For the first time in over a decade, Barcelona may not win a single trophy this season. It’s not quite time to press the panic button, but it’s certainly time for Barca fans to start worrying. The La Liga betting favorites at the start of the season are in sixth place in the standings, and superstar Lionel Messi has been sidelined by two separate injuries. If they fail to get the full three points at home against Inter Milan on Wednesday, the unthinkable is suddenly in play. Barcelona might actually miss out on the knockout rounds of the Champions League for the first time in almost two decades.
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- Barcelona vs. Inter Milan
- Date and Time: October 2, 2019, 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
- US Television Coverage: TNT
- Betting Line: Barcelona -1, O/U 3
Inter Milan are in great shape domestically. They are the only club in Serie A to win every match thus far this campaign and Inter may finally unseat Juventus as Italy’s champion. Of course, there’s a long way to go, but the early returns have been promising. Inter have outscored their opponents 10-1, and the lone goal they surrendered was on the road against Cagliari. They defeated both AC Milan and Lazio, putting them in great shape ahead of next Sunday’s clash with The Old Lady in the San Siro.
European play has not gone as well for Inter. They were heavy favorites per the Champions League betting odds at home against Slavia Praha two weeks ago, but they were forced to scratch and claw for a 1-1 draw. The visitors were bold and daring on the attack, and Slavia Praha were eventually rewarded for their efforts with a 63rd minute goal from Peter Olayinka. Super sub Nicolo Barella had to respond with an ugly goal in stoppage time to save Inter from total embarrassment.
Barcelona have yet to win a match away from home this season. A 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao is not much of a surprise considering the difficulty of playing in Bilbao, but a road draw against Osasuna was stunning and a 2-0 loss to Granada last weekend sent shockwaves throughout La Liga.
Those difficulties away from Camp Nou have extended into the Champions League, and Barca were forced to settle for a draw against Borussia Dortmund two weeks ago. Barcelona could only put one shot on frame in a 0-0 draw, and Marc-Andre ter Stegen had to step up and save a penalty to grab a point.
Inter Milan have no players listed on their injury report, but Barcelona are not so fortunate. Samuel Umtiti and Jordi Alba are set to miss this match due to injury, and Messi is questionable after picking up a thigh injury and coming off early against Villarreal. Barca’s talisman has already missed four matches this year due to a calf injury.
Barcelona Player to Watch
Frenkie de Jong was brought in to be Messi’s eventual replacement, but the time might be now for the young Dutch international to step forward. He showed plenty of creativity with Ajax last year, and he has yet to show the same quality at the Camp Nou.
Inter Milan Player to Watch
Romelu Lukaku is the striker that Inter have wanted for quite some time. Lukaku came over from Manchester United, and he has given this attack some punch after the Mauro Icardi debacle last year. He has netted three goals in five games, linking up well with Lautaro Martinez.
The status of Messi will have a huge impact on the soccer betting odds for this match, so keep an eye out for updates regarding his situation. If he is healthy and plays, I believe Barcelona win the match, but if he is limited or out, Inter will earn a result.
Champions League Prediction: Barcelona 1, Inter Milan 1
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