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Internazionale: Mid Season Report Card

Now that we are half way through the season I thought it’ll be a good time to reflect on what we’ve seen so far. The pre-season brought us a lot of change. Ibrahimovic, Maxwell, Cruz, and Crespo were the main people to leave.  In came Eto’o, Milito, Motta, Arnautovic, and Sneijder. Recently we welcomed in Goran Pendev, and bid farewell to Viera. We gave up a few too many youngsters in the Milito and Motta trade for my liking (Bonucci!!!!). However this might go down as one of our best transfer seasons in history, at least in the Massimo Moratti era.

Many people thought we would be doomed once we lost Zlatan and our domination would be over. Yet people forgot that we have the deepest squad in Seria A and have one of the best coaches in world football.

The team as a whole leads the league in goals (41) that’s nine more than the nearest rival. Inter is tied for the best defense (17). We lead our league by eight points and we’ve qualified for the knock out rounds of the Champions league.

The Grades:

A

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Wesley Sneijder: If ever anyone deserves to be the MVP of the half way point it has to be him. The guy gets told by Real Madrid to f*** off after their crazy summer campaign. Joins us with a major point to prove and has fit in perfectly. The guy does not know what it means to lose and the stats back him up. In all the games he’s played we haven’t lost; 12 wins, 4 draws. Without him five wins, two draws, and four defeats. Wesley has changed the way we play and his leadership is crucial.

Diego Milito: The anti-Ibra. He works hard and never complains. 23 appearances and 12 goals. He plays better with a second striker, but he hustles when asked to play alone.

Walter Samuel: The Wall is having one of his best seasons for sure. A big reason why we have the best defense in the league. Oh and he scores goals to boot.

Samuel Eto’o: I’ll give him an A minus for now just because we all know he can do better. I want to see more away goals to push him up to an A. Still not complaining though, he has scored 10 goals.

B

Mario Balotelli: It’s incredible that Mario is 19 years old with all he’s achieved so far. If it was anyone else he’d definitely be in the A group, but because I have visions of what he can become I will put him here for now. It’s a shame he gets a rough ride where ever he plays, and that the media puts too much pressure on him. This guy is a future Golden Ball winner without a doubt in my mind. He scores important goals and changes games. Six goals and five assists for a teenager are magnificent.

Lucio: I have mixed feelings about Lucio since his Bayer Leverkusen days. He gives me heart attacks every single week. He does have a major benefit that’s for sure; cutting out attacks before they start and his distribution is excellent. His mistakes are costly though and that’s what bothers me the most.

Esteban Cambiasso: He hasn’t been the same since picking up that injury in pre-season. He is very important to us though. His form was coming back before the break and I’m hoping he recovers quickly from this latest setback. His tactical intelligence is extremely high, and he is the coach on the pitch. One of my favorites of this team.

Dejan Stankovic: He is also another one who isn’t the same this year. He spoiled us last season with his excellent performance. He is still extremely important to us, and when he’s on we are so much better.

Javier Zanetti: Consistent!

Ivan Cordoba: Sits on the bench without a complaint. Samuel gets injured and slots in perfectly and we don’t skip a beat. Loves the club.

Douglas Maicon: It looks like a dip in form has hit him recently. He is a major cog in our team and bails us out plenty of times. Defense, offence, and tons of energy.

C

I’m not going to go into great detail for the C group. Motta is up and down. When he is up the football is beautiful. I just wish he could do it more often. I’m not a fan of Muntari as I think he gives the ball away way too much. I liked him in the left back role he played twice. Chivu in my opinion is a central defender. He works hard at left back but doesn’t attack as much. Ironically he had his best offensive game this season at Chievo, and then he unfortunately got injured. Julio Cesar by his own admission hasn’t been the same due to contract negotiations. Well Julio that contract has been signed for a while now. I expect the best goalkeeper in the world back!

D

Heres to you making it on that trip

Quaresma has played one decent game since we got him. I’m still waiting for something from this guy. Mancini? Remind me why we bought him? Santon needs to take this opportunity if he really wants to go to South Africa. He has a great chance to prove to Inter they don’t need Kolarov. The rest haven’t played enough to get a grade.

I’m really looking forward to the second half of the season and the Champions League matches. Let me know what you think about the grading system.

Forza Inter Siempre

Quick Entry

I have to admit I’ve been so lazy with the blog, but its been kinda busy for me lately. Well, I’ve been keeping myself busy. Here is a quick entry.

Gabriele Marcotti writes about what it means now that Roberto Mancini is a free agent. What I like about Marcotti is that he isn’t knee jerk like a lot of the football writers out there. Here he gives great analysis as to how Mancini can affect the footballing landscape. Mancini is a good coach, and was really good with Inter. He managed a lot of big egos, he knows how to manage a league competition, and he’s done well with struggling teams before coming to Inter. Whoever gets him is going to be pleasantly surprised. Those who point to his Champions League record need to know all the factors that led to all those exits. It wasn’t all on him.

Speaking of Inter i really hope we stop this Jekyll and Hyde difference in form when we face Kiev tomorrow. Is a win too much to ask for? Please?

And now for a few laughs via Hussah:

See you all soon.

Champions League: Inter vs. Barcelona

45 years and counting

45 years and counting

After a long wait the big game is upon us. Okay so it’s only the first game of the Champions League season but its been a long wait since we got dumped out of the competition last season. And I will be the first to admit Inter has sucked in this competition for 45 years. 45! That is crazy considering we had won it back to back and were playing the final to become the first team in history to win the European Cup three times. Since then its been a lot of near misses and spectacular disasters. I still love this competition though and I love the Inter squad that Moratti and Mourinho have assembled this year and will remain optimistic that we will go far and we will be protagonist in this competition.

No better way for Inter to start off the competition than against the reigning champions. A team that has been playing together for several years now and has its own culture of playing the game. Barcelona plays the best looking football in the world right now and the type of football all teams aspire to achieve. They hold on to possession, pass you to death and create chance after chance till they score. Then score, then score some more. They’ve built the team from the youth system and have added a few players here and there just to complete the setup. This year they’ve added only two players who happen to be ex-Inter players; Maxwell and Ibrahimovic.

This game has tons of plot lines to make it that much more juicy than the line-ups and history of the teams already suggest.

Carry us to the promised land

Carry us to the promised land

  • The Return of Ibra: By now we all know the circumstances in which Zlatan Ibrahimovic left us and all the things hes said about us since he’s left. Ungrateful. However we did get Eto’o and 50 million Euros that paid for Lucio, Motta, Schneider and Milito. So basically thanks Ibra and hope you have a good time in Spain. There has been a huge Internet debate as to how the Inter fans should treat him during the game. I personally am siding with the indifference argument as a man with his ego will be hurt more by silence than booing.
  • The Champions League Debut of Diego Milito: Can you believe that a player of the quality and class of Diego Milito has never played in the Champions League? Well what better game to show what the world has been missing than this one. Since his arrival he has been such a pleasant surprise. He is the anit-Ibra; selfless, modest, hard working and a genuinely nice person. This isn’t to say I didn’t like Zlatan, but this guy is the complete opposite. His understanding with Eto’o and Balotelli has been quick and he is fun to watch.
  • Points to Prove: Eto’o, Ibrahimovic, Schneider. These three all have certain points they wanna prove to the world. Ibrahimovic wants to one up Inter and show them that he is in a team that plays his vision of football, and that he can play on the biggest stage. Eto’o want to show Barcelona that they made a huge mistake letting him go. All the quotes you here from his former teammates is that they were shocked he was sold. The guy was clutch in the biggest games, scored in said games yet was still let go. Not only was he let go he was included in a transfer that made it seem his value was not that of a guy who just scored in both their last two CL finals. Wesley Schneider will be playing with a chip on his shoulder all season to prove to Real Madrid that they have no idea what they are doing. They let go of a star and he will show them what he could do to their biggest rival. Can’t wait to see what he does.

The line-up has been announced by Mourinho in yesterdays meeting: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu; Zanetti, Stankovic (or Muntari), Motta; Schneider; Eto’o, Milito. That is the A+ squad. Cambiasso on the bench will give a huge boost to the team as to me he is the most intelligent player we have and his importance to the team is immense. Balotelli will definitely get a chance to play in this game at some point especially after his influential performance against Parma.

120522

Points to prove

Inter and Barca have had a great relationship in recent times. Massimo Moratti and Joan Laporta have had a great relationship. Business between the two clubs is always smooth and I hope it stays that way. I also hope we put in a performance that will make the rest of Europe rise up and notice.

Forza Inter!

Inter v. Parma

120421

The Dream Team

Finally the international break is over and we can get back to watching real football for a change. This break felt like it was forever especially since I was travelling during the last two weeks, and was only able to watch the first half of the Milan derby. Today will be the first time I can watch Inter properly with this fantastic squad Moratti has assembled for us. Today is a tricky situation as the main job of Mourinho is to keep the players focused on Parma and not on Barca. The result will show how focused the boys are and I’m sure they will be as they are a group of professionals who have been there and done that.

Likely Formation: 4-3-1-2

Julio Cesar; Maicon Lucio Samuel Santon; Zanetti Viera Motta; Sneijder; Eto’o Balotelli

I think Inter has all the tools to win this game. We will be looking to get into the best form before the Barcelona game coming up and so a smooth ride here today is what we need. Parma isn’t a push over by any means. They’ve had a good start to the season so far and are looking like this seasons surprise package. They have a nice blend of youth and experience and are playing with confidence. However, I think Inter has to remind them who the Seria A  Champions are and will get a nice win in the end.

Also make sure to check out Genoa v Napoli tonight. It should be a great game.

Calcio Is Back!

mourinhoFinally! The season is about to begin. It has been a long summer full of rumor, intrigue, and your usual Mourinho attack. I am personally very excited about this new season and the new Inter squad. This is probably the best transfer campaign I’ve witnessed since becoming a fan of the nerazzurri and we still might get Wesley Schneider on top of that. Inter this season has enough quality to play in many formations but the base of it all will be the 4-3-1-2. This is becoming the defacto formation for Serie A and is beginning to spread around Europe as Ancelotti has taken it to Chelsea with him. I’ll be talking about tactics in my next entry.

There is a lot to look forward to this first week of the season but first the projected starting line up based on most of the publications I’ve seen:

Julio Cesar

Maicon          Lucio          Chivu          Zanetti

Muntari          Viera          Motta

Stankovic

Milito          Eto’o

I personally would like to see Santon make that left back position his own, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing him enter the game at some point with Zanetti moving up the pitch. Balotelli will definitely be making an appearance at some point in the game as well. It is also a shame about Cambiasso missing out for five weeks as he is the heart of the team. The on-field coach. Thankfully we have Dejan and Viera to cover for now.

What to look for:

  • System and style of play. Since Ibra left so has the “give the ball to Zlatan and lets see what happens” tactic of the last three years. Here’s hoping for a more fluid attacking play.
  • Eto’o-Milito partnership. These two can score an insane amount of goals this season but they have only been practising together for a few weeks. Have they gelled?
  • Lucio. The Brazilian captain should bring a different style of defender to our team. Him and Chivu are both really good with the ball and will bring that defensive line up a lot further on the pitch.

I’m also very curious to see the other games of the opening weekend. The new look Juve and the two excellent Brazilians they got. Genoa, Napoli, Palermo. These three teams have improved dramatically and will be looking for Champions League spots. Roma and Lazio are both ready to get back to the top. AC Milan won yesterday and looked good for the most part. Pato is a stud.

This is a big year for Calcio and I can’t contain my excitement.

Forza Inter!

Eto’o – Ibrahimovic Swap

Smiles All Around

Smiles All Around

Now that the dust has finally settled on the Eto’o – Ibra switch I can finally breathe and get back to a normal sleeping pattern. Maybe now I wont have to check the Internet every 10 minutes for news and breaking news, rumors and speculation. Although there is that matter of a fantasista that Inter is still looking for so I will be still addicted to the net for a little while longer.

In terms of a business deal I have to congratulate Inter for what they did. Eto’o plus 46 million Euros for Zlatan is just good business. They didn’t lose much on age, and they get a guy who scores tons of goals, and goals in the biggest of games. To get that much cash on top of that is just fantastic, this coming from a club who gave away Cannavaro to Juventus for a backup goal keeper. The same club who traded away Seedorf and Pirlo for nobodies and had nothing to show for it. Who decided including Stephane Dalmat (remember him?) into negotiations for Alessandro Nesta was a deal breaker only to see him move to AC Milan. So this is really good business on Inter’s part.

Bit soon to be kissing badges

Bit soon to be kissing badges

As a fan though it was very stressful as I am a huge Ibra fan. He is one of the most fun players to watch. All his goals are spectacular, never tap-ins. Great passing, flicks and touches. He truly is magical. I also was his biggest defender when the big game argument showed up, because even though he didn’t always score in those games, he did give assists and open up space for the other guys. Recently though I ran into an article that listed the teams Zlatan has scored against and his performances in the Champions League and I guess there is truth to the argument. I will link to it when I find it again. My biggest problem with him though was he was never into the whole team concept. All his transfers were about whats best for him. He was never going to be with us forever and I’m just glad I saw his magic in our Black and Blue for a while. All I know is I’m gonna have to watch a lot more Barca games this season.

So now we have a new player to support. A pure number 9! This is a guy who scores so many goals and on the biggest stage all the time. Two goals in two Champions League finals. Its rumored that in contract negotiations when they were trying to figure out his goal bonus he told the club that he gets paid for his goals, and that his bonus should be for every Champions League they win. That won over the entire negotiation team and the rest was much easier to navigate.

I’m very excited about this new Inter. We have an extra 46 million to find a play-maker, and more will come in after we sell the unwanted guys (Rivas, Viera, Mancini, Burdisso, Obinna). We already got some great players this transfer market. It should make for some excellent football.

Forza Inter!