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Serie A: Conte Makes His Homecoming in Lecce

Lecce vs Inter Milan

Antonio Conte will make a homecoming of sorts as Inter Milan will visit Lecce at the Stadio Comunale Via del Mare in their upcoming Serie A match this weekend.

This fixture will commence the Nerazzurri’s three-game schedule where they will face struggling teams as they try to overtake Juventus in the Serie A standings.

Inter Milan were level with Juventus last week. But a draw against Atalanta and a masterful win by Juventus had them trailing by two points.

Lazio are still making their case as perennial contenders by placing third with 42 points while Atalanta and AS Roma are level with 35 points.

Lecce, on the other hand, are placed 17th at the table, and they have been relegation candidates for quite some time now. The Salentini have yet to win since the start of December last year.

 

Talking points

Lecce fighting off relegation

Lecce haven’t made a good account for themselves after going back to top-flight status for this campaign. The Salentini so far have only won three times so far this season.

The team has not produced a lot Serie A 2020 highlights because of their lacklustre play. However, they were able to notch some good performances under their belt.

After suffering a shellacking at the hands of Inter Milan to start the season, I Salentini scored an upset against a Torino team who was still struggling to find its form as Diego Farias and Marco Mancosu netted one goal each to secure the victory.

Other than that, they surprisingly scored a draw against Juventus with a 1-1 tally back in October when Mancosu once again rose to the occasion. He is, after all, their top attacking threat with five goals this term.

He and Gianluca Lapadula will do the heavy lifting for their attack. But I don’t envy them one bit especially since they’ll face a vaunted squad in Inter who are loaded on all fronts.

It doesn’t help either when their defence fails to inspire. They are currently second to the last in goals conceded with 38 so far.

You can’t really blame team manager Fabio Liverani for his team’s downward spiral. And given their mediocre history and uninspired play, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ll be relegated again come season’s end.

Antonio Conte will inflict more pain to his hometown

Romelu Lukaku is keen to help his side reach the top of the Serie A table
Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku fires a shot during a Serie A match against Genoa

Antonio Conte’s relationship with the city of Lecce has been well-documented as a love-hate affair, and it’s expected that he will be greeted by boos and jeers come Sunday.

The decorated manager, after all, will just continue to add more problems to what has been a season to forget for Lecce.

The Lecce native is known as a relentless competitor and he will stop at nothing as he tries to bring glory back to Inter Milan. In fact, his ambition to achieve the unprecedented has inspired his players to some of the best seasons of their careers.

“He has a special way of doing things and has taught us so much from his first day in charge. He has convinced us all to give our best and the results are there for all to see,” remarked striker Lautaro Martinez.

As they try to prevent Juventus to win their eighth straight title, the Nerazzurri were particularly aggressive in adding reinforcements. They’ve brought in Christian Eriksen to complement what they already have up front with Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku.

At the same time, there were also rumours that they are keen on signing the likes of Manchester United’s Ashley Young and Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud via transfers.

They did, however, endure a small setback when they drew level against Atalanta. But with their strong mental fortitude and no-nonsense demeanor, Conte’s side should come out firing on all cylinders come this weekend.

 

History

Inter Milan have been nothing short of dominant against Lecce in their aggregate head-to-head matchup as they’ve won 14 out of their 21 matches. Lecce have won four times along with three draws.

Lecce’s last win against Inter dates way back to 2012 with a 1-0 score. Since then, Lecce have only scored three goals in their past few Serie A fixtures against Inter Milan.

The Salentini are in danger of having their first five-game losing streak in Serie A since November 2005. They are winless in their last 12 home matches in the league (D4, L8).

 

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