Inter Milan are on a rampage. Since, Claudio Ranieri took over as the boss of the Nerazzurri, they have maintained a stunning winning streak of six serie games in a row. And, they would be looking to make it seven wins on the trot on Sunday, as they lock horns with title contenders Lazio, in what is expected to be a breath-taking encounter at the San Siro.
Last weekend, Inter Milan earned a crucial 1-0 victory, courtesy Diego Milito over the arch-rival AC Milan. And if that kind of compactness and determination is demonstrated on Sunday, the home side can expect full three points, which will take them leapfrogging Lazio in the league table marking an official entry in the title race.
Lazio has been pretty inconsistent in the present campaign so far. They are coming into the match with successive home victories under their belt. They have beaten Atalanta by 2-0 in their last Serie A fixture and have thumped Udinese 3-2 in the Coppa Italia. However, prior to that the Biancocelesti suffered their biggest humiliating defeat, 4-0 at the hands of lowly Siena. For the stat lovers, heading to this fixture Lazio has won only once in their last 15 encounter with Inter Milan.
Inter Milan has no fresh injury news apart from Uruguayan goal-poacher Diego Forlan who suffered yet another thigh injury and possibly will be sidelined for a lengthy period. Italian international Thiago Motta is suspended for the match, after picking up yellow card in the Milan derby.
Motta has been in the news for a move away from San Siro to French outfit Paris Saint Germain, but club president Massimo Moratti insisted that the player is not for sale.
Speaking to the reporters he said "Thiago Motta? He's one of our most important players,"
"This makes him non-transferable. We hope he won't leave."
Ranieri decided to field a second string Inter side against Genoa in the Coppa Italia fixture, and will be counting on fresh legs against Lazio. Dutch maestro Wesley Sneijder has returned to full fitness and will play a central part filling the hole behind Diego Milito.
"After two months I saw his first game, in which he was determined and confident. He inevitably lacks match fitness, but I remember I made a mistake with Sneijder at the start when I played him regularly so he could get back into shape. Instead, that prompted a relapse," Ranieri said during a press conference.
"This is why he will now be slowly introduced back into the side. Sneijder will play when I believe the time is right. Along with Diego Forlan, Cristian Chivu and Dejan Stankovic, he'll be our 'big' January signing.”
Lazio rocked by crucial injuries ahead of this key-tie, Edy Reja will have to confront the crunch clash without the services of Cristian Brocchi, Lorik Cana, Stefano Mauri and Libor Kozak but influential Brazilian midfielder Hernanes has recovered from injury and is available for selection.
Reja told Lazio Style Radio "We will go to Milan to play our game,”
“It could not be otherwise. They are a great team but we can go and play well there.”
Follow Saikat Mandal @Saikat_SAnchor
It will be interesting to see how Inter approaches this game without Forlan. Let us see if Inter can get to that 4rth spot. But irrespective of the result, I feel Ranieri deserves a lot of praise. Kudos to him.