After a nervy fixture against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, Barcelona face Inter in a hotly-anticipated away game in the Champions League. Barcelona are in good form with Luis Suarez the star man currently, but it’s a known fact they can struggle away from home in the tournament, particularly in Italy. Luciano Spalletti has Inter performing exceptionally well in Serie A, challenging Juventus for top spot. We won the last time we played, a reassuring 2-0 victory but it’s fair to say this fixture could go either way. So let’s have a look at the three things Barcelona need to do to win against Inter.
Step up the attack
It’s no secret that Barcelona have struggled in away fixtures and Saturday’s game against Rayo Vallecano highlighted that. With Inter conceding the least goals in Serie A, a mere six, Barcelona need to step up their attack. Arthur and Ivan Rakitic need to make sure they supply passes that penetrate the Inter defence. Spalletti’s men have also shown vulnerability defensively against skillful players and Ousmane Dembele can take advantage, if he starts. Luis Suarez is in top form, so is Jordi Alba, while Coutinho has six goals and four assists in his last 10 Champions League outings. Let’s hope Barcelona can maintain their current momentum and score the goals needed to win this fixture.
Man mark Icardi till the last moment
Mauro Icardi is admired by the Inter faithful to the core and is one of the best strikers on the planet. Mauro has always taken full advantage of any kind of sloppiness by scoring world class bangers. Inter like to cross the ball often and, with Icardi being the target man, they are successful in converting chances. Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet have to step up their game as Inter also pose a set piece threat, 25 per cent of their total goals scored have come through set pieces. Inter have won just two of 11 fixtures against Barcelona in European competition, and if the visitors can neutralise Icardi, they will take a big step towards victory.
Deny Inter space and intercept passes
With the likes of Radja Nainggolan, Matias Vecino, Roberto Gagliardini and more recently Joao Mario, Inter’s midfield always contributes goals. They like to play with width, attack down the left flank and convert maximum chances, so stopping them requires giving them less space and making the most of possession. Barcelona can look to neutralise them by intercepting passes, which is possible as Inter are prone to a losing possession amidst their intense playing style.
Although they are away from home, Barcelona can be confident of getting a win. They have shown winning qualities all season, coming from behind to win matches and making the substitutions required to change the course of games. Both teams are on a good run of form domestically, but a win on Italian soil for Barcelona will add more belief to their Champions League hopes.