Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy
March 06, 2011; 07:30 pm, IST
Back in December, no one placed their bet on Inter retaining their title, come the end of the season. However, that was under Benitez and things have changed remarkably for the champions under the Brazilian Leonardo, who has injected an amount of confidence into this Inter side and has almost made them the force that they were last year.
Nevertheless, the Nerazzurri are still far from their best and have shown the odd inconsistency here and there, which has led to the massively disappointing result in Europe against Bayern. Meanwhile, on the domestic circuit, Inter have not only managed to hold their own but have closed in on Milan at the same time with the latter having a more difficult schedule ahead.
Milan play Juventus away from home and play after Inter finish their fixture, which gives the Nerazzurri a great chance to heap the pressure on Milan. Meanwhile, Leonardo has asked his players to stay focused on their own game. On the transfer circuit, Inter have signed promising and young Dutch wonderkid Luc Castaignos and have been linked with a summer move for Real Madrid defender Pepe.
Genoa has been a mid-table team for a long time now and they have continued that trend this season as well. They sit on 10th position in the Serie A table, with 35 points from 27 games. They are a good 10 points above from the drop zone while a further 11 points behind a Europa League spot. Genoa’s loss to Catania put an end to their 4-game unbeaten run, which was the best since February 2010. The Rosoblu have conceded just 9 goals, away from home, which is the lowest tally in the division. However, they have managed to score only 9 goals on the road.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Cambiasso, Milito and Samuel are still out injured. New signing Ranocchia was stretchered off against Sampdoria and will be out for a considerable amount of time. Inter have somehow managed to keep a clean sheet against Sampdoria last week and it might be the same this week. Ranocchia’s loss means Lucio will be partnered by Cordoba in the centre of defense whilst Julio Cesar will guard the posts. Chivu and Maicon will play the as full backs and will have a lot of chance to bomb the opposite flanks, given the nature of their game.
Zanetti, Motta and Stankovic will form a 3-men midfield with Motta sitting just in front of the defenders. Sneijder will again be the key and has to show his tricks to unlock the Genoa defense, who would be on the lookout for a stalemate. Eto’o and Pazzini will spearhead the attack with Pazzini dropping behind the defenders and Eto’o playing a virtual free role.
Possible Line-up: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Codroba, Chivu, Zanetti, Thiago Motta, Stankovic, Sneijder, Pazzini, Eto’o
Flores, Criscito, Veloso and Destro all miss the trip to Milan through respective injuries. Genoa will most certainly field a 4-5-1 formation given their inferiority against Inter in all the positions. This will naturally lead them to chase the ball throughout the game and sit deep to defend and hit Inter on the counter. Eduardo will have to be at his best to keep the Nerazzurri out with some help by Kaladze and Dainelli. Mesto and Moretti will be looking to stop the Inter full backs given the lack of width the Nerazzurri produce from the midfield.
Milanetto and Kucka will sit deep to help their defense keep out Eto’o and Co. Rossi and Rafinha will be double marking the two Inter fullbacks. Paloschi will sit in front of the two central midfielders and spread the passes to the lone Palacio upfront, when a chance is open.
Possible Line-up: Eduardo; Mesto, Kaladze, Dainelli, Moretti; Rafinha, Milanetto, Kucka, Rossi; Paloschi, Palacio
Inter Milan: W-L–W-W-L
1. Inter have not lost in their last eight encounters with Genoa in Serie A
2. Genoa hold the record for the lowest number of goals scored by the first 13 teams in the Italian first division this season (25).
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Wesley Sneijder (Internazionale)
The return of the Dutchman has been nothing short of fabulous. He has been in a rich vein of form and scored from a sensational free kick against Sampdoria. Sneijder along with Eto’o and to some extent Pazzini have been the only sources of inspiration going forward for the Nerazzurri.
Whilst Eto’o has been a constant thorn in the opposition defense all season, Sneijder is slowly catching up, which will do his confidence a whole lot of good and help his team march towards another trophy. Genoa at home is a perfect setting for Sneijder, as he would be looking to score another goal and also help his team close the gap on Milan.
Inter Milan 3-0 Genoa
Inter have been in great form recently and are breathing on their rivals necks in the table. Genoa have been good themselves but the recent loss to Catania has damaged their confidence a little. Inter should win this comfortably given their dominance at home.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST