Serie A, Round 22
Who: Inter Milan vs. Catania
When: Sunday, February 10th 2:30 pm ET
Where: Stadio Angelo Massimino
Over the past three games it seems as if we haven't wanted to finish the game with 11 men. Almost as if it was some sort of crazy game plan. It all started during the first leg matchup verses Juventus in the Coppa Italia, when Nicolas Burdisso made a terrible last ditch effort and was sent off. Then it was Aparecido Cèsar who got two yellows in a tie verses Udinese. Then, last week Patrick Vieira joined the party and was sent off for a stupid foul, as we went on to beat Empoli. It seems as if we have become accustomed to playing with ten men. (Two ties and one win, no losses.) They may have become accustomed to it, but we haven't.
Despite their red card(s) journey, they are still the only undefeated team in the Serie A. And if you look at the standings and Catania's last five matches in Serie A (two draws and three losses), it is easy to think that Inter will stay undefeated. But don't be fooled, the road to success will not be as easy for Inter as you may think. At home, Catania have only given up 5 goals in 10 games and have lost only twice. Also, as Roma found out last week against Siena, these "smaller clubs" do come to play against the cream of the crop. Expect a dirty and hard fought match.
Inter are in 1st with 53 points, 8 points clear of 2nd place Roma.
Catania are in 12th with 23 points, 4 points behind 11th place Napoli.
Inter: Patrick Vieira is suspended two games after his sending off last week, while Maicon, Olivier Dacourt, Walter Samuel, Aparecido Cesar, and Dejan Stankovic are out injured. Also, after looking on inter.it, I don't think Figo made the trip either.
Catania: Rocco Sabato and Jorge Martinez will watch this one from the sideline.
Burdisso(I really hope it's Rivas), Materazzi, Maxwell;
Maniche, Cambiasso, Chivu;
(Also a possibility of a 4-4-2, with Jimy as a winger)
Sardo, Stovini, Terlizzi, Vargas;
Baiocco, Edusei, Tedesco;
Colucci, Spinesi, Mascara.
Players To Keep An Eye On:
Gionatha Spinesi: Even though he has only three goals in the Serie A this season, he's the best finisher that Catania has, and their most deadly weapon. When he's on, he's on. Inter must keep him out of the box, and double him on corners.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: He's a player to watch every time Inter takes the field. Terrific skill, great finishing, and sparks of brilliance at times. However we have seen that some aggressive "off the ball" marking, as Juventus's Giorgio Chiellini has shown us, may knock his composure. Not sure Catania have the man power to do what Giorgio did, so expect a bit of a show from The Great One.
Julio Cesar: Again, sort of an obvious pick. He has been the most underrated part of the Nerazzuri's success. But, after last weeks performance against Empoli, where he saved Inter 2 points, his greatness has finally come to the surface. It'll be interesting to see if he can keep up this terrific run, but I have a feeling he will.
Inter Milan vs. Stadio Angelo Massimino: We all know how tough it is to beat, and score, against Catania when their at their own stomping grounds. TSB and The Great One may have a bit of a challenge on their hands, as will the rest of squad.
Inter Milan vs. The Cartellino Rosso: The Nerazzuri's misfortune regarding the devil's card has already been discussed, so there's no reason to extend it further. However, I would like to say one thing. Please, for the sake of my heart health, stay with 11 men.
Gionatha Spinesi vs. The Matrix And The Rest Of The Crew: The 29 year-old may be one of Catania's greatest strikers ever, and even though he is on a slow scoring pace, he is still a deadly weapon. Let's not forget that in the past three seasons he has scored 22, 20, and 17 goals. And we must not forget that ridiculous goal against Juventus.
Dirty and tough. Those two words will basically describe this game. Catania understands that skill wise, they can't matchup, so they will try the next best thing, effort. They'll be playing in front of a home crowd, so I think they will put forth a terrific one. Plus, I do feel another red card in this game, maybe not for Inter, but for someone. Expect TSB and The Great One to be given a few "shots" throughout the match, and expect The Matrix to do something about it. It should be fun.
Hard fought match, but Inter come out on top, 2-1.