International Champions Cup: Inter vs Lyon – Lineups, Preview & Prediction
As the International Champions Cup comes to an end, a newly-rejuvenated Inter take on Lyon in Italy.
Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
19:00 BST, Saturday 4th August, Stadio Via del Mare (Lecce, Italy)
On Saturday, Inter take on Lyon in what will be both sides’ penultimate International Champions Cup fixture.
After an impressive summer spending spree, Inter will head into the new Serie A season as arguably the club most likely to challenge Juventus. With Luka Modric and Arturo Vidal rumoured to be targets of the club, they could be a force to be reckoned with by the time the opening day of the season rolls around on August 19th.
For Lyon, this is the first ICC competition that they’ve been involved in. Their inclusion this summer, however, wasn’t expected, the Ligue 1 side only participating because Sevilla pulled out due to Europa League qualifying and Spanish Super Cup commitments.
Although both sides have another ICC fixture planned after this one, with their respective seasons not far away, don’t be surprised to see strong lineups on Saturday.
Last Time Out
Chelsea 1-1 Inter (Chelsea win 5-4 on penalties) [International Champions Cup]
Last week, Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea came out on top at the Allianz Riviera in Nice to claim first blood in their ICC campaign, beating Inter in a penalty shoot-out.
Chelsea looked the brighter of the teams from the off, Alvaro Morata having his headed goal disallowed for offside within the opening five minutes.
It did not take Chelsea too long to make up for this, Alvaro Morata turned provider after twisting and turning his way through the Inter defence to shoot at Samir Handanovic’s goal in the eighth minute. The Slovenian stopped the ball but could only push it out into the feet of the onrushing Pedro who slotted home calmly.
Inter refused to sit back, though, and they eventually scored through Roberto Gagliardini just after halftime. Latching onto a Mauro Icardi through ball, the midfielder lashed the ball past Willy Caballero in the Chelsea net who perhaps could have done more to stop it.
Finishing level, the sides went to a shoot-out which was lost after a solitary miss: Milan Skriniar failing to beat Caballero from Inter’s fourth penalty.
Benfica 2-3 Lyon [International Champions Cup]
Lyon managed to save any embarrassment when they gave up a two-goal lead against Benfica before pulling ahead in the later stages of the game.
The French side were two-nil up at halftime thanks to goals from Marcelo — a headed finish from a corner — and a lovely curling effort from Bertrand Traore who got on the end of a Tanguy Ndombele through-ball.
In the second half, though, Benfica came out fighting and, after Pizzi scored following some nice interplay with Eduardo Salvio, a Marcelo own goal put the sides back on level terms.
With the game headed toward penalties, Traore managed to get on the end of a hopeless ball at the byline, crossing in to find debutant Martin Terrier who slid it past Odisseas Vlachodimos in the Benfica net.
Inter Milan Lineup
Having played an almost full-strength side against Chelsea last week, Luciano Spalletti is expected to follow suit at the weekend. Marquee signing Radja Nainggolan could get his first run out for the club. If he does, expect Marcelo Brozovic to be rested.
Given the fact that Inter’s Croatian pairing Ivan Perisic and the recently loaned Sime Vrsaljko are still holidaying after their World Cup campaign, Kwadwo Asamoah will likely continue in his wide left forward role and Danilo D’Ambrosio will take up the vacant right-back slot.
With Asamoah pushed forward, Dalbert should fill in at left-back.
The French club lined up in a 4-4-2 with a midfield diamond against Benfica last week and there seems little reason to expect anything different this time out. There could, however, be a first start at right-back for Leo Dubois who recently signed for the club from Nantes.
Elsewhere, Martin Terrier is awaiting his full debut after coming on against Benfica. Nevertheless, given the formation, the former Strasbourg winger might have to stay on the bench a little longer.
Nabil Fekir is still absent from the squad after his World Cup commitments with the French team.
Key Battle: Matias Vecino (Inter) vs Memphis Depay (Lyon)
Having failed to impress during his time at Manchester United, Memphis Depay’s move to Lyon has been something of a breath of fresh air for him, allowing him to showcase the talent that many people had been doubting.
His hat-trick at Nice at the end of the season secured a 3-2 win which cemented Lyon’s place in the Champions League for the following season.
Playing as the attacking midfielder in a midfield diamond, Depay is given the freedom to exploit space, making him the biggest threat to Inter on Saturday.
As a result, Matias Vecino will be tasked with the responsibility of tracking the Dutchman, seeking to stymy his movement and restrict his space.
With Chelsea reportedly interested in the young Uruguayan, a good performance against Lyon could go someway to convincing them he is worthy of an offer.
Is it time for Spalletti to shift formations?
For the most part last season, Luciano Spalletti preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation with Rafinha playing in the number 10 spot.
Since the Brazilian has returned to Barcelona and Spalletti has strengthened in the midfield area, questions will be raised about whether or not a new formation will be needed.
With only really Borja Valero or the out of favour Joao Mario to pick from in that area (although Matteo Politano did feature there in pre-season), it seems as though a 4-3-3 system might be preferable.
Radja Nainggolan’s arrival and the pursuit of Arturo Vidal — thought to be heading to Barcelona now — would corroborate this. Will we see Inter lining up differently by the time Serie A finally swings around?
How do you fit Terrier in?
Lyon have structural problems of their own. With newly-arrived Martin Terrier tending to play as a wide forward, there are questions about how he will fit into a team with an abundance of attacking players.
When Nabil Fekir returns, he will continue to sit behind Depay and Traore in the attacking midfield role in a 4-4-2 with a diamond.
Unless Terrier can make a case to be considered as one of the midfield three, then he may have to content himself with a season coming off the bench.
Prediction: Inter 2-1 Lyon
Despite the fact that Lyon have a wealth of talent available to them, Inter have built a strong squad this summer and will come into this one as favourites.
Don’t expect Lyon to lie down though. They have more than enough attacking guile to put a dent in Inter on Saturday and there should be goals for both sides with the Italian team coming out narrowly on top.
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