Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
September 2nd 2012, 18:45 GMT
Inter play their first home game of the 2012-13 league season taking on AS Roma at the San Siro. In recent past, Inter vs. Roma showdown has seem some classic games and have gone a long way in deciding the destination of Lo Scudetto. However, that was before both teams fell into hard times.
Interestingly this game will see the oldest coach in Serie A pit his wits against the youngest in the league. Also Stramaccioni will return to the club where he learnt the ropes of coaching. Zdenek Zeman has been known as a maverick coach, with his team focusing only on attack. Stramaccioni has been one of the most highly-rated young coaches in Italy before taking over the team.
Both clubs have gone through a major transformation in summer both in terms of players and in terms of coaches and playing styles. Inter have overhauled their squad making it younger, cheaper and arguably better than what it was last season. Roma too have brought several new faces in almost every playing department, while seeing off some old-timers.
Inter, due to their involvement in Europa league qualifying rounds, have started their season a little earlier than Roma and will be playing their sixth competitive fixture of the season already, while Roma will be playing only their second competitive game of the season.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Samir Handanovic is still recovering from his knee surgery and will be out with Castellazzi deputizing. Christian Chivu is out with a muscular injury while Ricardo Alvarez is also out.
Stramaccioni seems to have settled on a Christmas tree 4-3-2-1 formation, having used it in almost all games. Inter rested several of the first XI for the game against the Romanian side Vaslui in the Europa league qualifying game. Sneijder, Gargano and Milito sat out, while Guarin and Ranocchia only started from bench. All five should return the playing XI against Roma. In addition, Alvaro Pererira was not registered for the game having been signed only last week. He should be in contention to make his first start in Inter shirt, though the coach might prefer not to throw him in the deep end against a team like Roma.
The defence should see Ranocchia partnering Silvestre. Samuel, who made multiple mistakes and is clearly not match fit should be back on bench. Given Zeman’s attacking nature, Zanetti should move back to right-back position as Jonathan simply doesn’t have the quality to stop Roma’s attacking trio.
The all-action midfield of Guarin, Gargano and Cambiasso should be back and it will be interesting to see their battles against Roma midfield.
It is in attack that Strama will face toughest selection headaches. Palacio has been in a peach of form throughout the pre-season, while Sneijder too seems to be rediscovering his touch. Milito being the only quality prima punta available is also in contention. That leaves out Cassano and Coutinho. Cassano who is clearly not fully match fit should start from bench having started both last weekend and the game against Vaslui and will play some role later in the game.
Recent Form: DWWLW (most recent game on the left)
Probable starting line-up (4-3-2-1): Castellazzi(GK); Zanetti, Ranocchia, Silvestre, Pereira; Guarin, Cambiasso, Gargano; Sneijder, Palacio; Milito
Brazilian defender Dodo is still out injured. Michael Bradley is injured and is in a race to be fit for the game while rest of the squad is available for selection.
Zdenek Zeman started his second spell at Roma bringing his same attacking philosophy back with him. Zeman’s teams are always great to watch though sometimes are guilty of being tactically naïve.
He has almost his entire squad available, with Destro returning after serving one-match suspension. Given his expensive acquisition, he should start ahead of Lamela. Totti should play in his familiar trequartista position with Osvaldo completing the rest of the attacking trident.
The midfield and defence should largely be unchanged from the game against Catania. In case Bradley loses his fitness race, Marquinho should take his place in the XI.
Recent Form: DWWWL
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Stekelenburg(GK); Piris, Burdisso, Castan, Balzaretti; Bradley/Marquinho, De Rossi, Pjanic ; Destro, Osvaldo, Totti
Player to Watch Out For
Rodrigo Palacio (Inter)
He will be making his league debut with Inter, having missed his last game due to a suspension. In superb form throughout the pre-season and having scored in the game against Vaslui, he should be one to watch for.
Mattia Destro (Roma)
He will be returning to the club where he honed his skills as a youngster. He should be motivated to prove a point to the Inter hierarchy who stupidly let him go without giving him an adequate chance.
Inter 3-2 Roma
A Zeman team typically means a goal-fest. Inter’s defenders haven’t been in great form and Roma has enough quality to punish them. At the same time the Roma defence simply lacks quality and is bound to ship goals. This has all the makings of a high-scoring game and Inter should finally get their first home win of the season.
Blast From The Past
Written by guest author Arvind Balasubramanian
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