Can Inter Milan end eight-year trophy wait with Coppa Italia?
Background image: oscar federico bodini, CC BY-SA 2.0
The last time Inter Milan won a trophy was the Coppa Italia back in 2011. It came after Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning achievement in 2010. Since then, the Nerazzurri have struggled to have any say both in Italian and European football as far as challenging for silverware is concerned. Last season's qualification for the Champions League brought a ray of hope as things are now looking a bit promising in Milan.
However, Juventus has now become unstoppable in the league. With six consecutive Scudetto wins, the Turin side has reigned supreme over the opposition. Winning the Coppa Italia as well, for the last four years, means the dominance has been total as far as Italian football is concerned. With an 11-point gap over second-placed Napoli already in the league after 21 games, it's already clear where the Scudetto is heading to again this term.
For a side that has been so dominant for several years now, adding Cristiano Ronaldo to the team has made for an overkill. Although the former Manchester United and Real Madrid talisman is not in Italy just for the Scudetto, that is still the starting point. So the situation on the league table comes as no surprise.
At the moment, Inter is not one of the contenders for the league title this season. Although sitting third in the standings, the table-toppers Juve have a 19-point lead over the Milan side. It is understandable then that the club is giving a serious fight for the Coppa Italia - that is where there is a realistic chance or securing silverware on the domestic front this term.
The manner in which the side breezed into the quarter-final of the competition tells as much. The Nerazzurri are in killer mode. A 6-2 whitewash of Serie B side Benevento to progress to the next round made a clear statement of intent.
Quarter-final opponents Lazio will, however, not be an easy nut to crack. The Biancocelesti have ambitions of their own to lift the trophy again having been the last team to win the Coppa aside from Juventus back in 2013. But with two comfortable victories against the Rome-based side in their last two league meetings and also playing at home, Inter will most likely carry the day.
Now that neighbours AC Milan already through after dispatching Napoli 2-0 on Tuesday, Inter will do everything necessary to also progress. Lazio, who have not been in the best of form recently, will definitely not be an insurmountable obstacle.
Luciano Spalletti is carrying out a rebuilding job. And after returning to the Champions League last term, a trophy in the cabinet this campaign will represent real progress. The club has a good chance to do just that. With Juventus facing Atalanta and Fiorentina squaring up against Roma, the last four will emerge today. From here on anything is possible.
Inter’s squad is good enough to withstand any opposition including holders Juventus. Focus on the Champions League could be a huge distraction for the Bianconeri as winning the competition has become somewhat of an obsession for Maximiliano Allegri's side. Having come so close in recent campaigns, everything will be put into the project this time around. That could very much work in Inter Milan's favour as the Old Lady could be distracted.
Although Spaletti's men will also have the Europa League to worry about, the Coppa still presents a good opportunity for silverware this season. Key players like Milan Skriniar in defence, Marcelo Brozovic in midfield and captain Mauro Icardi upfront will prove invaluable in this regard.