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18 Down, 1 to Go

Internazionale get back after it on Wednesday in one of those midweek matchdays that, after its played, will seem like it never really happened. There’s something about the Saturday buildup followed by the posticipo cool down that I enjoy and always makes these rounds feel a little odd. It also crept up on me so I’m going to have to do a real quick tablesetter here. Despite the fact that Champions League angst will over shadow the next two matches, the Nerazzurri welcome the only Serie A team they don't yet own a win over, Udinese, to the San Siro in search of what would be consecutive victory #18. It’s hard to really put it into perspective until you realize that the last team to take points off of them in the league was Udinese, in October. Clearly, the whole "beat every team in the league" thing is a bigger deal to me than anyone else as I continue to artificially add suspense to Serie A. If they’re able to get the job done, it will be without the suspended Dejan Stankovic.

The pink pages of La Gazzetta say Inter will look like this:
Julio Cesar; Maicon, Burdisso, Materazzi, Grosso; Zanetti, Dacourt, Solari, Figo; Crespo, Ibrahimovic

Tough to dissect Inter’s lineups here because it’s all building to maximum fitness for whatever Mancini’s eventual formation will be in Spain. So questions over Burdisso/Cordoba, Maxwell/Grosso, Crespo/Cruz/Adri, seem kind of moot.

The paper lines Udinese up this way:
De Sanctis; Zapata, Natali, Coda, Motta; Pinzi, Obodo, Muntari, Dossena; Asamoah, Di Natale

No Iaquinta here as the Italian international is injured. Also, it’s obvious that Malesani is trying to bring this squad back into some semblance of equilibrium, as the last time we saw them they were playing in a 4-2-4.

Udinese have been something of a bogey team for Inter, with Inter putting in some abysmal performances in Udine. Though Inter have won the last two playings of this fixture at San Siro, Udinese won the two prior to that. October’s scoreless draw was not the classic nil-nil as the game was extremely entertaining with both teams missing good chances, and Inter cracking the woodwork. I would expect to see more of the same as Udinese come in off of a wild 3-3 draw with Parma and, with 31 points, in the middle of that Euro jumble.

No live American TV for this game, but TLN will have it north of the border. RAI International will either replay it at 8 Wednesday night (eastern) or 8 Thursday morning, depending on if you believe my TIVO or the internet.

Prediction: I went through a phase where I thought we would drop points every week because I didn't believe we could keep this thing going for as long as we have. I'm tired of looking pessimistic and stupid though and don’t think Udinese can slow us down. They probably grab a goal at some point, but the Black and Blue Express keeps rolling… I hate predicting scores so I’ll go with the scoreline of last year’s meeting- 3-1, good guys.