Hi Offsiders and welcome to the brand-spanking-new Internazionale blog. My name is Mike and I’ll be one of the bloggers that will be guiding you all through the ups and downs of supporting the black and blue. Thanks to Bob for setting me up here and letting me share my thoughts.
I’ll get further in depth about the season in the days and weeks to come, but for now I’ll start with an expanded rant about Wednesday night’s thoroughly disappointing Champions League result. The Nerazzurri were left with a tough hill to climb after the 2-2 draw. How bad did it get? When did you ever think you would see Javier Zanetti getting booked for diving in the area late in a game?
I was actually feeling naively confident for most of the run-up to this match, but started to get a weird, feeling of impending doom after they announced the Patrick Viera injury and had butterflies in my stomach by the time kickoff came. You got the feeling the bounces weren’t going to go our way when that bizarre ball bounced off of Ibrahimovic’s back didn’t find its way into the net, but nonetheless this game should have been killed in the first half. We had a number of chances, Zlatan’s header, Crespo getting his foot on a few balls. Ultimately, though, we just couldn’t land the knockout punch early and couldn't hold on to the game late.
Credit to Valencia, they played a good second half, made plays when they needed to, and they got their result. Villa’s free kick was absolutely filthy (would have totally sent Lille walking off the field). I thought Dacourt got all ball on the foul, but sometimes those calls go against you. The guests certainly made a statement, and unfortunately so did we I think. As much as we might not want to look at it, that’s seven CL games this year, we haven’t been particularly impressive in any of them. I’ve always thought that fans shouldn’t get too carried away with the CL until you’ve won a string of domestic titles but with the situation in Serie A this year, it’s clear that Inter are not going to get the respect they deserve for this incredible string of results. While I think it’s unfair and makes me a little angry, we’ve had chances to do something about it and failed. With everything going on in Italy its crucial that we go through. I find myself rooting hard for Roma and even you-know-who just to silence the critics who love to kick the Italian game when it’s down.
There were definitely some interesting lineup choices by Mancini. With Viera out, I wasn’t surprised to see Figo get the nod in the midfield as Valencia’s defence has struggled in the air this year. It turned out to be a good move as Luigi drew the free kick and supplied the cross that Cambiasso (from an offside position) put in for Inter’s first score. He also cleared a ball off the line to save a goal. I think you’ll see more of Burdisso at left back, Maxwell on the bench, and World Cup hero Fabio Grosso in the stands as the season goes on, as Nico has been that good.
The big one though, unless there’s an injury that I (and La Gazzetta) don’t know of, obviously was Crespo up front instead of Adriano. Mancio went with the stability of the poacher over the individual and inconsistent brilliance of the Brazilian. And Cruz off the bench?? Let the second guessing begin. This has been a funny year as we’ve clearly smothered the title race with our ridiculous depth, but there’s always been a question about who would be fielded with the season on the line. We’ll find out for sure on the 6th of March. One thing about the Inter-Valencia ties of the last few years I will say, though, is that the game at the Mestalla has always been the more memorable. Hopefully, that will hold true again.