Pre-season Friendly: Sheffield United vs Inter Milan – Lineups, Preview & Prediction
Serie A giants Inter travel to Championship side Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Here’s how Blades fan George Howson sees the game going.
19:30 BST, Tuesday 24th July, Bramall Lane (Sheffield, England)
Inter Milan travel outside of Italy once more for a pre-season friendly after returning to the San Siro for a thrilling match against Russian outfit Zenit St. Petersburg.
The match may look like a slam-dunk win for the away side, but a loss against Sion earlier in the pre-season will give Sheffield United hope of pulling off a surprise victory.
The Blades have had an unbeaten start to pre-season with four wins and a draw from five matches, including a victory against Portuguese club Maritimo.
Sheffield United Lineup
Chris Wilder will send his Sheffield United side out in the 3-5-2 formation that’s seen the Blades have so much success in the previous two seasons.
Manchester United loanee Dean Henderson will get another chance to impress in goal and cement his place ahead of Simon Moore. George Baldock should get the nod ahead of Kieron Freeman at right wing-back, while John Egan will get his first start for the Red and White Wizards after signing from Brentford.
The rest of the defence remains unchanged, as does the midfield, with Paul Coutts still out through injury. However, the likes of John Lundstram, Chris Basham or even Ryan Leonard could make a surprise appearance in the starting XI.
Up front it’s business as usual with United’s search for a new striker still ongoing. David McGoldrick remains on trial at Bramall Lane, but with this such a big occasion, club captain Billy Sharp and Leon Clarke are the favourites to start the game in attack.
Inter Milan Lineup
The XI Luciano Spalletti chooses to start for Inter Milan on Tuesday completely depends on how he sees this friendly. If he believes it to be an opportunity to see what his fringe players can offer, he’ll rotate his side, if not, it’ll be the strongest team available.
As they play against Chelsea on Saturday, it’s likely Spalletti will opt for the former, with Sheffield United clearly the weaker of those two sides.
The side is the same as the one that lost against Sion, with the exceptions of Facundo Colidio and Maj Roric starting at right wing and left back respectively.
New signings Lautaro Martinez, Stefan de Vrij and Radja Nainggolan are all in line for a starting berth in Inter’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
Key Battle: Jack O’Connell (Sheffield United) v Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
How Sheffield United’s defence deal with Inter’s attack will define how this game goes. Chances for the Blades will be few and far between and the home side will have to be ready to withstand an onslaught from the Nerazzurri attack.
As the sole striker, Martinez will be the focal point of Inter Milan’s attack, and the man charged with marking the Argentine will be United’s Jack O’Connell. The centre back is best suited for this role, as he posseses the most pace and is naturally defensive.
Richard Stearman and new man John Egan will also provide cover, but O’Connell’s going to be the one trying to give Henderson an easy evening in goal. If Mauro Icardi makes a surprise start, however, then the threat is tripled for the Red and White Wizards’ backline.
Will McGoldrick get another chance to impress?
Former Ipswich striker David McGoldrick has been on trial at Sheffield United for much of their pre-season campaign and has impressed both the fans and manager of the club.
The English front man won’t be expected to make an impact against a side like Inter Milan, but if he continues his solid form, a permanent contract could land on his doorstep in time for the new season.
Inter showing their Champions League qualities
After claiming a spot in this year’s Champions League on the last day of the Serie A season, Inter will be keen show they can compete in Europe’s premier competition.
The Italian giants will return to the group stage for the first time since 2013 and their new signings will have to gel quickly in order to make it to the knockout stages.
Pre-season matches like this may seem insignificant, but they’re crucial in preparing a team for the upcoming campaign. Playing weaker opponents can cause a lull in a team’s playmaking ability, as complacency sets in, something the away side can ill-afford.
Prediction: Sheffield United 0-2 Inter Milan
Despite Inter Milan likely rotating their side, the Italians should have an easy afternoon. After United struggled to score against League Two Mansfield at the weekend, they’ll have a real job on to score against Inter Milan’s defence.
While at the other end of the pitch, the Nerazzurri will likely get a few goals, especially with the likes of Nainggolan a constant threat from set pieces.
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