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Inter 2 – Pescara 0

Home cooking works its magic as Inter breaks a series of negative results over the last half dozen or so games winning 2-0. Inter looked compact and constructive against the regulation fighters – a distinct difference from recent outings.

Claudio Villa

It was a constructive Inter. And let’s be clear – I don’t care who the opponent was. It was a constructive Inter, who let’s be honest, still managed to score on the counter attack. It’s such a little change – swap a player who turns the ball over all the time with a player who has some passing talent and we get possession. It wasn’t a big deal, really. There weren’t any super long or amazing passes. Mostly, it was quick one – two precision passing that helped avoid turnovers. I don’t want to say what it looked like because it’s patently ridiculous to compare the youngster to anyone at this point – it’s one freaking start against one of the worst teams in the league.

I am talking about Benassi, of course. The young 18 year old played a hell of a game. In praising him, I have to praise Strama in giving the youth a clear plan – the youth had what looked like a specific role and clear ideas on what to do in certain scenarios. But the youth was surrounded by vets - specifically Zanetti next to him and Cambiasso behind him.

In other words, I think that the youth was helped in just the right way in that game – there was no pressure on the kid to win or lose the game, he wasn’t out there alone on an island with no help and he was put out there against the best team in the league. My issue – that Strama isn’t doing this enough over the course of the season. Benassi shouldn’t have had to wait until after January for his first league start. How long have people been screaming for a more technically gifted midfielder.

There was, of course, more than just Benassi on the field. Fredy Guarin had what is shaping up to be his usual good game. He was energetic and aggressive as per usual. I thought that he and a passing guy to back him up as he went forward made a nice compliment – he didn’t have to haul ass backwards all day to dig the ball from the defense, someone else was present who could hold onto and matriculate the ball forward.

Palacio has these days where it just won’t go in on him, and early on I thought we were in for another one of those days. But when given the ball centered on the net with only a single person to beat, he made his shot. When he was deflected off to the side he made several crosses, one of which saw Guarin make no mistake – unlike Jonathan last week or Livaja just before the break. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we are waiting word on Jonathan’s and Livaja’s permanent or loan transfer respectively, any day now. The difference between Jonathan and Fredy is twofold – the confidence to strongly take the shot and the ability to put it in. We need more like Fredy.

Handanovic had a decent game, not because he made a mistake but because he didn’t have a whole lot to do, barring making a hell of a save on a tricksy free kick. Pescara isn’t a great team to begin with and I didn’t think they put in their best effort on Saturday either, so taking Handanovic’s performance with a grain of salt… he was handed an easy afternoon and he didn’t mess it up.

Along the same lines of Handanovic we can say that the defense was handed the relatively easy task of keeping Pescara from scoring. No disrespect to Pescara, as I said, I don’t think this was a good game from them and I think we all know that bad games happen to the great and the small. But the emergency cadre of Cambiasso, Silvestre, Chivu and Jonathan managed to pull together and work it out. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the utterly, technically dumb move of Chivu’s backward header to the middle of the penalty box from the edge. His plan was to get it to Cambiasso to start a build up and he was trying to help the team, and it’s kind of endearing in a way that he’s trying so hard. However, having said that, little kids are being taught right now all around the world not to clear to the middle if there is absolutely anyone nearby. Some coaches are even more absolute – never clear to the middle. Keep in mind that Chivu was trained at Ajax, perhaps the best academy – at least in the top 3 – in the world. It’s baffling to me that such a blunder of potentially catastrophic result could happen by someone so trained and with that experience. Maybe I am being too hard on the guy, but I really think that Chivu in his prime was a wonderfully technical and versatile player. At this time of his career I would prefer him to be a solid option, not last season’s Lucio.

Anyhoo, Silvestre was very decent and Cambiasso was his usual good performance so I don’t have any problems there. One last thing on this section, am I nuts or did I notice Cuchu play more like a sweeper in front of the other two rather than behind? I could have sworn that he was attacking the ball further up the field than one would normally expect the "sweeperish" middle guy of a back three to do. I haven’t had a chance to revisit the game, but that was my impression.

On to the attack and really I don’t have much to say here. Cassano was on his game and Palacio was clearly driving the backline of Pescara to tears trying to keep up with him, switching on and off as he roamed in and out of people’s zones. Again, let’s not get to crazy, this was Pescara. Their defense wasn’t what got them promoted last season and they weren’t at their best. But considering all that, it was nice to see chances being made and finished. Inter has been a team that plays down/up to the level of their opponents this season. It was satisfying to see a determined and professional performance by those that one would expect to set the tone – and that includes vets like Palacio and Cassano.

On the flip side, I was disappointed that once the team went up and it was time for Cassano to come off that Strama went to Rocchi. Rocchi had a single shot that looked reasonably lethal – at least it forced a save. But the worry and chatter about bringing in Rocchi was that the young forwards were going to suffer an even bigger lack of playing time with his presence. Coutinho coming in for Cassano against Pescara with the score 2-0 for the last 25 minutes or so is the perfect time for him to come on, isn’t it? Further, Milito coming in on garbage time serves less of a purpose to my mind. Milito on his best day isn’t an impact sub. He changes nothing physical – he’s a guy that plays all game long and takes advantage of a moment’s lapse in concentration. He’s not a guy who burns tired players late in the game. Also, I am so over Zanetti in the midfield. The last time Inter played Pescara, he was constantly burned by Weiss on the right. This time it doesn’t matter because Weiss seemed to be playing on the other side of the field and more towards the center. I love Zanetti, but this seemed like a game he could have started on the bench.

All in all it was a very satisfying game for the Inter supporter, mostly because it was a win in a winnable game. There have been too many games like this where total concentration, execution and effort were lacking to not appreciate this game.