It has been an excellent first half to the season for Inter Milan since the arrival of Antonio Conte in the summer. The club finds themselves locked in a title fight with Juventus, with both of the Italian giants locked on the same number of points. Inter are the current leaders of the division on goal difference, but with the second half of the season about to get into full swing, should Conte now prioritise the league over the Europa League?
Inter dropped into the secondary European competition after finishing third in their Champions League group behind Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. Inter have been drawn against Ludogorets in the round of 32 stage of the Europa League, but that could be an ideal chance to rest players that have already played a lot of football this season.
Romelu Lukaku has taken to the Serie A like fish to water. He has already scored 14 goals this season in his 18 appearances and has averaged 3.1 shots per goal in the league. It is clear to see why Conte was so adamant that he wanted to bring the 26-year-old to the club, as he is the focal point for all of their attacks.
He has also formed an immediate relationship with Laurtaro Martinez, which has helped Inter score the third-highest number of goals in the league. Lazio and Atalanta only eclipse their tally of 39 goals in 18 games. Martinez has scored nine goals this season and has also caught the eye of many of the top clubs around Europe. It looks unlikely that he will be leaving the club any time soon, however.
Inter’s defensive record has been the factor to separate themselves from the rest, as they have only conceded 15 goals this campaign. Diego Godin has been a brilliant signing for the club, as they look a much classy outfit when he is on the field. He makes an average of 1.8 tackles per game in the league and makes an average of 2.5 clearances per match.
If they can continue this form, then it would seem inevitable that they will end their ten-year wait for a Serie A title. Inter have been made to watch Juventus’ dominance in the league as they needed to rebuild from their famous treble-winning side under Jose Mourinho. But, no club has come as close as Inter this season as breaking that eight-year dominance.
Conte will be aware of how close they are, and that has been reflected in the soccer odds. If they were to use the Europa League to rest their star players throughout the second half of the season, then they would immediately have an advantage over Juventus, as the Old Lady will be playing their stars as they look to secure their first Champions League title in 24 years. Under Conte, they have a manager that has the pedigree of winning Serie A, and that experience will be vital if they are to end their wait for an Italian title.