We’re really at the business end of the Serie A title race now and it’s just between the two Milan sides.
Inter have the least margin for error because they are two points behind AC Milan with just three games left to play. Any slip-up here will likely be fatal for Simone Inzaghi’s side and will result in a failed defence of the title won last season under Antonio Conte.
To prepare you for this vital game I’ve selected my top 3 Bet Builder Picks and a complementary Cheat Sheet.
Friday’s early evening fixture at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza is, on paper, exactly what Inter would want at this stage of the season and in their current predicament.
They’re at home to a team that has effectively been in free fall since Christmas. Empoli beat Napoli in mid-December and from then on, they did not win another Serie A game until beating Napoli again two weeks ago. That game effectively removed Napoli from the title race.
That win hasn’t launched Andrea Andreazzoli’s side back into form though as they were beaten at home by Torino in their most recent fixture. They will not be feeling particularly confident when they head north on Friday.
What could help Inter even more is that Empoli do not need to get a result. Whilst they have fallen down the order since the turn of the year, they had already done enough in the first half of the season to avoid getting sucked too far into the relegation battle.
All of the focus will be on whether Inter can get all three points to apply some pressure to Milan before they face Hellas Verona on Sunday night at the Bentegodi.
Both Teams to Score No
It is very difficult to back Empoli to score many goals at the moment as they have been so poor in the second half of the season.
There’s no denying that they have some quality players but the main sources of goals have been bang out of form lately. Their best hope of scoring ironically comes with Andrea Pinamonti who is on loan from Inter and will return to the Nerazzurri in three games’ time.
Inter, on the other hand, are the league’s top scorers and it would be incredibly surprising if they couldn’t find a way to breach this Empoli defence at home in front of a packed out crowd.
The last time that Simone Inzaghi’s side failed to find the back of the net was the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg against AC Milan on March 1. That means they’ve gone over two months without drawing a blank.
Given that, in a rare occurrence, all of the forwards in the squad are fit at the same time, there is no evidence to suggest that this will be the game where they fail to score completely. Both teams to fail at finding the net is available for odds of 1.95.
Hakan Calhanoglu to Assist Anytime
Hakan Calhanoglu was suspended for Inter’s recent match against Udinese and because of the drop-off in quality that Inter have in midfield, Roberto Gagliardini had to start the game.
He was largely ineffectual and the Nerazzurri will be pleased that Calhanoglu is available again. Having started the season very well, the Turkish midfielder’s form waned after Christmas.
In recent weeks though, he has become Inter’s main source of creativity from midfield and he will be hoping to set up a teammate against Empoli.
He often takes Inter’s free kicks and corners and seeing as he is regarded as a dead ball specialist, his chances of adding to that tally of 11 Serie A assists this season are high.
There is added incentive for Calhanoglu to do all he can to helo his team win the Scudetto this season. He joined on a free transfer from Milan in the summer and has shown by his goal celebrations in the first Derby della Madonnina this season, he is desperate to show his old employers what they are missing.
The most impressive change to Calhanoglu’s game since joining Inter hasn’t just been his more consistent goal contributions, it has been the effort he puts in off the ball.
It’s clear that playing alongside Marcelo Brozovic and Nicolo Barella, two players that cover an incredible amount of ground, has had an effect on the Turk. To provide an assist on Friday evening is available for odds of 2.0.
Lautaro Martinez to Score Anytime
Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez has managed to refind his form at exactly the right stage of the season for Inter and he has started popping up with important goals.
After a steady start to the campaign, he endured a terrible patch of form where he did not score between December 17 and March 4. He broke his duck with an emphatic hat-trick against Salernitana.
Since that game he has scored a wonderful goal away against Liverpool, a brace against AC Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-final and league goals against Spezia, Roma, and Udinese.
He is getting close to breaking his record for number of Inter goals in a season and there would be no better way to do it than en route to snatching the title away from Milan.
Martinez is expcted to start the game against Empoli as he is in form and Simone Inzaghi is clearly determined to get the best out of him. He’ll be receiving ample service from whichever of Inter’s talented wing backs start the game.
Playing alongside Joaquin Correa seems to have brought out the best in Martinez as he links up better with his compatriot than he does with Edin Dzeko.
Whether Inzaghi will look to exploit that on Friday night or stick with Dzeko remains to be seen but either way, expect Lautaro Martinez to get amongst the goals is Inter show up and do what they need to do available for 1.67 on Paddy Power.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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Inter predicted XI (3-5-2) : Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Dimarco; Darmian, Vidal, Brozovic, Gagliardini, Perisic; Dzeko, Martinez
Empoli predicted XI (4-3-1-2) : Vicario; Romagnoli, Viti, Luperto, Parisi; Henderson, Asllani, Zurkowski; La Mantia; Di Francesco, Pinamonti
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* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *
How to watch Inter v Empoli in the Serie A
📅 When is Inter v Empoli? / Friday, 6th May 2022, 17:45
🏟 Where is Inter v Empoli? / San Siro (Milan)
📺 What TV channel is Inter v Empoli on? / BT Sport 2
🟨 …And who is the referee for Inter v Empoli? / G Manganiello 🇮🇹