Saints fans continue their European tour with a trip to north Italy to take on Inter Milan at the San Siro. Following a 3-1 drubbing of Burnley at St. Mary’s, Southampton appear to be in a bit of form after an indifferent start to life under Claude Puel.
This will be the first time Inter and Southampton have met in a competitive fixture, and with many fans travelling from the south coast of England to Milan, Southampton could not have chosen a better time to face one of the biggest names in European football, with I Nerazzurri struggling both domestically and in the Europa League so far this season.
It’s top of Group K versus bottom of Group K in the 2016/17 Europa League as Inter Milan host Southampton.
The Saint’s recent form is much improved on their start to the season. After drab 1-1 draws at home to Watford and Sunderland, Puel’s men have started picking up some points and good victories. The catalyst for this was a 3-0 win over Sparta Prague, and since that result Saints are undefeated in 6 matches both domestically and in the Europa League. Beating West Ham 3-0 and Burnley 3-1 shows that Southampton are beginning to get into a goal scoring rhythm, and Saints fans will certainly be hoping that that form is taken into the San Siro.
Inter Milan have really struggled to get going so far this season, and tensions amongst supporters is very high. 23 year old club captain Mauro Icardi, despite starting the season in a rich vein of form, was jeered by ‘supporters’ for missing a penalty last weekend as players come under increased pressure. Inter have lost both of their first two Europa League group games, 0-2 to Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva and 3-1 to Sparta Prague, as well as underperforming in Serie A. Sitting 11th in the league, Inter have enjoyed a hot and cold start to Frank De Boer’s stewardship, having a spell of five matches unbeaten sandwiched between three losses. Having won three, drawn three and lost three, with poor Europa League form, Inter are not perhaps the beast they once were.
Inter Milan predicted starting XI:
Southampton predicted starting XI:
The main injury concern for Southampton coming from the weekend’s game against Burnley is that second choice left back Matt Targett went off with an injury, adding to first choice left back Ryan Bertrand on the treatment table. This paves the way for local lad Sam McQueen to make only this third first team appearance for the Saints at the San Siro. The 21 year old spent last season on loan at Southend United.
Inter don’t have too many fresh injury concerns with Japanese international Yuto Nagatomo back available for selection. Felipe Melo and Marco Andreolli remain sidelined.
Backing Southampton would usually be harder in this fixture. However, due to their resurgence in form, and the fact that the complete opposite is true of Inter, Southampton do look a good bet for this one. Injury problems at left back will hamper the Saints’ chances, and the San Siro on a European night is by no means a walk in the park, but Claude Puel’s side must be eyeing this fixture ready to make a statement of intent with victory. Prediction: Inter Milan 1 – 2 Southampton.
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