Barcelona regained top spot in LaLiga for the first time since June 2020 at the weekend, but there is no rest for the wicked as they head straight into a crucial Champions League tie against Serie A giants Inter on Tuesday night.
With Bayern Munich running away with the lead in Group C, victory in the fixtures between these two teams could prove decisive in seeing who qualifies for the knock-out phase of the competition and who is heading to the Europa League. This meeting at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza may well prove to be a turning point in the campaigns of both teams.
Inter Milan v Barcelona Bet Builder Tips
Barcelona to Win
Barcelona’s confidence has never been higher after regaining first position in LaLiga for the first time in over two years. Since defeat to Bayern Munich in their last European fixture, they have won back-to-back games with four goals scored and none conceded.
Xavi’s away record since taking charge at Barça is also exemplary. A 1-0 win over Mallorca on Saturday night was his 18th consecutive domestic fixture on the road without defeat, taking him only one game short of matching a 19-match record set by Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid in 2016. While the Catalans have fallen to defeat in the Champions League, most recently in Munich, they certainly won’t be daunted by travelling or facing the atmosphere that the San Siro has to offer.
What is also crucial is that Xavi was able to rest several key players, despite that win over Mallorca. Pedri and Raphinha could both return to the team after starting on the bench at the weekend, bringing attacking flair, while Barça fans will have been pleased by the impressive displays of Andreas Christensen and Gerard Piqué in defence in the Balearic Islands amid an injury crisis in the backline.
This puts Barça in an excellent position to capitalise on an Inter side who have lost two in a row to Roma and Udinese, leaving them in eighth in Serie A. With Inter having taken the lead in both of those games before going on to lose, mentality could prove decisive in separating these two teams.
Ousmane Dembélé to Assist Anytime
As impressive as Lewandowski has been, it isn’t a complete solo mission. He has a talented array of wingers who have been flanking him in Barcelona’s 4-3-3 system and Ousmane Dembélé is the one with whom he has developed the most special connection so far. Their very different skill sets have gelled perfectly, plus Dembélé is the Barcelona outfielder with whom Lewandowski has coincided the most, playing 635 minutes together so far.
Dembélé has already assisted Lewandowski twice so far this season, while the Frenchman has two other assists as well, for Pedri and for Ferran Torres. He has really improved in this area under Xavi, leading LaLiga last season with 13 assists from just 21 matches, and Dembélé has continued that into 2022/23, leading the Barça squad for shot-creating actions per game, with 6.3 per 90 minutes.
Whether it’s for Lewandowski or someone else, Dembélé is certainly the one to watch when it comes to the creation of Barcelona’s chances on Tuesday night. If the Catalan side are to take the three points back across the Mediterranean, it could be courtesy of Dembélé’s latest assist.
Robert Lewandowski to have 2+ Shots on Target
From nine appearances in a Barcelona shirt, Robert Lewandowski has managed two or more shots on target in seven. With an average of 4.6 shots per 90, and an average of 2.7 of those shots being on target, his form would suggest that the chances are that he’ll repeat that again up against Inter on Tuesday night.
He has also scored in seven of his nine games for the club, with an impressive run of seven goals in his last five, and has settled in quickly. That run has put him as the Champions League’s joint-top scorer with three goals in five games, while nobody in the competition can match his 12 shots to date.
His rapid integration is evident. The aforementioned Ousmane Dembélé has already provided him with two assists, while Ansu Fati has also shown a strong connection with two assists for Lewandowski despite only being on the same field of play for 218 minutes.
Barcelona, consequently, rely on him heavily. The Polish international accounts for 39% of their shots on target this season and 41% of the team’s expected goals. That dependence will mean that he is Barça’s main reference point in attack and will lead the line up against an Inter side who have conceded 12.27 shots per 90 this season.
In the Champions League, Inter have conceded 14.44 shots per 90 against, putting them sixth in the rankings of all 32 teams in the competition. That will have Lewandowski lipping his lips at the chance of getting several sights on goal.
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Inter Milan predicted XI (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Asllani, Calhanoglu, Dimarco; Martinez, Dzeko
Barcelona predicted XI (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Christensen, Garcia, Alba; Kessie, Busquets, Pedri; Dembele, Lewandowski, Raphinha
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How to watch Inter Milan v Barcelona in the Champions League?
📅 When is Inter Milan v Barcelona? / Tuesday, 4th October 2022, 8:00PM
🏟 Where is Inter Milan v Barcelona? / San Siro (Milan)
📺 What TV channel is Inter Milan v Barcelona on? / BT Sport 4
🟨 …And who is the referee for Inter Milan v Barcelona? / S. Vincic 🇸🇮