key to their chances of winning this game. Pedri and Raphinha were rested in the league so they will be fresh for this one. Lewandowski keeps defying the convention of ageing, looking better each game. Inter’s back three will need to be alert to the Pole’s ghostly movements in the box. In Raphinha, Dembele and Pedri, Barcelona have got ample creators for Lewandowski. Any switch-offs could be deadly for Inter.
Inter vs Barcelona prediction
Inter’s home advantage could count for a lot but it can also work in the opposite way if they don’t start well. The crowd can get on the back of the team because they’re already struggling. However, Barcelona’s defensive worries mean they’ve got a good chance of scoring. The question then becomes- Can they keep out Barcelona’s attack?
This one will probably have goals in it. FootTheBall predicts a 3-1 win for Barcelona where their attack carries them to a victory and Inter are left to rue missed chances.