In the 2009-2010 season, Inter Milan became European champions under Jose Mourinho. In the same campaign, Southampton won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and finished seventh in League One. Tonight they meet and there’s every chance the English side can prevail at the San Siro.
A superb sixth-place finish last season saw Southampton waltz into the Europa League group stages, and so far Claude Puel’s men have taken to European football just fine.
The Saints sit top of Group K on four points, unbeaten and yet to concede, while Inter, for all their prestige and stature, occupy bottom spot with zero points.
It’s a reflection of the club’s fall across the last six seasons, in blinding contrast to Southampton’s rise in the same time.
Inter may have finished fourth last term, but Roberto Mancini was sacked shortly before this season began, and i Nerazzurri currently sit 11th in Serie A under Frank de Boer.
In years gone by this fixture would have seen Inter at heavy odds-on, but the bookies can make them no shorter than 13/10, having won just one of their last five fixtures in all competitions.
If that wasn’t enough to highlight Inter’s woes, striker and captain Mauro Icardi was cheered by his own fans at the weekend for missing a penalty. Icardi is at odds with the club and Inter ultras offer comments in his autobiography.
Puel’s men will head into the famous San Siro on a fine seven-game unbeaten run, and even more impressively, the Saints have conceded only once in that spell.
All this makes Southampton look wonderfully priced for a famous win at 2/1.
Puel has kept things tight since joining Southampton in the summer, with six of his side’s last eight goals coming in the second half.
A lot can change in six years, and this fixture is rock solid proof of it.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing