Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania, Italy
09th January, 2011, 19:30 IST
Catania has been one of the very few sides in the Serie A to have a fabulous home record. The Sicilians have lost just once at home all season notching 5 wins and 3 draws. On the flipside, their dreadful away record continued against Roma, when Serie A returned after the winter break, with a 4-2 loss. It definitely was a negative start to the year for the men from Catania. However, they’ll take positives from the fact that they have a fortress at home and the visiting Champions could be in for a surprise. The Etnei have 21 points on board and are sitting at the 13th position in the table.
After a dreadful second half of 2010, World Champions Inter Milan have made a positive start to the new year under their new manager Leonardo. Having beaten Napoli 3-1 at home, the Nerazzurri will have grown in confidence. The tag of World Champions, along with the injection of new life, in the form of Leonardo, would have been the catalyst to Inter’s victory on Thursday and every Inter fan will be hoping for the same to continue from now onwards. However, Catania is a tricky place to travel as they have been very good at home.
Inter sits on 7th place with 26 points but they have a couple of games in hand. With the signing of young Italian talent Ranocchia, the Milan outfit has a formidable unit once again, barring a few injuries which should ease back in another couple of weeks. Now is the time for Inter to go for the kill if they want to have any chance to catch up with their rivals.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Izco, Biagianti, Morimoto and Potenza are injured for the Sicilians and won’t feature against the Champions. Catania is expected to field a 4-4-2 formation with Antenucci and Maxi Lopez leading the line for the Sicilians.
At home, Catania has always been positive against all oppositions and the match against Inter should be no exception. With two strikers, they will always be dangerous and with the wingers’ support, they will have plenty of chances. However, to create those chances, they would need to have possession and a midfielder who can do that. This is where they might be overtaken by Inter and can be made to starve for possession. Marco Giampaolo, the Catania manager, knows very well that Inter will be high on confidence after their midweek win. Thus a more defensive approach can be expected from hosts with the intention of hitting the defending champions on the counter.
Possible Starting Line-up: Andujar, Alvarez, Silvestre, Spolli, Capuano, Gomez, Izco, Ledesma, Sciaca, Antenucci, Lopez.
Sneijder, Coutinho, Samuel and Julio Cesar are still injured and will not make the trip to Catania. Eto’o is back from suspension and should start alongside Milito in attack in a 4-3-1-2 formation.
Leonardo has stuck to Inter’s treble winning formation in his first match and is expected to continue with the same formation. Due to the unavailability of Sneijder, Stankovic will be occupying that slot. The trio of Stankovic, Milito and Eto’o is expected to torment the Catania defense at Angelo Massimino. Ranocchia should continue his partnership with Lucio at the centre of defense and provide the guard for Castelazzi, the stand-in goalkeeper.
Catania’s terrific home record will only pave the way for Inter to be wary of the threat posed by the hosts. With the return of Eto’o, the Nerazzurri will have plenty of firepower and the fact that Milto is slowly rediscovering his form, should add to the worries of the host. Maicon has found new lease of life under Leonardo and so has Motta. Good times might just be around the corner for the Champions. Needless to say that a narrow, but confident victory, will do a world of good for Inter.
Possible Lineup: Castelazzi, Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia, Chivu, Zannetti, Motta, Bibiany, Stankovic, Milito, Eto’o.
Inter Milan: W-W-W-L-L
1. Inter have a 90% winning record in this fixture.
2. Catania hase won a solitary match in the last 6 attempts.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Samuel Eto’o (Inter)
The Cameroonian has been Inter’s hot property this season. Having dismissed the rumours of a reunion with Mourinho at Madrid, Eto’o has shown his loyalty towards Inter again. Back from suspension after his infamous incident of headbutt which earned him a three match ban, Eto’o will be looking to put aside all the negatives and start the new year on positive note against Catania. The Cameroonian is Inter’s top goalscorer this season and he will be looking forward to add to his tally of 21 goals.
Catania 1-2 Inter Milan
There is no doubt that Catania is strong at home but with Inter’s positive start to the new year and growing confidence, it will be a bit difficult for the home side to sustain 90 minutes of pressure from the visitors.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST