Written By Onyeka Daniel
Today at the Reale Arena, also known as the San Sebastian, Real Sociedad will welcome Inter Milan to their home ground for their group stage encounter, with Benfica facing RB Salzburg in the other fixture for their group.
The La Real will be hoping to have a better outing than they did against Real Madrid over the weekend where they took an early lead but succumbed to pressure and lost the game in the second half. After an impressive display from last season that earned them a return to UCL for this season, it will be up to Imanol Alguacil to fashion out a way for the team to cope with the increased fixture list, starting from this game against Inter.
For the Nerazzurri, they’re fresh from a 5-1 demolition of AC Milan in the Milan derby and remain ine of the three teams in top European Leagues with a perfect record so far, alongside Real Madrid and Manchester City and for Simone Inzaghi, he’s going to have a congested fixture list to deal with. Already, the cracks are starting to show after it was reported thag Turkish international, Hakan Calhanoglu picked up an injury in training, ruling him out of this game.
The manager called Calhanoglu “A big miss for us. Cuadrado also won’t be available.” “We have a lot of matches close together, so we’ll make some changes,” the coach said of rotating his squad. “We have Asllani, who lots of teams asked for in the summer,” the coach noted. “But we decided to keep him, because we believe in him” Asked if Asllani could play, Inzaghi replied “Yes. He’s already played in big matches.”
“He’s ready to play tomorrow, like the other players in the team,” the coach made clear. “I’ll make my decision on whether or not he starts tomorrow after, the initial warm-ups,” Inzaghi said. After steamrolling past Milan, the Nerazzurri were tipped to compete for major titles this season, the Serie A title and the UCL title, behind Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Inzaghi was asked if he thinks Inter are stronger and more mature compared to last season, Inzaghi responded “Certainly. Not only compared to last season, but also from the one before It.” “We had two great seasons in the Champions League,” he continued. The coach noted that “The last Champions League left us with something special.”
“The way that our fans embraced us after was something that we won’t easily forget,” Inzaghi continued. “Like with the matches with Benfica or Milan.” He further added. “We know that we’ve won four matches so far. Now we’re on to the group stage, though, and we know that we can make it through if we work hard.” He further added. After exerting their dominance over Serie A, it’s time for them to do the same in the UCL, but they face a tricky fixture against a Sociedad team that is also out to prove a point.
Style Of Play
Alguacil will stick to his usual 4-3-3 formation, but will probably warn his players to be wary of the opponents attack, especially when they counter-attack after gaining the ball in transition. For Inter, they showed that they’re as comfortable without the ball as they’re with the ball in the Derby win.
Just like The La Real, they like to play from the back, but they can also play long, bypassing the midfield (from goalkeeper to the attack or from a defender to the attack). They will be missing a key element in Calhanoglu, but hopefully, whoever replaces him can really step up. Inzaghi will most definitely go with his trusted 3-5-2 formation.
For the Spanish side, in their last 20 games played across all competitions, they’ve 9 wins, 6 draws and 5 losses. After drawing their first three Laliga games, they were able to get a win against Granada before being defeated by Real Madrid over a weekend, a game that they first took the lead before going down 2-1 against the Los Blancos. For Inter, they’ve a near perfect record in recent times, 17 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses in their last 20 games. Those losses came against Napoli and Manchester City, from last season.
Head To Head
Both teams have only met twice, in 1979 in an Europa League round of 64 game. Inter won the first leg at their home 3-0 and lost the second leg away from home 2-0. This is their first meeting in the UCL. Players To Watch The likes of Takefusa Kubo will be leading the attack out wide for La Real, with support from Mikel Oyarzabal while Martin Zubimendi will try to keep things thick in the middle. For Inter, they will be looking to their captain Lautaro Martinez upfront and whoever partners him and the manager will be hoping that Albanian midfielder, Kristjan Asllani doesn’t look out of place when he replaces Calhanoglu in the midfield.
Real Sociedad possible starting lineup: Remiro; Traore, Le Normand, Zubeldia, Tierney; Mendez, Zubimendi, Merino; Kubo, Oyarzabal, Barrenetxea
Inter Milan possible starting lineup: Sommer; Pavard, De Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Asllani, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Martinez, Thuram
Injuries And Suspensions
The home side will be without C. Fernandez (red card) and M. Merquelanz (injury) while the duo of Andre Silva and A. Elustondo remain in doubt through injury concerns. For the away side, they received a sad news yesterday as Hakan Calhanoglu picked up an injury in training while Juan Cuadrado is also expected to sit this game out due to injury picked up from international duty.
It’s going to be a hard one for Inter Milan even if the pointers look like a win for them. The home side can bank on their home support and they’re a well disciplined side that know how to keep the ball with some skilled players too. (1-2) in favor of Inter.
Do you have a story tip?
Kindly Email: firstname.lastname@example.org