Inter Milan v Fiorentina, Serie A, November 29, 2009
Differing fortunes in the Champions League this week means that The Viola travel to the San Siro in good spirits and could well produce a win that keeps them involved in the race for the top four and reduce Interâ€™s lead at the top of the table.
Fiorentinaâ€™s win over Lyon thanks to a Juan Vargas (10/3 to score) penalty ensured their progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday night. Whilst many have concentrated on the fact that Liverpool were dumped out of the tournament, this was a major boost for Cesare Prandelliâ€™s side and places them among Europeâ€™s elite.
The win over the French giants was secured without both Adrian Mutu and Stevan Jovetic which is highly impressive as the Romanian has been the sideâ€™s talisman in recent years whilst the young Montenegran striker has been their player of the season. Mutu is also set to miss the San Siro clash whilst Jovetic (9/1 to score last) is also a major doubt, despite the fact he was on the bench for the Lyon game.
As a result much will depend on how Alberto Gilardino (16/1 to score a brace) performs in the San Siro. The Italy international has had a great season so far, with nine goals in 19 appearances and even against the notoriously tight Inter defence, could well make something happen.
Defender Alessandro Gamberini (16/1 to score) and midfielder Cristiano Zanetti (7/1 to score) are also expected to shake off knocks, the latter of whom will face his former club. Fiorentinaâ€™s impressive European form has left them a little short in Serie A and the defeat to Parma last weekend has left them in sixth position with a real battle on their hands to secure Champions League qualification next season.
Despite their disappointing defeat in the Nou Camp on Tuesday night, Inter Milan have been imperious at home this season and hold a five point lead at the top of the table. In recent weeks they have also looked much more dangerous going forward, winning 3-1 at Bologna last Saturday and scoring five against Palermo at home at the end of October.
Another title may not however be enough for Jose Mourinho. The â€œSpecial Oneâ€ was brought in to win the Champions League and reports following the defeat to Barcelona suggested he could be sacked if the Nerazzurri fail to progress past the group stages.
Crucially, for this encounter they will be missing one of their most important attacking players â€“ right back Maicon. The Brazilian was sent off last weekend for saying something to the linesman and will be a big miss for the home side who are also without youngster Davide Santon who could have come in as a replacement.
Inter should enjoy a lot more possession than they did against Barca and in Diego Milito (5/1 to score first & Inter win) they have one of the in-form strikers in Europe. The Argentine has scored four goals in five games and has arguably been a more impressive summer signing than Samuel Etoâ€™o (9/2 to score first, 6/5 to score anytime).
Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed a brace in a 2-0 victory (9/2 to repeat the scoreline) in this fixture last season. A similar scoreline is expected, although it may be Milito, Etoâ€™o or Mario Balotelli (5/4 to score) that steps up to the plate this year.
101gg predicts: Inter Milan 3 â€“ Fiorentina 1 (11/1)
Full match odds here.