I am not a big fan of this time of year. I am cold all the time. I find my nose assaulted with cinnamon everywhere for some reason. Plus, there is all this extra shopping.
So I force myself to think about other things then the actual holidays. I do this especially when I try to get out of the house to avoid all the holiday stress and baby visitors – usually by walking the dogs for hours at a time. While I am out in the wilds of suburbia, I have a lot of time to think about the usual stuff guys think about when they have large pockets of time with nothing to do. Eventually, I get to sports.
When I think about the team, I think about where they are and where they are going this season. I'm not really much of a Best Of, or Worst Of person. I try not to assign blame, I try to analyze and fix. So instead, I am much more of a where are we and where are we going perrson. So let's take a look at the team overall, the players individually and then take a look at what we can speculate upon during the second half of the season.
More after the jump.
Place: 1st with 39 points.
Next Closest: Milan 31 + game in hand
Next Closest: Juventus 30
Next Closest: Fiorentina, Bari: 15 + game in hand
Home Record: 7-2-0 (23 points)
Next Closest: Parma 6-1-1 (19 points) + game in hand
Away Record: 5-1-2 (16 points)
Next Closest: Milan 4-3-1 (15 points) + game in hand
Last 5: 4-1-0 (13 out of 15 points) GS: 12 GC: 3
Longest Unbeaten Streak: 8 games
Longest Win Streak: 5 games
Longest Losing Streak: 1 game
Longest Winless Streak: 2 games
Biggest Attendance: Parma @55,000
Smallest Attendance: Bari @20,000
Biggest Home Win: 2 goals – Parma (2-0), Napoli (3-1), Palermo (5-2)
Biggest Away Win: Genoa (0-5)
Biggest Home Defeat:
Biggest Away Defeat: 1 goal – Juventus (1-2), Sampdoria (0-1)
Most Productive Time on Field: Between Minute 31 – Minute 45 (8 goals for, 1 against)
3 Stankovic, Maicon
2 Cambiasso, Sneijder
1 Lucio, Muntari, Motta, Vieira
3 Stankovic, Sneijder, Milito
2 Eto’o, Cambiasso
1 Vieira, Chivu, Lucio, Motta, Muntari
Most Cautioned – Soccernet scores 1 yellow + 1 red for expulsions, not 2 yellow.
4: Stankovic, Motta, Samuel, Chivu
3: Muntari, Maicon, Balotelli
2: Vieira, Eto’o
1: Zanetti, Materazzi, Cordoba, Lucio, Cambiasso, Sneijder
In the first 17 games, Inter had 22 (counting Cesar) different players contribute time on the field. We have some injured players who will miss time early in 2010, some suspensions for accumulation of cautions and, if rumors are true, a new/old player joining the squad so don’t be taken aback if you need to look twice at players on the field against Chievo and Siena.
There is serious consideration to Krhin getting more time on the field, as long as he’s not loaned out this winter. Mourinho has made more than one allusion to him being the vice Combiasso and this year’s Davide Santon. Personally, I think that he’s Inter’s second chance at Pirlo. Looking back at the appearances Rene made for the team, I just have this to say: If this were hockey, his nickname would be Second Assist Boy. In addition, another midfielder would not go amiss at this team. Consider the ages of Zanetti, Deki and Vieira and the health of Cambiasso and Motta. We need midfield depth.
And speaking of Davey the Kid, he himself has said that there will be another Davide Santon showing up at practice – once he’s healthy enough to do so. He admits to not working as hard as he did last season. This is a classic case of Sophomore Jinx. You work your tail off to get to whatever your goal is and then once there, you believe all the hype about how great you are and forget that it was the hard work and prep that got you there in the first place. If Davide realizes his mistakes, then he has a great opportunity to show his commitment in upcoming Coppa games. Hopefully we get Redemption Junior next season and not Where Are They Now drop out.
And make no mistake; we need Davide to do well. Chivu is not really the short term answer at left fullback, let alone the long term answer. And Maicon is ready to go. The contract renewal/renegotiation that he signed last season was just to make sure that Inter is compensated for the sale of his card whenever that will be. The rumbling you hear about Kolarov isn’t because Davide needs replacing – on the contrary, I think that Davide is considered a lock at one of the 2 fullback roles - it’s because Maicon will, sooner or later.
Which brings me to Goran Pandev. There will be a Who’s Goran post when/if he arrives. But the unspoken truth is that Goran/Arnautovic/Destro is here not just for this season, but also for when Milito and/or Eto’o also leave permanently. Milito will be 31 in July and Eto’o costs 9+ million Euros a year on a club that is desperate to cut costs, plus there are rumors going around that his knees won’t hold up much longer.
But not all is gloom/doom and I want to leave this on a high note. I was reading FCInternews.it the other day and I would like to share the point they made that I thought was incredible. It goes like this – and it assumes that Pandev is joining us: Inter has managed to secure the abilities of Milito – who is the highest scoring player in the last 12 calendar months in Serie A, Samuel “2 Champions League Finals Wins” Eto’o, SuperMario Balotelli and Goran Pandev for basically nothing. Milito came with a reduced price thanks to Primavera compensation. Eto’o was given to us plus a wheelbarrow of cash for Ibra. Pandev may come on a free. Balotelli’s card was bought for peanuts when he was 16 and as a result of being a Primavera player his contract is next to nothing for his talent and potential – 1.5 million Euros.
Not bad. If I get the chance before the season starts up again, I’d like to talk about how we are going to throw out and completely remake the best defence in Serie A.