Who/What: Inter v Siena, Serie A Matchday 4
This whole San Siro thing is getting ridiculous. I dont know if it is the new pitch or the fact that opposing teams always seem to find that extra 10% when they travel to Milan, or even voodoo witch doctors (Juve conspiracy, anyone?), but we just have to break out of this cycle before it becomes self-fulfilling. The only way to do that is to finally get a big, fat W at the San Siro and Siena may be just the team to help.
Where: That Place Best Left Unnamed (spit and grab your crotch)
When: Sunday, September 23, 3pm local time (6am pacific, 9am eastern)
How to Watch: Live on beIN Sport Espanol (non US channels here) or find a stream (check here or here).
Note: Comcast subscribers can now get beIN Sport Espanol as part of the the Multi Latino pack. It costs like an extra $10 or $12 a month, but is soooo worth it.
Siena do not have much of a history in the Serie A. They came up in 2003, just as Inter was beginning their glorious run. As such, Siena has never beaten Inter: played 16 total games, Inter win 12, draw 4. Plus, our record is exactly the same at home as away: 6 wins, 2 draws. Last year, the game finished 2-1 with a brace from Milito.
Poor, sad Siena. They got hit hard for their participation in the latest round of calcioscommesse scandals. They reached a plea bargain with the authorities of a €100,000 fine and a six-point penalty. That means, even though they have managed two draws in their last three games, they sit at -4 on the table and in last place. They seem to be building to a good showing though: their first game was 0-0 (Torino at home), the second 2-1 (Samp away), then last week a 2-2 (Udinese at home). That means, if the pattern holds, they will score three goals tomorrow (but I am not predicting that because that would be seriously bad juju).
A quick look at their summer transfers shows they are almost an entirely new team from last season. They ended up with Rosina (back from Zenit) and Ze Eduardo (the one who doesn't go on trial, not even for Milan), and Felipe (the walking red card from Fiorentina). Cosmi likes to play a 3-5-2 with Calaiò and Zé Eduardo upfront. He made it clear today in his presser that he will field his best team, with no eye to turnover or the game next week. He also said some nice things about Inter, but it was the standard stuff they always say.
|Rannocchia just towers over the majority of our squad. via www.inter.it|
Strama has called 23:
Goalkeepers: Handanovic, Castellazzi, Belec;
Defenders: Zanetti, Silvestre, Ranocchia, Samuel, Chivu, Juan Jesus, Jonathan, Bianchetti, Nagatomo;
Midfielders: Sneijder, Alvarez, Guarin, Cambiasso, Gargano, Pereira, Duncan;
Attackers: Coutinho, Milito, Livaja, Cassano.
So, Palacio is still out (what the heck happened to him???) but Chivu is back. Also, Duncan gets what I think is his first Serie A call-up. Mudingayi and Palacio may be available either midweek, or, at the latest, next weekend. I think Obi and M'baye may be ready by then as well. Deki and Mariga are still out for the long term. The return of Chivu also returns the specter of a 3-man defense to Inter. Strama said:
"His recovery for me is very important and completes a battery of five central defenders that will allow me to do something that I never could have done. With him we can put other solutions in place. Defense of three? Eleven teams out of 20 play three in Italy. If I decide to play three is because I am convinced that a player can become a deep playmaker for me. It can be a midfielder, or Chivu, with his flexibility, is an alternative to be takin into consideration."
So, not only do we get a 3-man defense (shudder) but one anchored with Chivu (double extra hard shudder). I dont think we have to fear that for tomorrow, though, as this is his first call-up after a long stop. If he sees the pitch at all, I think it will be from the bench and only if we are doing particularly well (at least, that is my hope). Up front, I think we will see a rested Milito, perhaps partnered with Cassano, with maybe a reprisal of the Rannocchia/Jesus paring at the back. But that is as far as I am willing to go in terms of predicting a line-up. No more Strama-burns for me.
|Who is going to score a crazy goal or two to make sure we win tomorrow? via www.inter.it|
Ok. So there isn't really all that much more for it. Everyone, do whatever good-luck rituals you have don in the past - only double. We need it. We have to break whatever hoodoo is hanging over the Meazza. Light a candle, throw some salt, whatever because this game has become a bit of a "must win." Sure, we need to keep pace with the leaders (who strangely include Sampdoria), but more importantly, to prove that we can.