(queue the action movie music)
This Sunday Inter host Siena for a game that may be the culmination of a whole season, and, perhaps, our final test.
After 36 league, 8 Champions League, and 6 Coppa Italia games, almost half of our original starting team is injured (Dacourt, Samuel, Cordoba, Ibrahimovic, Figo, Chivu) but we are still on track for our 16th scudetto. We may be more limping forward than the sprint that characterized last year's race, but it is the limp of the triumphant soldier, gallantly leaving the field of battle after bravely winning a hard-fought war.
Ok, so maybe not. None the less, we are still in it and can take the scudetto tomorrow if we keep our wits about us.
The Giant Killers
Siena had a shaky start to the season, and at one time, had a real worry of relegation. They have now heaved themselves up to a comfortable mid-table position (12, with 42 points) by pulling off such stunners as a 3-0 win over Roma and last weeks 1-0 surprise over Juve.
La Gazzetta dello Sport thinks Baretta will play 4-3-2-1:
Ficagna / Portanova / Loria / De Ceglie
Vergassola / Codrea / Galloppa
Kharja / Locatelli
Maccarone (who was in training today after all)
And I have no reason to doubt them.
When asked about the game ahead, Mancini had this to say:
"I think they [Siena] can play with more tranquility now that they're safe. The dangers are in facing a team that has nothing to lose. They will play to win the game. It will depend on us. If we do our job well we can create many chances to do well."
Too true. I will depend on us.
Here is what happened last time we met:
Lets hope the game does not go that way again. Don't get me wrong, I will always take a win, but I hate to do it with such controversy. I want to bury Siena in such a way that no one can say a word. In fact, lets hope it goes a bit more like it did last year:
What we bring to the field
Mancini has called up 19 players:
Goalkeepers: Toldo, Julio Cesar.
Defenders: Zanetti, Maxwell, Maicon, Burdisso, Materazzi, Rivas.
Midfielders: Stankovic, Jimenez, Vieira, Cambiasso, Maniche, Pelé, Cesar.
Strikers: Cruz, Crespo, Suazo, Balotelli.
although Stankovic's fitness will have a final evaluation tomorrow.
To say this is due or die is an understatement. Even if it is true that we only need to secure 3 points in these last 2 games - we will never hear the end of it if we miss this second chance at security.
On top of all this, there are the usual distractions.
Figo is having difficulties with animal rights groups: the Libero newspaper published that he purposefully ran over a black cat near the training pitch as he thought it was bringing the team bad luck. Figo has vehemently denied it and is threatening legal action unless the paper apologizes.
Spanish papers are reporting that Inter is preparing a deal where we would swap Ibra for Samuel Eto'o.
But who has time for any of that nonsense?
So, let's pull up our shorts, tuck in our shirts, and bring this scudetto home once and for all. There is no doubt we can beat Siena so there should be no doubt that we will.
Now everyone sing along:
Domani, Ragazzi, vincerà e saremo campioni ancora.
FORZA INTER CAMPIONI D'ITALIA