SerieA: Inter 0-1 Udinese, Ranieri’s tinkering finally costs us
I had high expectations about the week 14 match against Udinese this weekend, from experience of watching Inter throughout the years I know as well as anyone that Udinese always make life difficult for us and this clash was going to be no different with the Zebrette up in the title fight while the Nerazzurri as we all know are pushing hard to get themselves involved up top of the table but are suffering from a lack of confidence that has effected our entire league season so far.
In my opinion before the match Claudio Ranieri should have been giving his players a bit of a confidence boost to ensure we went into the match with the right desire to win but instead during his pre match press conference he was full of praise for Udinese instead which was exactly not what the Inter players needed to hear, and I believe that instead of boosting their confidence this will have had more of a damaging effect on the team morale.
FIRST HALF –
Ranieri started the match with the team set out in the traditional 4-4-2 formation that he loves so much, but to be honest I don’t think it suits our players at all, with the squad we’ve got at our disposal we should be playing a more modern formation that balances the attacking and defensive sides of the team well and causes our opposition the most problems. The starting lineup consisted of Julio Cesar in goal with Walter Samuel and Andrea Ranocchia in front of him, the two wide defenders were Javier Zanetti on the right in Maicon’s position and Cristian Chivu on the left (Why do they insist on playing this guy still? Haven’t you learnt yet that he’s useless?) The midfield had Esteban Cambiasso and Thiago Motta running the center of the pitch with Ricardo Alvarez on the left wing and the youngster Marco Faraoni on the right, even though he is a defensive player. Up front Ranieri decided on the controversial pairing of Giampaolo Pazzini and Diego Milito much to everyone’s surprise.
Inter got off to a great start piling on the pressure to Udinese’s defence but it was Armero who got the first chance on the sixth minute but fortunately for us he slipped and messed up his shot. Just over a minute later it was Milito’s turn to have a go with a brave shot that was off target. Unfortunately I didn’t see any of the match up untill this point because ESPN thought it was more important to show their pundits talking about the Manchester United match until we were eight and a half minutes in to this match, thanks for that guys!
Anyway back to the matter in hand, between me tuning in and the 12th minute the ball was trapped in a midfield battle with neither side getting a break until Torje tried a good-looking shot which Julio Cesar managed to claim cleanly. After this Inter looked to be getting in to their stride and a nice move on the 16th minute involving some great passing saw Milito give the ball to Faraoni who backheeled it to Zanetti who in turned returned it to El Principe in a shooting position but he could only send it sailing high over the bar.
The next chance fell to Udinese as Isla broke on a counter attack and sent a nicely weighted pass to Di Natale, who was judged to be offside, though in the replay I have to say he looked to be played onside by the Inter defenders. Down the other end of the pitch there was another offside call, this time on Milito and again replays showed this call to be wrong and I suppose you could call it karma for the lost Udinese opportunity shortly before.
Soon after Milito’s failed free kick on the 29th minute Motta and Milito played a perfect one- two and the Italian/Brazilian midfielder slid in to beat Ferronetti to the ball and unleash a shot but Handanovic was there to save it.
Alvarez played in Faraoni on the 38th minute and the young Italian played in a stunning cross from the right-wing looking for Pazzini in the box but Udinese’s Farronetti made sure that the ball never reached him. At this point I’d just like to point out that despite Alvarez allegedly was playing the left wing position he spent a large proportion of the match over on the right and although I think he was wrong to be so far out of position I also felt the shouts of abuse he was getting from the Interisti in the stands was uncalled for, he is a talented lad and as Inter fans we should be encouraging him and helping him to grow as a player not giving him abuse for every little mistake after all he’s only young and still learning the Italian game.
Just before half time Chivu crossed in the ball for Pazzini who was again beaten to it but Zanetti collected the ball and getting in to the penalty area had a go on goal which was unfortunately deflected. Before the end of the half our captain got another chance but sent it high but not before another offside call up the other end of the pitch for Torje who was set up by Pinzi. And so an exciting half ended with the score at 0-0, Inter were looking sharp with their creativity but as what has been the case all season we just couldn’t seem to put the finishing touches to the play.
SECOND HALF –
The second half started with yet another one of Ranieri’s confusing substitutions and Yuto Nagatomo came on, not for the disappointing Chivu as you might expect but for Alvarez who despite not having the greatest game was the lynch pin of our creativity up front.
Udinese must have sensed the change in mentality from the Inter change and started putting more and more pressure on the Nerazzurri and in the 52nd minute Torje was played in by Asamoah only for the move to end in a three-way collision involving the Udinese forward, Julio Cesar and Chivu with both Inter players staying down from the clash, though our fears were relieved as both were fine to continue after recovering.
Two minutes later Torje was on goal again with a header that Julio Cesar managed to save easily. The play then moved down to the other end with Samuel some how ending up on the right side of the box to play in a high ball that Pazzini got his head to but couldn’t direct it on target.
Again in the 57th minute Udinese were back on the attack and in the space of a minute Di Natale got two great shots in on our goal with the second almost catching out Julio Cesar. Watching the game it was becoming increasingly clear that it was only a matter of time before Udinese hit the back of the net and with the earlier substitution of Alvarez pretty much all of Inter’s creativity had disappeared with there being only two attack minded Inter players on the pitch, and lets face it even when they are on form neither Pazzini or Milito are great at creating chances as both specialise in finishing.
The hour mark could have been the moment that Udinese took the lead but Zanetti managed to cut out the pass that would have seen Di Natale clean through on goal. Two minutes later Faraoni who had a fantastic debut was suffering with a bit of cramp and so he left the pitch to be replaced by Zarate and we all hoped that the introduction of another attacking player might just give us a boost.
Again though on the 69th minute Udinese missed a superb chance to take the lead as Isla burst forward with Di Natale at his side and only the Inter keeper to beat but instead of taking the shot which would have almost definitely found the back of the net he passed it forwards to Di Natale who was obviously offside.
It was then Inter’s turn to attack and Motta skimmed the crossbar in the 71st minute shortly before Pazzini, with his back to goal, turned past Benatia and fired a shot off just as the game was stopped due to him controlling the ball initially with his hand. His run of bad luck clearly getting to him as it was plainly shown on the Italian strikers face.
Two minutes after the inevitable happened and Udinese took the lead with a lovely play as Di Natale played a through ball into the path of Floro Flores who then fed in Isla who came in on the overlap before blasting in past Julio Cesar. The Nerazzurri tried to react immediately but Handanovic made a great diving save to deny Milito.
Finally on the 80th minute Ranieri saw fit to take Chivu off but replaced him with Dejan Stankovic who I feel, to put it bluntly, should never be allowed back on the pitch in an Inter shirt ever again! A point that he himself reinforced during the remainder of the game. 😦
Udinese weren’t content with the one goal lead and in the 82nd minute Isla got off two dangerous crosses in quick succession that were cut out by both Julio Cesar and Zanetti. After the goal tempers were starting to fray a bit and the frustration showed in the Inter players, and it only got worse as with five minutes to go Zanetti accidentally fouled Asamoah in the box and in my opinion quite wrongly Zanetti was shown his second yellow card of the match and was sent off for the first time in ever in a Serie A match, an incident that has blemished our captain’s illustrious career with the Nerazzurri.
The only plus side of it being that Julio Cesar managed to pull off a great save to keep the score at 0-1, then two minutes later it was Inter’s turn for a penalty up the other end with a foul on Milito by Ferronetti but lady luck really didn’t smile on Pazzini and as he took the spot kick he slipped over sending the ball high in to the stands, incredibly this also resulted in Udinese going down to ten men as Ferronetti saw fit to protest about something after the failed penalty and he too received his second yellow.
Inter got one more chance before the final whistle but Stankovic messed it up and sent his shot high over the bar from the edge of the box. And so Udinese took the three points meaning that Inter remain on 14 points and our worst season in living memory continues.
Inter 0-1 Udinese (HT: 0-0)
Scorer: Isla 73.
Referee: Andrea Gervasoni (Mantova).
Booked: Zanetti 47 + 85, Armero 63, Motta 81, Pinzi 84, Ferronetti 88 + 90.
Sent off: Zanetti 85, Ferronetti 90.
Added time: 2 + 4 minutes.
1 Handanovic; 17 Benatia, 5 Danilo, 32 Ferronetti; 8 Basta, 3 Isla, 66 Pinzi, 20 Asamoah, 27 Armero; 25 Torje (Floro Flores 62); 10 Di Natale (Ekstrand 90+1).
Unused subs: 21 Padelli, 7 Badu, 26 Pasquale, 30 Doubai, 31 Fabbrini.
Coach: Francesco Guidolin.
So once again Inter have failed and our rivals can have a good laugh at our seriously bad league position and form. So what is the reason for the crisis at Inter? In my opinion a huge factor is confidence our players just don’t seem to have belief in themselves, and I don’t want to go on about Mourinho as I have accepted we must move on from him but his philosophies must still stand and the main reason we were so successful in 2010 was because the entire squad had the belief that they could win everything and that is what we need to get back.
The other factor is two-fold and both concern Ranieri, firstly I don’t believe his formations fit our squad and use them to their full potential, as I’ve been saying on Twitter for a while now the perfect formation for us is a 4-2-3-1 but Ranieri will never play a progressive formation like this so I’m just wasting my breath, what we need is a forward thinking coach that knows how to take Inter headlong in to the modern game and enables us to play flowing attacking football but with a solid defensive balance that can cut out any counter attacking moves by the opposition.
The second issue I have with Ranieri is his ridiculous substitution policy, in my previous article on the Siena game I said we were lucky that his substitutions didn’t cost us the game but one day they will and unfortunately that day was the Udinese game.
On the positive side Faraoni had a wonderful debut and is looking very promising so my suggestion to Ranieri and Moratti is to face facts that we’re not going to win anything this season or maybe not even qualify for the Champions league so we must put more faith in our youngsters and use them to replace the old guard this season, they have all proved they are capable of playing at the level required and in most cases are playing much better than the older players we seem to rely on week in and week out so it seems insane to me that we are not giving them more opportunities to prove that it’s time to shift our focus to the new generation. I have complete faith in them so why can’t the powers that be at Inter have some too. If we use them and invest in faster defenders plus a striker that can score regularly we can be at the top again in a couple of seasons where as if we don’t I’m afraid we may see a return to the dark days of the 90’s, A fact that’s not lost on Massimo Moratti who reports suggest was still in the changing room with Ranieri and the players over a hour after the end of the match.
Posted on December 4, 2011, in Serie A and tagged Alvarez, Cambiasso, Cesar, Chivu, Faraoni, Football, Inter, Milito, Moratti, Motta, Nagatomo, Nerazzurri, Pazzini, Ranieri, Ranocchia, Samuel, Serie A, Stankovic, Udinese, Zanetti, Zarate. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.