Thursday, May 19
Collect News Data
May 6, 2022 at 5.45pm UK at San Siro
Inter Milan
4 - 2
Romagnoli (40' og.), Martinez (45', 64'), Sanchez (90+4')
Martinez (64')
FT(HT: 2-2)
Pinamonti (5'), Asllani (28')

Preview: Inter Milan vs. Empoli - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Inter Milan vs. Empoli - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's Serie A clash between Inter Milan and Empoli, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Inter Milan will welcome Empoli to San Siro on Friday evening knowing that a victory would see them move above bitter rivals AC Milan to the top of the Serie A table.

The home side are currently second in the division, two points behind leaders AC Milan, while Empoli sit down in 14th position, 11 points clear of the relegation zone.

Match preview

Inter's title hopes suffered a huge setback at the end of April when they went down 2-1 at Bologna, but the reigning champions managed to bounce back on May 1 by recording a 2-1 win over Udinese, with Ivan Perisic and Lautaro Martinez on the scoresheet at Dacia Arena.

Simone Inzaghi's side are second in Serie A, two points behind leaders AC Milan, meaning that a victory on Friday would see them move to the top of the table, temporarily at least.

Indeed, AC Milan would have the chance to reclaim first position on Sunday when they head to Verona, and it is set to be a fascinating conclusion to the campaign in terms of the title race, with Inter's final three league matches coming against Empoli, Cagliari and Sampdoria.

The Italian champions will take on Juventus in the Coppa Italia final on May 11, meanwhile, so it could potentially be a famous season for Inter, who lifted their 19th Serie A title last term, but they have not won the Coppa Italia since 2011.

Inter have the best home record in Italy's top flight this season, picking up 39 points from their 17 matches, but Empoli have performed impressively on their travels, collecting 21 points from 17 games, which is a strong record considering their position in the table.

Having won Serie B last season to earn promotion back to this level, finishing 17th or above in Serie A this term was Empoli's number one priority.

With that in mind, the Blues have enjoyed a solid campaign, picking up 37 points from their 35 matches to sit 14th in the table, 11 points clear of 18th-placed Salernitana, who have a game in hand.

At this moment, there is still a mathematical chance of Empoli being relegated, but it would take an extraordinary turn of events, so it is safe to assume that they will again play in Italy's top flight next term.

Aurelio Andreazzoli's side will enter this match off the back of a 3-1 defeat to Torino on May 1, but they recorded a 3-2 victory over Napoli on April 24 and have only lost six of their 17 away Serie A games during the 2021-22 campaign.

Empoli will certainly be the underdogs heading into Friday's contest, and they have lost each of their last eight Serie A matches against Inter, including a 2-0 defeat in the reverse match earlier this season.

Inter Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Inter Milan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Empoli Serie A form:
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Inter will have to make a late check on the fitness of Nicolo Barella, who has a knee injury, and while he could yet make the squad, it seems unlikely that the Italian will be in the starting XI.

As a result, there could be a spot in the middle of midfield for Arturo Vidal, but the team could otherwise be unchanged from the one that took to the field for the first whistle against Udinese.

Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko should continue as the front two, with Perisic and Matteo Darmian operating in the wing-back positions for Inzaghi's side.

Aside from Barella, Inter will be missing Alessandro Bastoni due to a calf problem, but the reigning champions are otherwise in good shape heading into Friday's contest.

As for Empoli, Valerio Verre and Petar Stojanovic will both be absent following their red cards in the home defeat to Torino last time out.

Simone Romagnoli and Andrea La Mantia could come into the starting XI on Friday, but head coach Andreazzoli is unlikely to make many alterations from the side that featured in the 3-1 loss.

Lorenzo Tonelli and Nicolas Haas are both out through knee injuries, but the away side do not have any fresh concerns, and a 4-3-1-2 formation should again see Federico Di Francesco and Andrea Pinamonti play as a front two.

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Dimarco; Darmian, Vidal, Brozovic, Gagliardini, Perisic; Dzeko, Martinez

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Vicario; Romagnoli, Viti, Luperto, Parisi; Henderson, Asllani, Zurkowski; La Mantia; Di Francesco, Pinamonti

We say: Inter Milan 2-0 Empoli

Empoli are capable of making this an uncomfortable match for Inter, but we are finding it difficult to back against the home side here. Inzaghi's side need to win to move to the summit, and we are expecting the Milan giants to be too strong for their opponents in this contest.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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