Inter Milan meet FC Porto at the San Siro stadium for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. It was a surprise to many that Inter qualified from their group ahead of Barcelona. Porto eventually did well to win their respective group which contained the likes of Atletico Madrid and Leverkusen, in addition to surprise package Club Brugge. Both of these teams will feel this is an excellent chance to reach the quarter finals of the competition.
I’ve picked apart the number from both sides’ domestic campaign and compiled them below to give you the best chance at landing a winning bet builder. I’d suggest using the numbers alongside my Stats Pack Guide, it’s a great tool if you’re unsure as to how to make the most out of the stats.
Argentinian World Cup winner Lautaro Martinez was rested at the weekend and should come straight back into the Inter team. Romelu Lukaku might just edge out Edin Dzeko to play alongside him.
The Inter squad is generally in good condition with only Joaquin Correa a confirmed injury. The Inter tactic is a 3-5-2 system which Simone Inzaghi has employed throughout this season.
Porto have all sorts of injury problems heading into the game. The quartet of Evanilson, Cardoso, Veron and Meixedo are all likely ruled out. There are also doubts surrounding Mateus Uribe and Galeno. Striker Toni Martinez got injured at the weekend and could also not feature.
This means that Danny Namaso might come into the side upfront alongside Taremi, whilst Andre Franco might get a rare start on the right wing. Manager Sergio Conceicao has been employing a 4-4-2 system a lot recently although may adopt a 4-3-1-2 or 4-3-3.
Inter average 1.91 goals per game and just 1.17 goals against. This correlates very closely to their xG and xGA numbers. They average nearly 16 shots per game and exactly 5 SOT in each fixture. They’ve restricted their opponents to just 3.52 SOT against them per 90 mins.
It is noticeable that Inter have conceded very few corners this season at just 3.70 per game. They have obtained 5.52 which is only a mediocre figure considering they currently sit 2nd in Serie A. Cards have been high in Inter games with their opponents averaging 2.61 and Inter themselves being no saints, picking up close to an average of 2 cards per game.
Porto average 2.29 goals per game and just 0.57 against. Their xG and xGA numbers are also impressive, but these numbers are from domestic matches and the Portuguese League does contain several poor teams which will help inflate these metrics. Porto average 16.38 shots per game and just 8.71 against. They fire in nearly 6 SOT in each fixture which is quite impressive.
Corners have been low in Porto games. Their wide players tend to play inverted, and they’ve only obtained 5.52 corners in each fixture. Cards have been astronomically high in their games. Porto themselves average 2.05 per match whilst their opponents average a huge 4.10. This is something to consider, although in Europe things can be different.
Player shots and shots on target
Lautaro Martinez averages a massive 4.17 shots per 90 mins. He likes to try his luck and has a reasonable conversion rate of 1.61 SOT. Lukaku is more of a hold up target man at times, but still averages close to 2 shots per 90 mins with around 50% accuracy.
Dzeko is another player to look at in this market when he’s on the field. It is noticeable that both wingbacks Dumfries and DiMarco average 1.61 and 1.98 shots per 90 mins respectively, even if neither are especially accurate.
Mehdi Taremi averages nearly 3 shots per 90 mins for Porto. His accuracy ratio is only 1.25 though so don’t expect that many of his attempts on target. Galeno has an even higher shot rate of 3.73 but could be an injury doubt for this match.
Elsewhere, both Franco and Eustaquio average around 1.50 shots per 90 mins so could be considered in this market.
Player goals and assists
Lautaro Martinez has been brilliant for Inter this season and scored 13 goals, in addition to supplying 3 assists. Dzeko has 7 goals and Lukaku just a couple but from significantly less appearances.
The leading assist provider is Barella (5), and he has also netted five goals. Left wing back DiMarco has three goals and two assists.
Mehdi Taremi has been a beast for Porto this season and has scored 11 goals. He’s also supplied 5 assists and will be a key man for them here. He’s netted an additional five goals in the Champions League this campaign. Galeno has 8 goals but might be injured here.
Left winger Pepe has five assists and four goals, whilst from midfield Eustaquio can be a dual scoring and assist threat. Otavio is another with decent numbers but a major fitness doubt.
Inter average 54% possession although that is a figure which drops to 48% in the Champions League. It is worth noting that they were in a group which contained both Barcelona and Bayern Munich though.
The three candidates for the most passes are Brozovic, Skriniar and Bastoni who all average over 60 passes per 90 mins.
Porto average 59% possession domestically but that figure drops to just 45% in the Champions League and even lower at 41% in European away games.
It is difficult to entirely predict how much of the ball they will get here, but several of their players average over 50 passes per 90 mins, including centre back Pepe and midfielder Grujic.
Inter Milan cards
Two obvious candidates for cards and fouls are defender Skriniar and midfielder Brozovic. Both have obtained several cards this season and average at least 1.48 fouls per 90 mins. The World Cup also demonstrated Brozovic’s intent to get stuck in on the big stage. Both Barella and Dumfries could be contenders to go into the book as well.
Both Otavio and Galeno rank high for dribbles and fouls obtained but could be doubtful with injury here. Left winger Pepe has an obvious clash with Denzel Dumfries. Pepe dribbles close to 5 times per 90 mins and is sure to cause problems.
Franco on the other Porto wing is likely to pose a challenge to Inter as well, considering he gets fouled exactly twice per game. Key striker and main man Mehdi Taremi will have to be handled, likely by Skriniar.
Matchups to watch
Milan Skriniar vs Mehdi Taremi
Marcelo Brozovic vs Stephen Eustaquio
Denzel Dumfries vs Pepe
FC Porto cards
Mehdi Taremi will press from the front and averages one foul per 90 mins. The man with the highest foul rate on this list is midfielder Eustaquio (1.84) and he will likely get sucked into some central battles. Both fullbacks Mario and Wendell could have their hands full with the Inter wing backs, whilst centre back Marcano will have to handle Lautaro Martinez.
Striker Lautaro Martinez is going to be a matchup hell for Porto. He has a high dribbling rate and fouled rate per 90 mins. The whole Porto defence will be under pressure, most probably Marcano.
Wingbacks DiMarco and Dumfries will regularly get forward causing havoc. Dumfries especially knows how to buy a few cheap free kicks. The big contender to cause problems centrally is playmaker Barella who is on average nearly fouled twice per 90 mins.
Matchups to watch
Ivan Marcano vs Lautaro Martinez
Wendell vs Denzel Dumfries
Stephen Eustaquio vs Nicola Barella
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
Could be a feisty affair this one, and there are plenty of value bet builder selections out there. I’ve used the data above, and put together a few tips that come out at 6/1. You can load them below.