The Via Del Mare stadium’s creaky old stands will be made to tremble once more on Sunday afternoon as local side Lecce take on Inter Milan hoping to carry on where they left off against Fiorentina and Chievo.
Inter, for their part, are recovering from a second defeat to Napoli this season but have still much to be pleased about, as Claudio Ranieri’s footballing equivalent of a ten-week “get buff” fitness programme has seen his side rise from the ashes and threaten the elite once more.
Though the scoreline reflected the fact that Inter Milan have shipped five against Napoli this season (for no goals), they aren’t likely to pay too much heed to their defeat in midweek.
The worryingly poor football they produced in the first half, as well as their evident lack of ambition, is consistent only with their performances against most of the big sides this season, with the exception of the Milan Derby and their home defeat to Juventus.
Claudio Ranieri has proven an expert at grinding out points with a series of unattractive displays against smaller teams.
Expect, in short, a gutsy performance, with Inter likely to prevail by a small margin, say 1-0, which looks the most likely outcome at 23/4.
The Milanese outfit have already prevailed by this scoreline on five occasions this season, most notably against local rivals AC Milan two weeks ago.
The Nerazzurri will have to work hard to stifle their opponents’ offensive drive: so far, Lecce’s furiously intense football under Serse Cosmi has seen them take points off Fiorentina and peg Juventus back in their own half for a good part of their 1-0 defeat here at the Via Del Mare.
Their chances should not be underestimated. If a side as mentally tough as the Old Lady barely won here, why should Inter be 7/10 favourites?
A lot rides on whether the Nerazzurri can take an early lead, in which case they’ll likely repeat their performances against Milan, Cesena and Genoa, in which a disorganised opponent’s increasingly frantic attacks will simply crash into the Samuel-Lucio barrier.
Were the Apulians to net first, on the other hand, this game could lose any semblance of reality, as Milan proved here in that incredible 4-3 win.
Notice how four goals or more in the game as a whole are quoted at a miserly 2/1.
Inter might lose hope (not to mention shape), making a Lecce win seem palatable at 4/1.
Nevertheless, the smart money remains on a narrow Inter win, with an away success with under 2.5 goals at 29/10.
Turning to the scorers, the one name on everybody’s lips, Diego Milito, with four goals in as many encounters, is surely the favourite to score first at 5/1.
Muriel is slowly starting to take on the pressure his team’s position in the table entails, and is just as likely to drag his team by the scruff of the neck once more.
A long shot would be to back Maicon to make a difference: having recently renewed his contract, the Brazilian’s form has been on the up these past few weeks. Whoever remembers his penetrating runs under Jose Mourinho would do well not to underestimate his chances of scoring at any time, priced at 6/1.
New customers can register here to claim their free £25 bet or click here to see all our Serie A odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting