What: Chievo v Inter (Please, dear Calcio Gods, please let us win a game)
Where: Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona (lovely city, please let us win)
When: Wednesday, Sept 26, 8:45pm local time (11:45am pacific, 2:45pm eastern)
How to Watch: Streaming only in the US (CURSE YOU BEIN SPORT!!!) so try Wizywig or Firstrow. Check here for tv options outside the US (lucky ducks!).
Liveblog: Probably not. Work and that. We will be back for the weekend, though.
Right. These midweek games are a bitch to deal with. There just never seems to be enough time anymore. No excuses (well, a tiny excuse, maybe), but this may be a little briefer than the last preview.
I think it is safe to say that Inter's past record is not really germane any longer. We had a perfect record against Siena at home and what did that bring us? Does it really matter that Inter has five wins, three draws, and two losses against Chievo in Verona? Probably not. I think it is best not to look at what we have done and concentrate on what we will (or might?) do next. Even so, we may as well revisit our last meeting... a quick look at where we have most recently been so we can better appreciate where we are going.
Last year we came to Verona a sad, dejected lot. The game was in early March and we hadn't won a game since January - nine games without a win. It was terrible. And then, like a miracle, the clouds parted and Inter actually won a game. The game finished 0-2 with goals from Milito and Samuel. It was Inter's first clean sheet since the 0-1 derby win against Milan 12 games earlier. The game even brought a tear to Claudio Ranieri's eye. I hope a small piece of that slump-breaking magic comes back for Inter tomorrow.
Those Crazy Flying Donkeys
Chievo haven't had a very good start to their season, either. While they played valiantly against Juventus last weekend, in the end, they fell, making their record for the season one win (opening day against Bologna) and three losses. What's more, they have only scored three goals in those four games, one against Lazio (they went on to lose 1-3), and two in that opening game (final score was 2-0). Like Inter, they will be looking for some redemption, and, after seeing that Siena game, they will likely thing they have a pretty good shot at a win.
As Strama said today, the game tomorrow will be tactically challenging.
"Chievo looked extremely well drilled and they held their own against Juve until the last 20 minutes. We've seen what a solid outfit they are and it will be a tricky match for us tomorrow, at a ground which has traditionally been a tough place to visit. And in Di Carlo they have a very shrewd coach."
La Gazzetta thinks that Di Carlo will play a 4-3-1-2 against us tomorrow, with Di Michele and Pellissier leading the attack. And that Pellissier is trouble: he has been scoring goals against us since 2004! There is power in that pornstach.
They certainly dont look incompatible. In fact, Cassano and Sneijder look downright
chummy! via www.inter.it
Twenty-three players have been called up ahead of the trip to Verona:
Goalkeepers: Handanovic, Castellazzi, Belec;
Defenders: Zanetti, Silvestre, Ranocchia, Samuel, Chivu, Juan Jesus, Jonathan, Nagatomo;
Midfielders: Sneijder, Alvarez, Guarin, Mudingayi, Cambiasso, Obi, Gargano, Pereira;
Forwards: Coutinho, Milito, Livaja, Cassano.
Mudingayi and Obi are back in the squad and Strama said that at least Obi will make the bench tomorrow. Palacio is still injured. Still. He was only supposed to miss one game and now we are looking at four at least. Finger's crossed he will be ready for the next one. Ranocchia is apparently fine and has recovered from the knocks he took last weekend.
Chivu is also on the list again, spurring more speculation about Strama employing a 3-man defense. La Gazzetta is so taken with the idea that they are predicting it for the game. Strama isn't helping, saying things like: "Looking at our squad and the players we have, it's reasonable to think it might help these lads to give the best of themselves."
|Cristian Chivu: viable option or harbinger of doom? via www.inter.it|
Now, I know the players we have now aren't the same as when Gasparini tried it, but the results of those earlier expiraments have left me a bit twitchy at the prospect of trying it again. I wouldn't say I am scarred, but there is a definate flinch at the thought. As there is with the predicted La Gazzetta lineup. They think Strama will field six defensive players (including Zanetti, Pereira, and Cambiasso). You would think that with that many defense minded players we could at least scrape a 0-0 draw out of the game.
But La Gazzetta has been wrong before and they may be wrong now. So, by popular demand (there was one of you, I swear), I am reinstating the most honorable title of Grand Imperial Poobah of All Things Inter (GIPATI to its friends). A lofty position you reach by correctly divining Stramaccioni's starting line-up for the game tomorrow. Post it in the comments, and, if you are correct, you will recieve by email a personalized certificate (suitable for framing) declaring your Inter acumen for all the world to see. Admit it, you want one.
|Um, has anyone else noticed how freaking adorable Vid Belec has become? via www.inter.it|
Alright. Let's wrap this thing up. Inter are desperate for a win. I know it is early days, and, as Strama says, now is the time for sowing so that we may reap later (points, presumably), but we have a tough fixture schedule and if we cant make a few points on these traditionally mid-to-lower table teams, we will have no cushion to help us through when things get really really tough. Plus, a second loss to a team we really should be beating if we want to be taken seriously may bring the dreaded "C"-word into the mix (no, that that one, Crisis. Get your minds out of the gutter). No one will like that and I would really like to make it through the year with only one coach.
On the up side, we will be playing away from home, something we have been rather better at this season. In fact, we haven't lost one of those yet. Still, I dont know if the tenuous magic of the away pitch will be enough to counteract the terrible bad juju of posting an official formation that begins with 3-. I suppose, we will all have to just let go and trust that Strama knows what he is doing. That, despite what Drewsef saw on Sunday, he really has a Plan A and isn't just throwing players at the pitch to see what sticks. I mean, we have been at this for months and months already. If he doesn't know by now what to do with these guys then we are pretty much doomed.
But hey, we may just win tomorrow. You never know.
How about a little Strama presser. I have the worst time understanding him. Maybe you all can do better.