Group B leaders Inter Milan head into this fixture as evens favourites to secure a victory over Ligue 1 champions Lille this evening, but the French side will take heart from Inter’s abysmal start to their Serie A campaign.
Claudio Ranieri’s side went down to their fifth league defeat of the season last weekend with a 2-1 home defeat to Juventus, just as they come up against a Lille side who have started their domestic campaign strongly and are unbeaten in 11 league matches.
Inter secured a narrow 1-0 victory in France as these two sides met on matchday three, courtesy of a Giampaolo Pazzini strike, but their form since has been inconsistent, having recorded a win, a draw and a defeat in their following three matches.
Lille in contrast have bounced back from that defeat with two wins and a draw in the league and are priced at a tempting 14/5 to secure victory this evening, while a more than achievable draw can be backed at 9/4.
Inter have also experienced difficulties when facing French opposition at home in recent times, having lost three of their last five meetings with Ligue 1 opponents, while Lille’s last visit to the San Siro resulted in a shock 2-0 victory over AC Milan in this competition in 2006/2007.
This fixture does however see the group leaders face the side occupying bottom spot, and Ranieri’s men possess a wealth of experience in this competition, as opposed to a Lille side who have won just one of their last eight games in Europe.
A repeat of Inter’s 1-0 victory two weeks ago therefore looks great value at 23/4, with the scorer that night Pazzini 5/1 favourite to grab the first goal of the game.
Odds of 18/25 for the match to involve under 2.5 goals highlight that this tie is unlikely to produce a goalfest.
Lille do, however, possess players who can cause the 2010 champions problems on the night, most notably in Joe Cole and Belgian international Eden Hazard, who has emerged as one of Europe’s hottest properties.
Cole to score at anytime in the game has been priced at 11/4, while Hazard can be backed at the shorter odds of 5/2.
Nevertheless, the Champions League has provided something of an escape for Inter following their league failures as they aim to make it three wins on the bounce in the competition, and despite their recent shortcomings, they should have just enough quality to see off Lille, albeit in narrow circumstances.
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