Brescia v Inter preview & predictions
On the eve of our week 29 game away to Brescia, after another week without a midweek game, Inter are ready for the unusual Friday evening kick off at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti. This will give us plenty of time to prepare for our Champions league game against Bayern next week. A win against Brescia is essential to keep the pressure on AC Milan especially now they’ve been knocked out of the Champions league they will be even more focused on taking the Scudetto.
Before I go on to the Brescia preview I’d like to wish Samuel Eto’o a very happy 30th Birthday on behalf of all Inter fans around the world. Our legendary striker was born on 10 March 1981 in Nkon, Cameroon and is considered by many as the greatest striker in the world with a fantastic 236 goals in 455 appearances throughout his career and out of them 46 goals have been in his 86 games as an Inter player. Them stats are impressive but he is also the only player to ever win back to back Trebles with Barcelona in 2008/2009 and with us last season. So it is safe to say he’s one of football’s all time greats!
20 man squad
Leonardo has named 20 players in his match-day squad for the Brescia v Inter game (Serie A 2010/11, Week 29), which will be played tomorrow, Friday 11 March, at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti in Brescia (20:45 kick-off).
1 Julio Cesar, 12 Luca Castellazzi, 21 Paolo Orlandoni;
2 Ivan Cordoba, 4 Javier Zanetti, 6 Lucio, 13 Maicon, 15 Andrea Ranocchia, 23 Marco Materazzi, 55 Yuto Nagatomo;
5 Dejan Stankovic, 10 Wesley Sneijder, 14 Houssine Kharja, 17 MacDonald Mariga, 20 Joel Obi, 29 Philippe Coutinho;
7 Giampaolo Pazzini, 9 Samuel Eto’o, 27 Goran Pandev, 54 Simone Dell’Agnello.
My predicted line up
Being a bit of an armchair manager I like to share the formation and line up I would play if i was in Leonardo’s shoes. Given the selected squad I would opt for a 4-3-3 formation consisting of –
Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia, Nagatomo
Stankovic, Sneijder, Kharja
Eto’o, Pazzini & Pandev
“Brescia can adapt their game and play in lots of different ways. They don’t have many fixed positions on the pitch: they play with a three-man back line which can switch to a five that sometimes looks like three…” On the eve of Inter’s trip to the Stadio Rigamonti, Leonardo assessed the Nerazzurri’s next opponents: “They are a very resourceful side. The results they have achieved this year haven’t been through luck – away at Udinese and Roma, for example, but they’ve also been consistent at home. It means we’re in for a very difficult game, another one, because all of Inter’s games are difficult.”
Twenty players are available for tomorrow’s match but Cristian Chivu (“he has a muscle problem and he also picked up a knock to his foot a few days ago, but it’s not serious”), Esteban Cambisaao and Thiago Motta aren’t among them. “But like Brescia, we also have our alternatives,” stated Leonardo, “both in terms of formation and players. It’s pretty normal to have players out for one reason or another, you just have to understand how each player is feeling as the season progresses: that’s our main worry considering there’s a game immediately afterwards on Tuesday.”
To Brescia and then to Munich, and a win would mean a lot in both cases: “Every game is important because if you win it lifts you, you move on with a bounce in your step. The Brescia game is very important and we’re extremely motivated for it.”
Goran Pandev is one who has never lost his motivation: “I’m very happy. The main thing is that he’s back on top of his game, though it hasn’t been easy for him. Goran has responded superbly and he’s been able to do that thanks to his great humility: he’s put the effort in, he’s listened to me and he’s done everything asked of him in training. The results are there for all to see: he’s been excellent in the last two games.”
Inter as a team have been excellent, but generally more so in the second half. However, Leonardo doesn’t see this as being a problem: “There are very few sides around that can maintain the same intensity, the same attacking verve, for the whole 90 minutes. Perhaps only Barcelona are capable of that. What is important is that when you do fade for a while during games it doesn’t prove to be decisive for the result. Your approach to a game is always very important, but so is the way you respond when things don’t go as planned.”
Calciopoli. President Massimo Moratti has been summoned to speak to Federal Prosecutor Stefano Palazzi on 31 March: “I’d really rather we didn’t have to talk about this so much,” commented Leonardo. “Besides, these are things that I really can’t pass judgement on myself because I don’t know enough about it. I believe that the facts should always come to light but beyond that I don’t know what I can say.” And what about the fact that the president has been summoned three days before the Milan derby? “As I said, I can’t pass judgement on these things. I don’t want to go looking for something untoward that isn’t even there, I just want to get it all over with. Of course it’s a bit of a disturbance to everyone, but I hope that at the end of it we can start over with the idea that football is a healthy, passionate game.”
Returning to on-the-field matters, Inter remain the only Italian side still chasing on all three fronts following Roma’s and AC Milan’s exits from Europe this week: “We feel we have what it takes to push on in the Champions League and also in Serie A. I don’t think we have such a great responsibility [as the only Italian representative left]. Knowing we are still in the running in all competitions is very motivating. Every team starts out with the aim of winning all three but we still have to think about one game at a time and concentrate on doing our best in each one.”
Finally, the coach fielded questions on Simone Dell’Agnello’s inclusion in tomorrow’s squad (“I think the Primavera team as a whole deserves recognition, beyond any individual merits, but Simone is an excellent player so it’s natural he should be called up to the first team when needed”) and on Lionel Messi’s goalscoring exploits (“he is incredible, I don’t know if he can be better than Diego Maradona but he’s already up there in that group of truly exceptional footballing phenomena”).
Leonardo is right every Serie A game left is going to be difficult because of the pressure to keep pushing AC Milan with every win, but we all know Inter are more than capable of winning them all as long as they don’t get complacent! Also very high praise for Messi from Leo which no one would argue is justified, what we’d give to see him in a Nerazzurri shirt! Shame I can’t see it happening though not unless Eto’o can convince him to sign!
“As time passes I feel more and more a part of this group: it’s what I was hoping for and what I’ve been working towards so I’m very pleased.” That was how Andrea Ranocchia began his interview with Inter Channel on ‘A tu per tu’.
“Everything has changed for me in the last year,” the defender went on. “That’s the great thing about football. A year ago, right now, I was lying on a bed in a clinic working on my rehabilitation and now I am here, at Inter, in the best club in the world. That makes me happy.”
Ranocchia spoke about some of his team-mates, including Lucio, who “hardly ever makes a mistake”; Materazzi, who “is an important presence in the dressing room”; Cordoba, “who has so much experience and is a great help to the younger players”; Chivu, “a really funny guy”; Samuel, “an amazing player as well as a good person”; Nagatomo, “great fun to be around, even though he hasn’t brought in any of his salted plums for us yet”.
The centre-back then commented on the way Inter’s games have been going: “It’s not only about the second half or the end of the game; it depends on what we do before. If we start off strong, we can get the game going in the direction we want immediately. If we’re slower out of the blocks, as we were in the last game, it’s natural that we should come out stronger in the second half.”
“Personally I’d always rather play first, because if you play afterwards sometimes it might affect your mind a little. I’m speaking for myself of course. But at the end of the day it comes down to the same thing: we have to keep winning so that we match or better their results. Only if we do that can we stay in it till the end,” was Ranocchia’s reply when asked about Inter’s battle to catch up with AC Milan in the league.
The Champions League meeting with Bayern is on the horizon but everyone is focused on Brescia for now: “We know that if we want to challenge for everything we must first beat Brescia, and only then can we think about Bayern. But until the final whistle blows in Brescia v Inter the only thing on our minds is Brescia.”
Finally, a comment on Inter’s comeback against Genoa: “It happened in Palermo too, though in that case it was more difficult. We managed to turn it into a result that had seemed impossible shortly before. We looked each other in the eyes and said to ourselves that we were underperforming and that we had to turn it around. We went back onto the pitch with a very different approach and I think everyone saw that.”
It’s good to see Ranocchia is settling in well with the squad, I see him being an important player for us, I think him, Nagatomo & Coutinho are the future of Inter!
My score prediction
I think despite everything Leo and the players are saying the match against Bayern is going to be playing on their minds so I don’t think they’ll be at their best so I’m going to predict a 0-1 win for Inter.