League leaders Inter Milan aim to embark on another long winning run on Saturday, as they welcome lowly Venezia to San Siro.
Having seen their eight-match Serie A success streak ended by a goalless draw last weekend, the Nerazzurri went on to progress in the Coppa Italia, while their Venetian visitors salvaged a first point of the year in their clash with Empoli.
Though only two points ahead of their Rossoneri rivals in the table – with a game still in hand – Inter have continued to rack up a series of statistics to back up their claim to be supreme rulers of Serie A.
In fact, their last home defeat in the league came against Milan in October 2020, and the champions are currently unbeaten in 27 home matches in the top flight – winning 24 times during that formidable spell.
Furthermore, under Simone Inzaghi, Inter have become renowned for adding a free-scoring streak to the ruthless game plan instilled by former boss Antonio Conte, with a half-century of goals already reached and no side scoring more in the last half-hour of matches this term (18).
They have not relied on a single source to propel them towards a successful defence of their title either, as seven of Inter’s last eight Serie A strikes have been netted by different players – and just two by forwards. Indeed, wing-back Denzel Dumfries has scored more than once for the club during that run, in a period where they have also proved almost impenetrable at the back.
Following last weekend’s 0-0 draw versus Atalanta, the Nerazzurri have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last eight league games, a spell in which they have conceded only one goal. To put that into context, that is as many shut-outs as they had managed in their previous 25 top-flight fixtures.
Not only have Inter been flying serenely through the challenges that Serie A presents, they have also enjoyed significant cup success in recent days, dramatically beating old rivals Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana before making it through to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals with another extra-time victory – this time at Empoli’s expense.
To surpass Conte’s achievements at San Siro, the double must now be Inzaghi’s aim – and his side also remain contenders for the Champions League – so taking one more step towards the title will be on his mind on Saturday, when they face a promoted team they beat 2-0 in November’s reverse fixture.
Venezia coach Paolo Zanetti on September 22, 2021© Reuters
By contrast with Inter’s irrepressible form, Venezia have not won any of their last eight league games – picking up only three points in the process. No team in Serie A has collected fewer since the end of November, as they have slid closer to the trapdoor back to Calcio’s second tier.
Having started the year with a 3-0 home defeat against Scudetto-chasing Milan, swiftly followed by a Coppa Italia exit to Atalanta, the 17th-placed side at least stopped the rot by securing a point against Empoli last weekend, as David Okereke found a 73rd-minute equaliser having come on as a first-half substitute.
Still just two points above the drop zone – though with a game in hand over most of their relegation rivals – the Lagunari’s last victory anywhere was in the second round of the cup last month, when they beat Serie B outfit Ternana 3-1 on home soil.
Having just returned to the elite following two decades away, the Arancioneroverdi have continued to invest in new recruits over the past weeks, with former Manchester United winger Nani recently joining Bayern Munich midfielder Michael Cuisance at the Penzo, and setting up Okereke’s goal with one of his first touches since returning to Italy.
Before they undertake perhaps their toughest assignment of the season on Sunday, though, Paolo Zanetti’s men have won just two away matches since their promotion back to the big time, and history is not on their side either: the club’s only success against Inter in Milan came as long ago as 1943.