Inter travel to Parma this week to play one of those odd Monday evening games. We go for one thing and one thing only: Points. Three, to be precise. Inter need to capitalize on Juve's stunning loss against Milan and fend off Napoli and (surprisingly) Fiorentina. If we can get all three on Monday then this race just got interesting. Plus, it would be a nice response to the midweek loss.
What: Parma v Inter Where: Cheesey Ham Land, Stadio Ennio Tardini When: Monday, November 26, 9pm local time (noon pacific, 3pm eastern) How to Watch: Live on RAI International, beIN1 and beIN Espanol. Other tv channels are here or find a stream. Liveblog:LIVEBLOG HERE
Wow, I finally have a moment to myself. For those of you not in the US, this last Thursday was our Thanksgiving holiday. That means we all make a ginormous meal based around a turkey and our friends and family all get together to stuff themselves silly. Then, on Friday, the crazy people go shopping to kick off the Hanukkah/Christmas gift-giving season while the rest of us lay around and groan. Saturday is for cleaning up the wreck in your kitchen while trying to avoid eating any turkey-based foods. Then, on Sunday, you make the turkey soup (I am making this one). Well, the turkey carcass is simmering on the stove and the out-of-town family and friends have been finally sent home (with containers of leftovers) so I have a couple hours to myself.
This is going to be short, though. I cut my finger chopping onions and typing isn't so fun. Ironically, I had just sharpened all my knives and assured the SO that I would be fine. Famous last words, I suppose.
It looks like Milan just pulled off their upset of the season by beating Juve which means that we have the opportunity to pull to within one slim point of the leaders. Hooray. It also looks like Fiorentina have been quietly sneaking up the table while no one was watching so we have them as well as Napoli to worry about. Really, where the heck did they come from? We will need all three points to make sure we keep second place.
This wont be easy, though, as Parma has been a bit of a spoiler for us recently:
Basically, we haven't beaten them in Parma since Ibra's double in 2007/2008 season (that game finished 0-2). We beat them the year before as well with a Julio Cruz signature injury-time goal (it was 1-2 for that game). Our only other win against them came in 2002 when DiBiagio and Recoba sealed another 1-2. Parma beat us silly both last season and the one before, in no small part thanks to Giovinco. He and Amauri got goals to seal our 2-0 loss in 2011 while last season it was Giovinco, Marques and Biabiany (traitor) who put us to the sword.
Parma are currently in 10th place with 17 points. They have a pretty even record with 4 wins, 5 draws, and 4 losses. They have been all over in terms of results, with a win against Roma followed by a loss against Pescara and two draws (Siena and Udinese). Even so, Parma are undefeated at home in 11 matches. Sure, most of those have been draws, but it is impressive nonetheless.
With Giovinco gone back to Juve, Amauri is Parma's high scorer (as unlikely as that may be). He has only three goals, but that is enough. Especially as Parma have 11 players on the score sheet this season, including MAD crush object, Daneile Galloppa. Other players to keep your eye on are Argentinian central defender Gabriel Paletta and our own Jonathan Biabiany. Both have been doing particularly well this season.
Sadly (for MAD), Galloppa will not play tomorrow. He is injured. In addition, Marco Parolo is suspend (Parma get a lot of cards). Current best guesses are they will play a 3-5-1-1 with Amauri and Biabiani in front. And if either one of them score on us I will be one unhappy camper. Amauri is a dufus with his own name tattooed on his arm while we made Biabiani. We should know how to stop him.
Sadly, I was not able to watch the Rubin game on Thursday. I was up to my elbows (literally) in turkey. It looks like Strama sort of used that game to give some of the kiddies some experience and wrote the loss off as a necessary casualty. I guess that means most of our first-teamers will be rested and ready.
Remember, Cassano and Gargano are banned for the game. Stramaccioni was sent off against Cagliari but he has his ban overturned. Despite the ban, though, Strama says that Cassano is coming to Parma anyway - presumably to sit in the stands.
I wonder if Cassano is teaching everyone the Bari dialect. Strama says that Nagatomo is already an expert. via www.inter.it
We found out yesterday that Sneijder and the club are in some sort of heated contract negotiations that aren't going so smoothly. Branca says that Wes is being benched until there is more "serenity and clarity" around the situation. Basically, it looks like Inter want him to take a pay cut and he doesn't want to. Strama went one further today saying "I'm going to Parma with the best players available and I've decided not to use Sneijder for this occasion." Ouch. Like I have said before, it sure smells like he is on the way out.
Oh, and our injury list is still insane: Obi, Chivu, Stankovic, and Mudingayi. At least our defenders are back and Strama says that Guarin will "grit his teeth" for the game. I guess that means he plays even though not totally fit.
I guess that leaves us with Handa back in goal, our dynamic trio of Rano, Juan Jesus, and Samuel in defense, and some sort of midfield built around Cambiasso, Guarin, and probably Nagatomo. Strama says that Nagatomo has been specifically working with Baresi and making great strides so I bet he plays. Upfront, how about Coutinho, Palacio, and Milito. As for the rest, I will leave that up to our inscrutable coach.
I am getting sort of bored of writing the same old thing here: this is a must win, Inter needs to bounce back from the loss, we need to do our talking on the pitch, Team X is a good team with the players to put us in trouble... same old same old. We all know what is on the line. Now it is just up to the team to go out and get the win.
My finger hurts.
And, because I love him so, a little more Ivan Ramiro Cordoba (but goal.com is stupid).