Serie A, Round 26
Who: Inter Milan vs. Napoli
When: Sunday, March 2nd 2:30 pm ET
Where: Stadio San Paolo
It has been a very tough three game stretch for the Nerazzurri, after strolling through the large portion of the season before this lineup of games. It all started with "it", which turned out like shit. (Like that?) Then we moved on to Genoa, which was okay. Finally, we had Roma, at home, which was even better. Now we have to travel to Naples, to take on Napoli. This is another team, that can pull a Jekyll and Hyde type of game. They’ve been up and down in recent weeks more than the stock market. We have a HUGE number of people who are going to be out for this match, so it's not going to easy. The best word for this game? Nuisance.
Here are a few stats for the Neapolitans. Dating back to the 10th of February they have done this: lost 2-0 to Samp away, a terrible 3-1 loss to Empoli at home, a good 2-1 win away verses Livorno, then they lost 2-0 to at Genoa. However, this is the same team that beat Juve 3-1. Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. Crazy shit. We've had instances like this a few times before, but this game is a bit different. All those other teams we had this same problem with (e.g.- Cantania), didn't have that one great player. But, Napoli does, and his name is Ezequiel Lavezzi. He's been very inconsistent of late, but is one of the surprise young talents in the world this year. He only has five goals, but his great footwork, combined with power and speed, make him a death sentence for opposing defenses. His partner in crime, Zalayeta, is suspended for this game. So, it may make things a little easier. But not much.
The terrible injury situation this season is no secret, and it’s worse than ever for this game. Among others, we'll be without, Cordoba, Cruz, Zlatan, and Max. That's 4 starters that are out. Let me repeat that, 4. I'm still worried about our defense, mainly our CB's. I think it's going to be a Rivas/Matrix tag team. Which I am excited to see. Napoli don't have the fire power Roma may have, but I want to see a solid defensive performance for my own personal reassurance.
On the offensive side of things, looks like we'll have Crespo/Suazo up top, with Super Mario on the bench. Crespo has been in great form of late, but Suazo has been up and down. Napoli have taken 40 bananas' this season, which is terrible if you aren't good with numbers. I would really like to see Crespo and Suazo get on the board. As much as I hate to say this, we might be without Cruz or Ibra, or even both, for the Liverpool match. So, we need these two to catch fire.
Inter are in 1st with 61 points, 9 points clear of 2nd place Roma.
Napoli are in 11th with 30 points, 4 points behind 10th place Palermo.
Inter: This is a shit load of people. So, get ready. Olivier Dacourt, Walter Samuel, Ivan Cordoba, Aparecido Cesar, Julio Cruz, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Max. Holy shit.
Napoli: Andrea Cupi, Gyorgy Garics, Gennaro Iezzo, and Michele Pazienza are unfit to play, while Maurizio Domizzi is suspended. Napoli will have to also play without suspended leading scorer Marcelo Zalayeta.
Inter:(4-4-2, Here's the squad.)
Maicon, Rivas, Matrix, Chivu;
Figo, Vieira, Maniche, Il Capitano;
I don't think we'll see Cambiasso start. He has been so-so lately, and obviously needs a rest. I think Manico will stay with Vieira in the middle, because of his good performance against Roma. Same with Figo.
Santacroce, Cannavaro, Contini;
Mannini, Gargano, Blasi, Hamsik, Savini;
Players To Keep An Eye On:
Hernan Crespo : It's such a great thing to see him play like it's the late 90's again. He saved our ass against Samp, then was robbed twice in the Roma game. Once by Doni, and once by the post. He's making his runs, he's active in the box, and pressures the defense at all times. I think he was tired of being number 4. Another few good performances, coupled with a few more shitty Suazo games, and he may leap frog himself to 3.
Ezequiel Lavezzi: He has been named the savior on Napoli, a la Maradona. I wouldn't take it that far, but this 22 year-old has skills. Yes he's inconsistent, but when he comes to play, boy does he play. He's a joy to watch, and possibly a future Argentine national. If the Matrix does play, this will be yet another daunting task. He had trouble with Torres, then Cassano, and it looked like he was slipping. If he can hold Lavezzi, that would be terrific news.
Patrick Vieira: He was in the shitter with Nerazzurri fans, then played against Roma. He's still in my shitter, and I suspect most of yours. But, he is slowly climbing out of the sludge. He was basically alone in the middle after Mancio put 3 forwards, and held his own. A few more good matches, and he may find himself upgraded to the urinal.
Mancio vs. 3 Subs: Now look, Manico, the rule is 3 and nothing you say can change that. He got trigger happy last game, making his last sub at the 61st minute. That came back to bite us in the ass, when Max went down in the 65th minute. I guess he lost count. He has been okay with subs this season, but as long as they keep winning I really don't give a shit. Just watch and enjoy, Manico.
Present Matrix vs. Past Matrix: I don't know what the fuck has been wrong with him lately. He sat out against Roma, but I don't think it was because of injury. Young, quick strikers have been killing him. And he's going to find much of the same with El Pocho. Play physical, win balls in the air, and everything will be alright. He's been pulling up way to far, then getting beat, which is bad. He doesn't have the legs he used to, so if he just plants himself back there, he'll be a-okay.
Napoli vs. Napoli: This team may be the most unpredictable one we have faced all year. One day their beating Juve, the other their losing to Genoa. IMPOSSIBLE to gauge, which always can be a danger for a coach and players. We just have to come out ready to play, and no matter who shows up, we'll take 3 points.
We haven't had a big win in a while, and I'm way past due. I would love to see us put 3 or more past these bastards, and just sit back, relax and enjoy the calcio. But when I snapped out of my dream, I realized this may turn out to be another "heart-attack" game. Napoli's at home, their pumped, and they have a few great young players. They'll come out like a bull, but a quick goal should shut everyone up.
I also must see a dominate defensive performance to be fully satisfied. Let's be honest, the past few games have been shaky, to say the least, back there. Rivas may get another shot, and I want to him see him take full advantage of it. If the Matrix can stop Lavezzi, it's game on for him again. Also, it'll be interesting to see how Chivu handles the wing back (if he does play there). We don't know how long Max will be out, so if he can put up a solid performance, he may be in the running to fill in the hole.
Inter win 2-0.
Goals: Crespo (34'), Suazo (56')
MOTM: Il Capitano
P.S.- Still can't find any streams, but I'll continue to look. Please do the same, I really don't want to follow this on inter.it. I really, really don't.