Italian Serie A Games of the Week: The Post-Derby della Madonnina Preview

Serie A

After a frantic finish to last weekend’s Milan Derby, the focus will be on the same two teams and their fixtures against their respective Tuscan opponents. On Saturday, April 22 at 2:45 pm EST (7:45 pm GMT), Inter play away against Fiorentina. Inter manager Stefano Pioli is risking the sack if they fail to secure maximum points to close the gap on Milan for the last spot in next year’s Europa League. Their job got a little bit easier today when Fiorentina director Giancarlo Antognoni confirmed that Paulo Sousa will not return to their bench next season. It was Sousa’s own fault because he previously stated that qualification for European competition was never the objective for this season as an excuse for Fiorentina’s inconsistency. Inter should seek to take advantage of this demoralising news for Fiorentina, who have already concluded that they will finish out of the European places. Regardless of this development, Fiorentina should be not underestimated because of their attacking talent. If Inter were to win this game, Pioli should start the trident of Ivan Perisic, Mauro Icardi and Antonio Candreva. They should be supported by Joao Mario, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Roberto Gagliardini because they will be able to increase the tempo and provide quick passes wide to be delivered as crosses into the box for Icardi.

Prediction: Inter will want the three points more than Fiorentina to make sure they forget last week’s derby. 3-1 Inter win with Icardi to score.

TV coverage for North America: BeIN Sports, RAI Italia

On Sunday, April 23 at 9:00 am EST (3:00 pm GMT), Milan will host Empoli. Milan manager Vincenzo Montella was fortunate to share the points with their city rivals because they were outplayed for much of the game. He will have to make changes to ensure they do not drop points after their last-minute heroics in the derby. The most important one would be the inclusion of Manuel Locatelli in the starting line-up against Empoli. Locatelli was more efficient than Jose Sosa because he did a better job in carrying Milan’s possession, and provided the vertical passes needed to increase the tempo of their play. This created eight chances from the corner flag and they capitalised on two of them. Empoli look to continue to collect points after their surprise 2-1 win away to Fiorentina because survival is not yet certain, as Crotone have picked up seven points in their last three games. They will turn to Omar El Kaddouri and Levan Mchedlize to provide the necessary quality to steal a point away from home. Empoli manager Giovanni Martusciello will want to defend with two lines of four defenders to force Milan to go over the top to break them down.

Prediction: Empoli’s current form will ensure that it remains a close game. 2-1 Milan win with Deloufeu to score.

TV coverage for North America: RAI Italia