This will be one of the biggest games in Southampton’s history when they travel to San Siro tonight to face Italian giants Inter Milan in an away game in the Europa League group stage. Southampton sit jointly at the top of Group K after beating Sparta Prague and drawing with Hapoel Be’er Sheva, while Inter are rock-bottom after losing to both the same opponents. Frank de Boer will be a concerned man now after having an underwhelming start to his tenure at Inter despite spending a fortune in the transfer market.
Southampton are unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions. They have conceded just one goal during this period which was against Burnley last week in the Premier League. Inter’s ongoing struggle this season makes them underdogs for the clash even though the match is on their home soil. Claude Puel’s boys can realistically add further woes to de Boer’s side.
Geoffrey Kondogbia and Joao Mario are unavailable for the Italian side. Skipper Mauro Icardi has been involved in a row with the fans but de Boer is likely to opt for the Argentine in his starting eleven.
Puel will have to cope with injuries to his first-choice full-backs on Thursday night. Cedric Soares, Jeremy Pied, Ryan Bertrand and Matt Targett are all absent, meaning Cuco Martina and Sam McQueen are likely to start in the two full-back positions. This will be a big night for 21-year-old Sam McQueen who is in line for his first start for the Saints and that too at the iconic San Siro. Club record signing Sofiane Boufal is set to make his debut for the English club after coming back from an injury. Nathan Redmond, a catalyst to Southampton’s recent good form, has not traveled to Milan.
Inter Milan: Handanovic; Santon, Murillo, Miranda, Ansaldi; Medel, Brozovic; Candreva, Banega, Perisic, Icardi
Southampton: Forster; Martina, Fonte, van Dijk, McQueen; Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Clasie, Tadic; Boufal, Austin
Inter Milan- Marcelo Brozovic
The Croatian midfield dynamo is set to return to the starting XI with Mario and Kondogbia both out and will be looking to prove his worth after being frozen out since the defeat to Hapoel Be’er Sheva in September.
Southampton- Charlie Austin
Austin is right now in the form of his life having scored seven goals from nine games in all competitions this season. The Englishman will be looking to find the net once again at one of the most iconic stadiums in the world.
Inter Milan – 6/4
Southampton – 19/10
Draw – 12/5