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Match Preview: Inter Milan vs. Genoa

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A new-look Inter side host 5th-placed Genoa as they look to march up the table and into Champions League qualification.

Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Match Facts:

Date: Sunday. January 11, 2015

Time: 6:30am ET/ 12:30 CET

Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza; Milan, Italy

After an inspiring second half that brought a 1-1 draw against Juventus in the Derby d'Italia, the Nerazzurri are set to play against Genoa, a typically mid-table side doing pretty well sitting in 5th place. There is a 5 point gap between the two clubs and Mancini's men will be looking to cut down that gap by picking up all 3 points on Sunday.

The Inter starting  11 sent out against Genoa will probably be pretty different that ones seen in recent weeks due to situations beyond Mancini's control. Yuto Nagatomo and Ibrahim Mbaye are still gone on international duty, and there are a host of suspensions for this match. Andrea Ranocchia is serving a 1 match suspension for yellow card accumulation, Juan Jesus is serving a 4 match suspension (1 for yellow card accumulation and 3 for his elbow to the face of Chiellini in the last match), and Mateo Kovacic is suspended for his straight red in the last match. Also, it is possible that Pablo Osvaldo will not take a part in this match as further punishment for his antics in the Derby d'Italia against Mauro Icardi.

Due to these suspensions it is probable that Vidic will finally get a league start under Mancini, probably paired with Andreolli in central defense. It also means that new signing Podolski will possibly get his first Inter start in place of Kovacic. New(er) signing Xherdan Shaqiri will probably not start the match but will likely get some playing time as a substitute like Podolski did against Juventus. Both players will be playing for the first time at home in front of their new fans and will be determined to put on a good impression.

Genoa are once again led by the other manager that loves to complain about his time at Inter (no, not Benitez, but Gasperini). They are coming off a draw against Atalanta and are looking to get their first win in four matches. Like Inter, Genoa had a new signing come off the bench to help them secure that draw in Tino Costa, a midfielder on loan from Spartak Moscow. They are missing Diego Perotti and Facudo Roncaglia through suspension.

While Mancini is missing a number of key players, this game against Genoa comes at a time of excitement and hope for the club. The captures of Podolski and Shaqiri are a signal of intent made by Inter to the rest of the league that the club has clear ambitions to get back to the upper echelons of Italian (and hopefully soon European) football. Now that the work is being done in the transfer market, the team needs to back it up with points on the pitch. Genoa may be higher in the standing than Inter at the moment but this is definitely a winnable match. It is time to see if the players can take the positive energy from the fans and help use it to win this match and carry on in search of European football next season.

PROJECTED STARTING XIs

Inter: Handanovic, Campagnaro, Andreolli, Vidic, D’Ambrosio, Medel, Guarin, Palacio, Hernanes, Podolski, Icardi

Genoa: Perin, Izzo, Burdisso, De Maio, Edenilson, Bertolacci, Rincon, Antonelli, Falque, Kucka, Matri

(Predicted Lineups courtesy of Forza Italian Football - I don't make lineup predictions anymore because I usually turn out to be wrong)