Bottom versus top will suit hitman Edin Džeko
It's bottom versus top of the 2021/2022 Serie A table at the Stadio Arechi in the south of Italy on Friday evening. Salernitana are rooted to the foot of the standings, marooned on just eight points after 17 points and without a win since being assisted by a red card in their clash with Venezia during October. Meanwhile, last season's title winners are on a roll, having successfully qualified for the Champions League knockout phase and with maximum points from their last five domestic fixtures. Read our preview here:
Fréd the dread
I Granata have really struggled since being promoted as runners-up in 2020/2021, and possess the typical problems of both not scoring enough and conceding too many, the former well below one a game, and the latter in excess of two on average. Stefano Colantuono has had a harsh opening to his second spell in charge of the club, having been appointed two months with his side already propping up the rest. He will also be without the services of Leonardo Capezzi, Stefan Strandberg, Cedric Gondo, Antonio Russo, and Matteo Ruggeri, making the uphill task more akin to a mountain. Veteran French winger Franck Ribéry is available however, and he will be leaned heavily upon to add to his two assists in support of lone frontman Simeon Nwankwo. At right-back, Albanian international Frédéric Veseli has had an odd career, starting out on the books of Manchester City and taking in loan spells at Port Vale and the now defunct Bury before working his way up in Italy and switching allegiances from Switzerland to Shqiponjat. More pertinently, he will have his hands full coming up against Ivan Perišić, even if the latter has lost a yard of pace. He cannot allow his man to glide past him unchecked, or it will be an area that will be exploited time and again.
On me Ed, son
Simeone Inzaghi has only three players out of contention for I Nerazzurri, and that includes Christian Eriksen, who has not yet had the go-ahead from doctors to resume training. Edin Džeko was rested in the routine and handsome win over Cagliari, and will relish being thrust back into the thick of it against a leaky backline completely shot of confidence. Far from fading into the background at 35, the Bosnian striker has had a new lease of life since his move from Roma, hitting 11 goals across the league and Europe this term. Perišić and Denzell Dumfries will be supplying the ammunition out wide for him, whilst Lautaro Martínez, also already in double figures, will rove around the spearhead, running into spaces vacated by his opponents and freed up by his partner.
Christmas is black and blue
With only two fixtures including this week's before the Christmas mini-break, it's difficult to see anyone toppling Inter temporarily from the tree, including fierce rivals AC Milan. Salernitana will do their utmost to at least make things difficult on Friday in the early exchanges, but this ought to be another triumph by a wide margin for the visitors. Parimatch have odds of 5.00 for Džeko to be plunderer in chief, scoring at least twice.