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Serie A Preview: Inter vs Catania

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The Nerazzurri hope to pick up the pieces with a victory over the Sicilians…

Claudio Villa

Inter is still looking for its first win of the calendar year after falling to Genoa 1-0 last Sunday in muddy conditions reminiscent of the original Woodstock.

The Nerazzurri are currently down on their luck, managing just one win in their last eight outings with morale currently at a season low.

The only thing Interisti have been able to cheer about lately was the integral role they played in quashing the Fredy Guarin for Mirko Vucinic swap deal that would have undoubtedly come back to haunt the club for years to come.

I took great pleasure in poking fun at Milan in my last preview as it hovered just six points above the relegation zone last week and hired a new manager with absolutely no experience . A gong show I called the state of affairs at Milanello.

Lo and behold, Inter decide to one-up its city rivals in a bizarre he-said, she-said affair with the most hypocritical, vile and cunning Old Lady in all of Italy.

The saga can only be described as a clown show, which UrbanDictionary.com points out as "people really screwing up an activity that should be fairly straight forward." 

I'm glad there is some action taking place on the pitch this weekend to say the least. Catania is last in Serie A and has been held scoreless in four of its last six games.

On paper, this seems like a no brainer considering Inter brushed the Sicilians aside 3-0 in their first meeting of the season.

However, with the Beneamata reeling both on and off the field a victory over Rolando Maran's men is by no means guaranteed.

THE VITALS

Date: Sunday, January 26

Time: 9:00 ET

Venue: Giuseppe Meazza

BATTLE DOSSIER

Inter Probable Formation: 3-4-2-1: Handanovic; Campagnaro, Rolando, Juan Jesus; Jonathan, Taider, Cambiasso, Nagatomo; Alvarez, Palacio; Milito

Catania Probable Formation: 4-3-3: Frison; Peruzzi, Spolli, Bellusci, Biraghi; Izco, Lodi, Plasil; Castro, Bergessio, Keko

Unavailable For Duty: Mauro Icardi is still nursing a troublesome groin strain and will miss Sunday's festivities.

Operation Salvage The Shipyard: The objective is to survive as long as we can in a holding pattern until our promised reinforcements arrive and the enemy is able to encircle us.

Enemy Of The State: I'm so glad Pablo Barrientos is suspended and won't feature on Sunday. Did this sound like a plausible scenario to you? He knows Inter has not signed a striker in the winter transfer window, realizes he's Argentine and nets a hattrick in the hopes of grabbing the Nerazzurri's attention. Dio mio… The back line doesn't really need to be on the lookout for anybody really with Barrientos banned, they just need to keep things simple.

Fear Factor: 6: Catania is as scary as your woman's best guy friend, who conveniently comes over 15 minutes after a major dustup to comfort and console her with a bottle of his best red in one hand and an Ipod full of Portishead tracks in the other, all the while flashing a sardonic smile in your direction as you leave the house.

Medal Of Honor: Where is the Ricky Alvarez we all knew and loved from earlier in the campaign. 'El Chupacabra' has fallen off the map in recent months and a fresh sighting would give the Nerazzurri a major boost.

If Inter Wins: I will drink the Founders Breakfast Stouts that are still sitting in my fridge from last week as I didn't think they merited the punishment of being downed in guilt and sorrow.

If Inter Loses: I will fantasize about penning a piece on how Inter should hire Walter Zenga, sell every veteran not named Javier Zanetti and play the kids for the rest of the season.

Likely Outcome: As much as I would like to say the Beneamata are going to stop the bleeding against the Serie A cellar dwellers, a little voice inside of me is warning me that we haven't seen the worst just yet. Still a loss to Catania would be shocking, a drab draw, not so much.