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Serie A Preview: Inter vs. Bologna

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The Nerazzurri look to stop the bleeding with a victory over Davide Ballardini's men on Saturday…

Gabriele Maltinti

The natives are getting restless and rightfully so. Instead of leapfrogging Fiorentina and making a run at third-placed Napoli, things are beginning to fall apart.

Inter seemed poised to make a late charge for the last Champions League spot after putting together a six-game unbeaten run with home games against Atalanta and Udinese and a road trip versus lowly Livorno on deck.

On paper it looked like nine points in the bag yet here we are talking about whether the Nerazzurri can snap their three-match winless streak. Classic Inter, always snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Public Enemy #1 for most Interisti is Walter Mazzarri. The 52-year-old manager has come under heavy criticism for the team's lacklustre displays and another setback would likely seal his fate on the Inter hot seat.

While it's unfair to pin all the blame on Mazzarri for Inter's collapse, he has done himself no favors with his team selection. Mazzarri did not physically make the terrible backpass that led to Livorno's equalizer on Monday, but his decision to bring on Guarin for Hernanes allowed it to happen.

So, instead of going full speed ahead and passing teams the Beneamata now have to look over their shoulder with Parma, Atalanta and Lazio all in the rearview mirror.

Relief should come in the form of Bologna, but we know that isn't necessarily the case as Inter has been dropping points to inferior teams all season long.

The Nerazzurri lead Serie A with 13 draws, including 11 against clubs below them in the standings. Seriously.

Bologna is one of those teams Inter could only secure a point against and it was after the 1-1 draw at the end of November when the downward spiral began as the Nerazzurri went on to record only one win in their next nine games.

Inter's Champions League dream is dead and buried, but a fourth-place finish is somehow still attainable as long as the Beneamata can avoid a meltdown down the stretch, which all signs are pointing towards.

Still, there's no way Inter is going to lose to Bologna at San Siro right? At this point, I don't know man.

THE VITALS

Date: Saturday, April 5

Time: 2:45 EST

Venue: Giuseppe Meazza

Inter Probable Formation: 3-5-2: Handanovic; Rolando, Samuel, Juan Jesus; D'Ambrosio, Guarin, Cambiasso, Hernanes, Nagatomo; Palacio, Icardi

Bologna Probable Formation: 3-5-1-1: Curci; Antonsson, Natali, Cherubin; Garics, Friberg, Krhin, Christodoulopoulos, Morleo; Kone, Cristaldo

Operation Spaghetti Bolognese: To kick back and relax with some home cooking so the troops can turn things around after a couple of setbacks.

Enemy Of The State: Ourselves. At this point the empire is going to crumble from within. #FreeKovacic.

Fear Factor: 6: Bologna is as scary as waking up and believing what transpired in your dream actually happened before realizing you wasted half your day worrying for nothing about whatever transgression you committed during REM.

Medal Of Honor: Rodrigo Palacio continues to impress on the battlefield and if Inter is going to secure all three points then the Argentine will most likely play a prominent role.

If Inter Wins: I will crack a Blanche de Chambly or two and laugh at myself for actually being scared to play Bologna.

If Bologna Wins: I will buy my little daughter a Bayern Munich jersey.

Likely Outcome: Inter has won only two of its last seven matches at home and faces a Bologna side that is fighting for Serie A survival. This one is by no means money in the bank. The only thing I can guarantee is that I'll lose my mind at least once in this game, most likely when Guarin fires three consecutive shots 25 feet over the net.