Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy
April 09, 2011, 09:30 PM IST
A week that was supposed to be season defining for the Nerazzurri, the blue half of Milan is holding it’s breath for a miraculous recovery for Inter Milan. Everything started off with the Milan derby when arguably the two fiercest rivals in Italian football faced each other in the quest for a Scudetto last Sunday. Football fans around the world expected Inter to finish off Milan’s hopes for a title considering both the teams’ form back then. Yet, the Rosonerri were the better team on a day they had to perform and proved they still are the best team in Italy this season. Leonardo’s naivety combined with the lack of penetration into the Milan defense meant that Inter were always susceptible to counter attacks which led to Milan winning 3-0.
This was followed by one of the most horrendous performances by a defending Champion in the European Cup. Inter took on underdogs Schalke who surprisingly pulled out one of the shocks of the season when they defeated Leonardo’s men 5-2 at the San Siro. With virtually both hands(trophies) tied behind their back, Inter will need a miracle to repeat last year’s triumph. Inter have not only lost to Milan, but have surrendered the second place to Napoli who are having a brilliant season themselves. Nothing is impossible, but with just 7 games remaining, Inter will have to win all their matches starting from Saturday against Chievo. Meanwhile, Leonardo has confided about his side’s title chances.
Chievo are 6 points away from the relegation zone and have collected 36 points from 31 games. If they have any chance of avoiding a drop into the second division, they should collect atleast another 10 points in the remaining 7 games which would definitely see them through. The Flying Donkeys ran out 2-1 winners surprisingly the last time these two teams met back in November. A result similar to that is possible considering Inter’s form off late and their vulnerability at the back. This has been emphasized by Chievo’s Stefano Pioli.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Samuel is still out for the Nerazzurri but the return of Lucio after his suspension should solve their defensive problems. Stankovic will be out after he pulled his hamstring against Schalke. Chivu will also be out with a suspension after he saw red against Milan.
After a match to forget against Schalke, Julio Cesar will be hoping to keep a clean sheet against the Flying Donkeys. Young Ranocchia will be relieved to see Lucio back after he saw his partner Chivu get sent off in the last two matches. Maicon and the more expressive Nagatomo will be deployed in the full back positions after the latter came on as a substitute against Schalke.
Cambiasso will take the key defensive midfielder role for Inter with Zanetti and Motta will support the Argentinean and also provide width for the Nerazzurri. Sneijder as usual will be starting in the hole behind the two strikers Eto’o and Milito.
Eto’o has no doubt experienced a lot of fatigue after carrying his team for the last 8 months. The return of Milito should be a welcome sight for the Cameroonian as he looks for help up front. The latter also notched a goal against the Germans and should be a real threat going forward.
Possible Line-up: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Ranocchia, Lucio, Nagatomo, Zanetti, Thiago Motta, Cambiasso, Sneijder, Milito, Eto’o
Chievo will probably line up with a 4-5-1 against their wounded opponents. Sorrentino will guard his posts whilst Sardo and Montovani will be the full backs for the Flying Donkeys. Andreolli and Mandelli will have to be at their best starting in Central Defense against the likes of Eto’o and Milito.
The midfield shapes itself up with Fernandes and Bogliacino providing the width to hurt Inter on the counter attack. Rigoni and Constant will occupy the defensive midfield role and will be the key to stopping Inter. This should leave Pellissier in an advanced midfield role or in the hole to support Moscardelli who will be the lone man upfront against the vulnerable Inter defense.
Chievo will be wary of Inter’s threat going forward but at the same time they will be confident that they can hurt the Milanese on the break.
Possible Line-up: Sorrentino, Sardo, Andreolli, Mandelli, Montovani, Fernandes, Rigoni, Constant, Bogliacino, Pellissier, Moscardelli
Inter Milan: L-L-W–W-D
- Inter have scored four goals in each of their last three games against Chievo at the Giuseppe Meazza.
- Chievo’s 2-1 win earlier in the season snapped a 12-game winless run against the Nerazzurri.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Esteben Cambiasso (Internazionale)
Undoubtedly, Eto’o has been Inter’s best player this season. But the return of Argentinean Cambiasso boosted Inter’s chances for a trophy back in January. Cambiasso did perform well for the last two months but has been a bit below par in the last couple of weeks. If Inter are to come out of their defensive slump, the underrated Cambiasso has to be at his best in helping his defenders keep a clean sheet.
At the same time, he has to link play between the defense and attack. A goal would be an added bonus for the Nerazzurri. But most importantly Inter need their defensive midfielder to be at his best when they are conceding goals left, right and from all over the pitch.
Inter Milan 3-1 Chievo
Defeats in the last two matches have hurt the Nerazzurri’s title chances in both the domestic and European fronts. If they have any chance of conquering yet another Scudetto, Inter have to win against Chievo. They will be more motivated considering their opponents defeated them in the reverse fixture. A clean sheet is highly unlikely for Inter but a hard fought victory will put them right back into the title race.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST