A month into the season, things were looking rosy for Inter. Playing freely under new coach Walter Mazzarri, the Nerazzurri were unbeaten and flying high, looking every inch the candidates for at least Champions League qualification. In their previous match, they'd held reigning champions Juventus to a 1-1 draw in the Derby D'Italia and ran through Serie A new boys Sassuolo, emerging 7-0 victors with goals for Diego Milito, Rodrigo Palacio and Ricky Álvarez, the latter relishing playing under Mazzarri. Fast forward five months and things are no longer looking so rosy. Inter Milan are yet to record a victory in five matches in 2014, managing to score just twice as the usually-reliable Palacio and Milito have begun to struggle in front of goal. One crumb of comfort for Inter is that the two points they have managed to record since the turn of the year have been against sides in the bottom five in the league, and with Sassuolo firmly entrenched in the relegation places maybe Inter will feel that this is the ideal opportunity to get their season back on track.
Despite sitting second-bottom in the league, Sassuolo have managed to record more points than Inter since the turn of the year, although they all came in a sensational 4-3 victory over AC Milan, which eventually led to their coach Max Allegri being shown the door. That aside, Sassuolo's form has been poor, losing seven of their last eight league matches, including potentially crucial encounters with fellow strugglers Chievo and Livorno. During November they looked to have finally got their season on track when they went four matches unbeaten however regrettably their form has taken a nosedive and they once again find themselves in the relegation places. This truly is a match between two woefully out-of-form sides and as a result each will see it as an opportunity to build any kind of momentum, Sassuolo for their fight against relegation, and Inter to secure European football for next season.
Inter will be without Esteban Cambiasso and Ricky Álvarez who join Cristian Chivu and McDonald Mariga on the sidelines. Sassuolo's Pedro Mendes is suspended, whilst Francesco Maganelli and Francesco Acerbi are out through injury and question marks hang over Luca Antei and Marcello Gazzola.
Inter injuries and suspensions
Out: Ricky Álvarez, Esteban Cambiasso, Cristian Chivu, McDonald Mariga (injured).
Sassuolo injuries and suspensions
Inter: Handanović, Campagnaro, Rolando, Juan Jesus, Jonathan, Kuzmanović, Taïder, Nagatomo, Kovačić, Botta, Palacio
Sassuolo: Pegolo, Manfredini, Cannavaro, Ziegler, Rosi, Brighi, Marrone, Biondini, Sansone, Berardi, Floccari
Match date/time: Sunday 9th February 2014, 20:45 local, 14:45 E.T.
Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan
TV: Sky Calcio 1, Premium Calcio (Italy); beIN Sport, RAI Internazionale (USA); BT Sport 2 (UK).