Category Archives: UEFA Champions League
Another month of disappointment, out of the Champions League, poor performances and after every game wondering how this is going to get better. In the last few days of the month though Massimo Moratti took action and now seems to have begun the rebuilding process, finally there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The results from March/ Marzo
4th March- Inter 2-2 Catania
We scored, Cambiasso cried and we still didn’t win. Awful defending from Nagatomo leading to Gomez of Catania scoring. How Nagatomo could not see what was going to happen, there was only one way Gomez was going to go and the only person who failed to realise was the guy nearest to him. Catania’s second was offside, and clearly so.
When Poli and Obi came on that really added something to the team. They are two players I would like to see either side of Cambiasso a lot more. Do not forget Obi is a centre midfielder not a left midfielder, though he may not have a lot of flair I do believe he can can add something positive to our play. Our first goal came from Forlan making a run inside the area from the wing and tucking away. The second was a lovely finish from Milito rifled into back of the net from just inside the area.
After Inter’s superb win against Chievo last Friday evening and with Marseille losing yet again in their own league the stage was set for the Nerazzurri to turn around the 1-0 first leg defeat. The plan was to show the French side the strength and resolve that Inter has to turn around results like these in front of a packed Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, using the same lineup that produced a winning display in Verona Claudio Ranieri expected his squad to come out fighting and take the game to the visitors.
The reality though was that from the kickoff Marseille looked as though they weren’t happy to just defend their one goal aggregate lead and wanted the away goal to sure up their position ahead of Inter. Less than ten minutes in to the game it looked like Inter would level things off as captain Javier Zanetti took the ball in to the box cutting it back for Wesley Sneijder who just had to chip it in to a fairly open net but instead he hit it low straight in to the goalkeepers body much to the surprise of everyone watching the match.
How it can all change in a month.
How can you evaluate the month just gone. At times we lacked a little luck, at times we lacked confidence lacked quality but to be honest it was quite a pathetic effort by some. If your leaving or want to leave then that’s fine but give your all until that time comes. And I mention Wes purely because I expect a lot more from him one because of his quality and two because how much he’s paid. His body language tells a story and one game in February he had 13 shots on goal, read into that an I truly feel he lost the desire and is playing for himself. A lot of players are not performing and by no means is Wes to blame but he’s paid a lot for a reason, I just haven’t seen that reason for a while.
The results from February
As the typical statement goes a great advertisement for exciting Calcio and a great game for a neutral, shame I wasn’t a neutral. Once again Milito was outstanding how you score 4 at home and still don’t win I’m not quite sure. Why and how did we throw this result away, poor goalkeeping an defensive balance, Miccoli an Palermo seemed to walk right through our defence an knock the ball into the far post. I rate Caesar but his positioning and ability to defend his goal from shots go across is awful.
Read the Don’s analysis of Inter v Palermo HERE
With AC Milan’s 4-0 win over Arsenal last week and Napoli’s 3-1 win against Chelsea on Tuesday night the flag of Italian football was truly flying high, so it was up to Inter to finish the job against Marseille and make it three out of three for calcio. This though, in reality just added extra pressure for our under fire coach Claudio Ranieri to get the right result, with the rumour mill and the world’s media claiming a loss in France would signal the end of his Inter career.
Despite this immense pressure on his shoulders and with Massimo Moratti, his son Angelomario and his nephew Angelo in the stands behind him watching every move and decision, he started the team with the slightly risky 4-3-1-2 formation. His starting lineup consisted of Julio Cesar in goal. Maicon, Lucio and Walter Samuel as you’d expect in defence with Cristian Chivu surprisingly taking Yuto Nagatomo’s place at left back. There was another surprise in the three-man midfield as alongside the obvious selections of Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso, Ranieri started the Serbian veteran Dejan Stankovic?!? No I don’t understand it either considering he had the in form Andrea Poli on the bench. Ahead of these Wesley Sneijder sat in his usual trequartista role behind Mauro Zarate (Yes yet another surprise starter!) and Diego Forlan who was making his Champions league debut for Inter.
First of all I’d like to apologise for my lack of match reports this week but I’ve been ridiculously busy and unfortunately haven’t had the time to dedicate to my posts, don’t worry though I should be back to my usual standard with a full report of Sunday’s match against Siena.
Inter 2-1 Cagliari – Serie A
To keep you updated though I’m going to combine a look at both of this weeks games in this one article starting with Saturday’s Serie A week 12 fixture against Cagliari, I like most Interisti was excited to see the Nerazzurri back in action after over half the month of November without a game due to the postponement of the Genoa match followed by the International break and I tuned in to the match with eager anticipation that this would be a fresh start for Inter only to be greeted by the news that Wesley Sneijder had been withdrawn from the squad due to a muscle injury picked up in the warm up, I presume this is the same one he picked up in Holland’s first game and it has now been revealed that he will be on the sidelines for three to four weeks, this combined with the fact that we were also missing other players including Maicon, Lucio & Forlan didn’t fill me with any great confidence that this game would go any better than other games this season.
Life for Inter at the moment is anything but ideal in Serie A this season but in contrast the Nerazzurri have been flying high in the UEFA Champions League group stage, this in itself is quite unusual as for the past number of seasons including 2009/10 when we won the competition Inter have struggled throughout the group stages and in some cases only managed to qualify on the last game. Many people may put this down to the fact that Group B this year is one of the weakest with Inter being the biggest stature club by quite a long way, but you have to consider some of the teams that have defeated us in the league that have much less quality than the other three clubs in our group, so to me this implies that the Inter players are going in to the UCL games with a completely different frame of mind than they are in the league.
What’s the reason for this? Only the Inter players could tell you that for definite, but I believe that it’s down to the fact that the Champions League is arguably the most prestigious competition not only in club football but also world football and to do well in this competition shows the world that you are one of the elite, this is all well and good but we need to transfer this passion, belief and drive to win to our league campaign too otherwise we don’t stand much chance of finishing in the top three to ensure we are here next season. Anyway I’ve gone of on a tangent here so back to last nights match and after Saturday night’s defeat to Juve Ranieri and the boys had a point to prove and that’s exactly what they did.
No one can deny that the start of the 2011/12 season has been a disaster for Inter with them sitting in the relegation zone at a lowly 18th place with just 4 points from a possible 18 making this possibly the worst ever start to a league campaign in our club’s history. This got me thinking as to who should take responsibility for this disaster? Is it the coaches? The players? or even our beloved President Massimo Moratti? Well in my opinion it’s yes, yes and yes they are all to blame and have contributed to us being in this position.
I then started to think am I the only Interista that thinks this so I decided to ask the Inter Family on Twitter and Facebook to see what the general opinion was and the responses I received proved that there are many issues affecting Inter at the moment, fellow Nerazzurri World writer Hadibase wrote the article Blame the Management: The downfall of Inter Milan in which he gives his opinion on what’s gone wrong.
Despite the ongoing crisis of confidence in Serie A, Inter managed to secure another three points in the Champions league in their away game to Lille and probably more importantly for the confidence of the squad they kept a clean sheet which is something that they have struggled to do for a long time now. So now half way through this season’s group stage the Nerazzurri sit at the top of their group with six points from three games.
It was a fairly cool evening in France as the teams took to the pitch with the temperature down to 10°C and the game will go down in Inter’s history as ‘il Capitano’ secured yet another honour to add to his long list as he made his 100th appearance in the Champions League. The team took to the field in their white away strip and lined up in quite a defensive 4-3-1-2 formation with Nagatomo and Maicon as fullbacks and Chivu covering for the injured Samuel alongside Lucio in the center of defence. The midfield was made up of our three experienced defensive midfielders Zanetti, Cambiasso and Motta with Sneijder who returned from injury playing in the hole behind the strike patnership of Zarate and Pazzini.
Everyone knew after the Novara game that Gian Piero Gasperini wasn’t going to see the end of the next day as the Inter head coach but I can’t imagine that anyone thought that Massimo Moratti and Marco Branca would instate his replacement so quickly. This says to me of course that this has been in the pipeline for a little while and regardless of what has been said in previous weeks Gasperini was rapidly running out of time.
A few months ago when we were originally looking for Leonardo’s replacement Ranieri was amongst the list of candidates so it’s no real surprise that he was chosen. One crucial factor in his appointment is the fact he has been the coach of several top-level clubs and ‘The Tinkerman’ is known to have a talent for steadying a ship, which will be vital after Inter’s disastrous last couple of months. The downside of his appointment is that he is widely considered as ‘the best loser’ as he has a habit of coming close to honours of league titles or cup wins but always coming up short in the end. This isn’t as bad as it seems as long as Moratti only sees him as a short-term solution because with the chaos caused by Leonardo’s departure and Gasperini’s terrible era we need to be realistic and just set ourselves a target of qualifying for next seasons Champions league, anything beyond that would be a bonus and as much as I’d love to see our beloved club return to glory this season we need to settle the squad again and rebuild their shattered confidence, as Roberto Mancini said to the press recently Inter’s winning cycle has come to an end, as Interista we have to accept this fact and realise our priority now is to setup the new foundations to return the club to glory in the coming seasons.
What can I say about last night’s Champions League group stage match against Trabzonspor? Well on a positive note Gasperini dropped his 3 man defence and Inter looked a lot better for it, they defended better, they passed the ball better, they looked more dangerous going forward but for some reason unknown they could not get a goal!
This of course means that Gasperini has now made appearances in all three competitions (if you count the Supercup as a Coppa Italia match) and also lost all three games, not a good situation for Inter or Gasperini as Interisti are now calling for him to be replaced, but it has to be said last night saw a marked improvement on previous competitive displays even though we lacked the right rhythm at times and as Massimo Moratti himself said Gasperini can’t be blamed for the goal that lost us the game. He isn’t entirely blameless though his biggest problem is that the squad don’t seem to have any confidence in him or his tactics and the Inter coach must be all too aware that he’s walking on thin ice meaning that if the result doesn’t come on Saturday against the struggling Roma he could have one of the shortest ever coaching careers at Inter.