Inter v Sampdoria Preview
Inter go into this game on that back of five straight league wins and confidence is sky-high at the Giuseppe Meazza.
Inter recently enjoyed an away win to Bologna which finished 1-3 to the visitors and Inter showed that they are serious about the Champions League spot this season. First of all I would like to point out the recent improvement in Esteban Cambiasso’s performances this season. On Sunday he turned in a magnificent showing with a goal and an assist to help Inter win this game. Cambiasso has always had quality but most of last season he was mediocre and seemed to lack the creative touch we all know he has, much the same story as the rest of the Inter team last season, but he really has stepped up his game this term and is easily one of Inter’s most important players this term, despite his advancing age.
There are a few more Inter players that have really impressed this season, first of which I would like to point out is Rodrigo Palacio. Signed this season from Genoa, didn’t have much luck at the start of the season which was plagued with injury and didn’t get much chance on the field. Although since his comeback he has put in some very good performances and most importantly, gives Stramaccioni the option of a more attacking formation with the three-man “trident”, which, if you read on paper, would give any defender a wobble at the knees. He marked his first start coming back from injury with a fine volleyed finish against Catania on Sunday October 21st. Then last Sunday turned in another impressive display against Bologna with two assists. Although he finished with 22 goals last season for Genoa, he has always been a “scorer of great goals, not a great scorer of goals”.
Another player who has to be pointed out is Andrea Ranocchia. He had a dire time last year and failed to live up to the hype of one of the most promising talents in Italy and was highly tipped to be let go from the Inter squad past summer. Thankfully Stramaccioni had faith in the young center back and decided to keep him. He has now become the pinnacle of Inter’s defense and has quite rightly earned his place within the Italian national side as well. Andrea has been solid this season, making well-timed interceptions and tackles and has helped Inter to a joint league best of 5 clean sheets, matched only by Juventus, and even got on the score sheet against Bologna with a fantastic looping header.
Onto the game tomorrow against Sampdoria and Stramaccioni has some problems in coming uo with his starting XI. With Ranocchia and Guarin, who are both in fine form, are one booking away from a suspension, and with Inters head-to-head with Juventus this weekend, he may well choose to leave them out of this game to ensure they are available for this very important match.
The situation points towards a three-man attack again, with Sniejder and Coutinho both out injured, my guess will be a front three of Cassano, Milito and Palacio, which has shown to be quite productive in recent showings. Sampdoria go into this game in relatively poor form, losing their last three games and lying quite low in the table. This could, in hand, spur them on and make them more determined to take points away from the Giuseppe Meazza tomorrow. One obvious threat Inter will need to watch out for is the attacking ability of Maxi Lopez, who is a proven match winner in the Serie A, and also the creative ability of Andrea Poli, who, I am sure Inter will be well aware of since his recent loan spell at the club last season.
Predictions: I think this will be a tough game for Inter and they will have to have their wits about them, but I think they should come out on top in a 2-0 win. My guess at the starting line-up will be in goal, Handanovic. A back three of Ranocchia, Samuel and Silvestre. Along the four man midfield starting from the left I reckon Stramaccioni will go for Perriera, Cambiasso, Gargano and Zanetti. And upfront will be Cassano, Milito and Palacio.