Date: Wednesday. January 21, 2015
Time: 3:00pm ET/ 21:00 CET
Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza; Milan, Italy
Fans and manager alike were not happy following the 0-0 draw with Empoli on Saturday, and luckily enough there is another match already to allow the team to get out all its frustrations, with the potential to march on to Mancini's first trophy on his return as an added bonus. The Nerazzurri have won the Coppa Italia 7 times in the past, and while this cup usually is not high on a manager's priorities, winning a trophy would look really nice for Mancini's first season back.
4 time cup winners Sampdoria are coming into this match in decent form, with a 2-0 win against Parma capping off a record of 3 wins and 2 draws in their last 6 matches. While the club has been looking to bring in ex-Inter favorite Samuel Eto'o back to Italy, the deal has not been completed yet. Their other big target in the attack Luis Muriel from Udinese has arrived at the club, but is injured so he will not be playing against Inter.
Looking to Mancini's squad, there really aren't any surprises in the list. Ranocchia is out injured, but it looks like it will not be too serious, with him being sidelined for around too weeks. Juan Jesus is expected to start the match so he can keep his fitness levels up, since he is still banned in the league following his suspension after the Derby d'Italia. Carrizo will probably get the nod in goal and Shaqiri will also likely get a reasonable degree of playing time just to get a feel for his surroundings. Aside from those, given the expected rotation in cup matches its a tossup who plays tomorrow.
Cup matches are usually a good time to step back, take a breather and refresh the regulars before jumping back into the league. Since Coppa Italia matches are single-game elimination until the semi-finals there is a little more pressure, but still not all that much. But like I said before a trophy is a trophy and a solid win against a team in good form will look nice after the not-so-inspiring performance last weekend. A spot in the quarterfinals is at stake (against the winner of the Napoli-Udinese match) so let's cheer our team to victory!
Also, I know this is supposed to be a preview for the Coppa Italia game but I wanted to mention this. After the Empoli game the Serie A season is now halfway completed at 19 games. Inter are in 9th place with 26 points, level on points with AC Milan, and 7 points back from that final Champions League place. The team is still in contention for that spot, but just on the outside of contention. If there is going to be a time to get a run going, to push for 3rd place, that form needs to begin soon. Why not get that momentum started tomorrow in the cup?
We didn't create a "projected starting XI" for this match because it's Coppa rotation, and it's really anyone's guess as to who takes the pitch at the starting whistle tomorrow. Tell us who would be in your starting XI using the 24-man rosternamed by Mancini earlier today.