MILAN – For the first time, Antonio Conte’s men are set to take to the pitch as Champions after securing the Club’s 19th Scudetto title: up next for the Nerazzurri is a home match against Ranieri’s Sampdoria. Inter, who have the best defence and second-best attack (alongside Napoli) in the league, currently sit on 82 points. The Blucerchiati, meanwhile, have won three of their last four matches and currently find themselves in ninth on 45 points.
INTER VS. SAMPDORIA, PREVIOUS ENCOUNTERS IN SERIE A
Saturday’s match will be the 128th time that Inter and Sampdoria have met in Serie A, with the Nerazzurri’s record against the Blucerchiati reading as follows: 69 wins, 37 draws and 21 defeats.
Inter have lost just one of their last 18 Serie A fixtures against Sampdoria at San Siro (1-2 in April 2017). Twelve wins and five draws complete the picture.
Inter and Sampdoria haven’t drawn in the league since October 2015 (1-1). Since then, there have been seven Nerazzurri wins and three Blucerchiati victories. In each of the past five Serie A meetings between Inter and Sampdoria at San Siro, both sides have found the net: 18 goals have been scored, an average of 3.6 per match.
STATE OF PLAY
Inter are heading into the match at San Siro as the Champions of Italy, a feat they achieved with four games to spare (the last time the Nerazzurri won the league with more matchdays to go was in 2006/07 – five in that case). Conte’s team have won the most fixtures during the current Serie A campaign, both as a whole and at home (25 and 14 respectively). The Nerazzurri have also suffered the fewest defeats (two) and have the best defence in the division (29 goals conceded).
After losing to Sampdoria earlier on in the season, Inter have since gone on an 18-game unbeaten run in the Italian top flight (W14, D4). The Nerazzurri haven’t done better than this since February 2008 (31 matches without defeat back then). Conte’s men could win their 14th consecutive fixture at home for the first time in their history in Serie A. Their winning run at San Siro currently stands at 13 games, the same feat they achieved in May 2011.
Sampdoria have emerged victorious from three of their last four league fixtures (L1), as many wins as they’d picked up in their previous twelve (D4, L5). The Blucerchiati currently sit ninth on 45 points after 34 matches (W13, D6, L15). After beating Roma in their last match, they’re mathematically safe from relegation (14 points clear of third-bottom Benevento).
Milan Skriniar, made his Serie A debut for Sampdoria and went on to make 38 appearances for the club between 2016 and 2017.
Andrea Ranocchia also once wore the Sampdoria shirt, playing 14 times during the second half of the 2015/16 campaign. Daniele Padelli, meanwhile, never featured for the Blucerchiati in Serie A.
The only Inter players to have featured in all 34 of the Nerazzurri’s matches this season are Samir Handanovic and Lautaro Martinez. Out of all the outfield players who have made at least 20 appearances, Alessandro Bastoni is the only one to have started every single game he’s been involved in (30/30).
Since Conte’s arrival at Inter (ahead of the 2019/20 campaign), Romelu Lukaku (44) and Lautaro Martinez (29) have scored 73 goals between them in the league. Only two teams can boast at having a more prolific pair of players in the Top 5 European leagues in the same period: Bayern Munich (91: Lewandowski and Gnabry) and Barcelona (74: Messi and Griezmann).
Lukaku, who has 21 goals to his name this season, has also provided ten assists: he’s the first player to find the net at least 20 times and set up a teammate to score on at least ten occasions in a single Serie A season since 2004/05. He’s also broken the deadlock in nine matches, more than any other player.
The Nerazzurri are the team that have had the most players score at least three goals this Serie A season (nine): Lukaku, Lautaro, Hakimi, Sanchez, Skriniar, Darmian, Perisic, D’Ambrosio and Barella.
Antonio Conte and Claudio Ranieri have never drawn against each other in five previous meetings in the Italian top flight: the current Nerazzurri Coach has won three and lost two against his Italian counterpart. Antonio Conte has been a coach for 199 matches in the Italian top flight: in the three-points-per-win era, he could become the tactician with the most wins in their first 200 matches in Serie A (he currently has 135 victories to his name).