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So Have We Learned Anything?

It’s been a weird few days of discovery for those of us who support the Blue and Black. I wonder if I was alone in hoping that the young guys wouldn’t get beaten too badly by the two other big Italian teams. I seriously had no idea what to expect from this team especially since more than a few of the guys who proved so important from last season weren’t there. The games that count will start all too soon, but still weeks away, have we learned anything that can make ourselves feel better now?

We definitely learned nothing from the Inter Green vs Inter Orange game other than the fact that Pazzini had a lot of resentment just beneath the surface. His outburst helped no one, least of all himself and he’ll either be leaving shortly or looking for a favorite seat at the Meazza.

The Trentino game and the Koper game showed us that Stramamama will attack with 4 players – two out wide, one up front and one recessed playmaker. It also showed us – and the other youth players – that good play is rewarded with more time on the field as evidenced by Mbaye getting a lot of time at fullback.

So did we learn anything from the Tim Triangular thingy and Como?

Yeah, I think we did.

* I think we learned that we can feel a lot better about Mbaye and not really any other youth player. To my mind I think it’s odd that we didn’t play Duncan at all, or that he wasn’t called up at all. I don’t recall seeing that he was injured or anything and there was something of a big deal that he was asked to go on retreat with the seniors. I haven’t heard much from him and that is unfortunate. Also, I was expecting to hear more about Romano, especially considering all the talk about transfer targets in the midfield. That hasn’t happened either, although he just celebrated his 19th birthday or something. All the midfield substitutions from all he friendlies have been without these two youth players – players who I would have thought were considered bigger prospects than Pasa or Benassi, two players that got time on the field in the Como game, for example.

*The summer transfers have been positive additions thus far.

Handanovic and Belec have been clearly better than Castellazzi so far in my opinion. I’m trying to judge them against each other and not the competition. Castellazzi, in my opinion, was a solid keeper who showed signs of aging a bit last season. I have seen nothing to change that opinion so far.

Mudingaye, if nothing else lived up to his reputation in the game against Como. He showed that he was in shape and that he could integrate, for one game so far obviously.

Palacio looks like he is a second striker, which is what I think we were looking for when we went out and bought his rights. He’s mobile, can shoot some and he can dish some, that’s pretty much the definition right there.

The book is still out on Silvestre. I haven’t seen very much of him and there was that misunderstanding about stepping up on the Como goal. He seems decent in that one game. And he’s a ton more mobile than either Samuel or Lucio that’s for certain.

Lastly, about Coutinho, he’s getting a lot of praise, and rightly so, about using his time in Spain well and becoming a better professional. But, it’s hard to remember that he’s still young and he’s still going to make some mistakes from time to time. He’s also playing a position that lends itself to making mistakes – not every kick or pass is going to be a winner, so to speak. When he fails, it’ll be important that the fan base not overreact and think long term. Today’s youthful mistakes can turn into tomorrow’s savvy veteran moves given some time. However, I am starting to get really excited thinking about the understanding he might one day enjoy with Sneijder, who looks very motivated.

* Speaking of which… Sneijder looks/seems motivated. It was hard to think of him staying in the days of Ranieri, but I can totally see it with Stramamama.

* The defense looks a ton more mobile with Mbaye, Jonathan, Naga, Silvestre, Chivu and Ranocchia back there. I don’t know if it’s any better, but it seems more likely to get back when the counter hits… and we had massive trouble with that last season. I wasn’t thrilled with the defense in the Como game, but even I have to admit that there were some individual screw ups rather than systemic flaws. Silvestre not reading the game the same way as the others or a 17 year old’s poor pass back isn’t really catastrophic. It’s just part of the growing procedure. It could take a while before everyone gets in sync. Remember that against Como there were 2 out of 4 people back there who weren’t even on the team a month ago. Plus, there seems to be more youth/turnover back there than anywhere else, really. If there is going to be a part of the team that is going to need some time to mesh… there it is.

* Am I being just hopeful, or does Ranocchia seem a more confident? Boy, I sure hope so.


Is “Monetizing” a real word or is it a made up one that pops up in the football world when discussing real, live people? Whatever it is, it’s a phenomenon that has become more and more a reality for those of us in the Blue and Black house. The club is becoming much more a business than a gentlemen’s athletic club, and about time really, but that change doesn’t occur without some casualties.

Chief among which is sentiment. I have a lot of sentiment for players of this club. Even – no, especially – those who were around before the titles. But Cordoba and Zanetti are subjects for another time.

But Cesar, Pazzini and Viviano are for right now. I didn’t figure that Viviano would be gone this summer – I thought that it was set up for the team to get a much cheaper alternative at keeper. I don’t have any history with Vivano other than to hope that he would have been a worthy successor to Cesar. I figured that Pazzini was 50-50 to stay after that terrible time he had last season. I couldn’t have foreseen that he would have burned that bridge so thoroughly. I knew that Cesar would be leaving us. I didn’t like it. I don’t like it. It bothers me that he’s going to be leaving. But I understand why he has to go. He’s paid a mountain of cash for an outfield player, let alone a goalkeeper. It’s a hard reality I have to face… and I am wondering if I am going to have to say goodbye to yet another one in a future time. The number game that’s being played out at Inter that lets us know who is staying and who is going isn’t yet definitive on the fate of Maicon.