The week 36 game against Parma at the Stadio Ennio Tardini not only marks Andrea Stramaccioni’s first loss in charge of Inter but also brings to an end any hope of the Nerazzurri qualifying for next seasons Champions League. To be honest this was probably inevitable considering the form we’ve been in this season, we should just be thankful that we will be finishing in the top third of the table and hang on to the belief that we can claim a consolation of qualifying for the Europa League.
Despite this loss I still hold great faith in Stramaccioni’s ability to lead Inter and he should not be held responsible for this result, lets face it even Mourinho has lost matches he shouldn’t have in his time and so the responsibility for this loss sits firmly with the players and the defence in particular. I’m getting bored with saying this now as us Interisti identified the defensive line as our weak point at the start of the season yet nearly a year later we are still relying on Lucio and Walter Samuel to thwart the oppositions attacks, as shown in the last few weeks if there’s only one of them on the pitch alongside Andrea Ranocchia then it works enough for us to get the result but more and more commonly when both our aging central defenders are playing together we leak goals like a bucket with a hole in it leaks water. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying Ranocchia is perfect but at the moment him or Cristian Chivu are adding a bit of much-needed security to our backline that Lucio and Samuel cannot offer anymore.
Inter’s week 29 2011/12 Serie A match away for the first time at the new Juventus stadium didn’t end as I was hoping it would. Even though I knew our chances in this match were slim at best, considering the difference in form this season between the Bianconeri and the Nerazzurri, I still held on to that faint glimmer of hope that Inter could be the first team this season to hand our old enemy a defeat.
Of course that was asking too much of Claudio Ranieri and our aged team and even though we didn’t manage to beat them we did put up a good fight and make them work hard for their win.
Ranieri opted for his 4-4-2 formation for the game with just two changes from the squad that flopped against Atalanta last week, bringing in Dejan Stankovic in place of Esteban Cambiasso and Diego Forlan partnering Diego Milito instead of Giampaolo Pazzini. New boy Fredy Guarin made another step towards his debut and was picked to sit on the bench as one of the back up brigade.
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The week 26 match against Catania at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza was being considered a last chance saloon for Claudio Ranieri and just to add more pressure to the Italian coach’s situation, earlier in the day the man most people are touting as his replacement, Andre Villas-Boas, was dismissed from Chelsea FC after an unconvincing season in the English Premier League.
Ranieri himself must have realised he really is close to losing his job as for this match he decided to return to his winning formula of the 4-4-2 formation, opting to put our under fire trequartista Wesley Sneijder on the bench instead of risking once again playing him behind the strikers. Also despite being called up to the initial squad, Claudio decided to play it safe and drop Maicon from the match squad completely as he is still feeling some discomfort in his knee that was injured in the Champions league match against Marseille.
This meant that Javier Zanetti and Yuto Nagatomo took up the full back positions either side of Lucio and Walter Samuel, this is all well and good apart from he started Zanetti as left back and Nagatomo in his weaker rightback position. This of course is from the coach that has publicly said in the past that he’s not convinced by Zanetti as left back?!? New boy Juan Jesus took a step towards making his debut but unfortunately spent the entire match on the bench, this was a disappointment to me as I’m looking forward to seeing what the Brazilian defender can do, and there were times during the match where a quicker defender would have been very useful for Inter.
Coming in to this game against Bologna at the Giuseppe Meazza there was, despite recent form, a confidence that we could turn things around and gain a fairly easy three points. After all the Bolognese team aren’t having the best of seasons themselves and having not played a game for two weeks (their last two games were postponed due to bad weather) were likely to be a bit rusty, this was a must win the situation for Inter and all the odds were in their favor.
This wasn’t to be though as Claudio Ranieri yet again ‘tinkered’ with his tactics and this time fielded a 4-2-3-1 formation, which like last week’s 4-3-2-1 I am a big fan of. These tactics themselves aren’t the problem as in both games Inter held on to a vast majority of the possession throughout the 90 minutes, the problems on the pitch are coming from all the constant changes that Ranieri is making. He needs to stick with a formation, quickly find his optimal starting eleven and only make substitutions during the game when they are desperately needed not just when the whim takes him. These substitutions also need to show a lot more understanding of what’s happening on the pitch as he never seems to make the changes that are so obvious to the rest of us.
What I say about Inter’s performance at the Olympico? To be totally honest I’m lost for words at how things went so wrong for the Nerazzurri, although if I’d wrote this straight after the match I would have had a lot to say but I don’t think any of it would have been constructive. So instead I took the advice of Javier Zanetti and as he suggested in his post match interview I decided not to write anything rash in the heat of the moment and instead I’ve waited until I can analyse things with a calmer mind.
The weekend started badly as Europe’s freezing weather brought a covering of snow to the Olympico which meant that the game’s original schedule had to be postponed until Sunday afternoon and it was looking unlikely that it would even go ahead then, but the ground’s staff and a slight improvement in the weather allowed the game to go ahead.
INTERNAZIONALE MONTHLY REVIEW: Gennaro/January
This is the first of what I hope is a regular monthly review of everything that has happened in the month just passed. Month by month I will look at all things Nerazzurri, the players, the goals, news and all things good, bad and little of the ugly from Inter this month.
After last weeks fantastic derby win and Thursday’s cup win over Genoa Inter’s confidence was high coming in to this weekend’s game against Lazio who sat just one point ahead of us in fourth place and it was this fact that made this match a must win affair. The Nerazzurri came through and secured the fourth place spot but it was a hard-fought battle with the Biancazzurri and it seemed to me that the pressure of moving up a place in the table and keeping the pressure on the front-runners was affecting the players more than they would have liked.
Inter’s passing, movement and general game play throughout the match was disjointed, sloppy and lacked any real confidence or commitment. Lazio aways looked the most likely to score and their veteran Tommaso Rocchi’s goal came as no real surprise to either side’s fans.
First of all I’d like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year, and what a start to the year Inter had last night! Before the winter break the Nerazzurri found their form in the last four games of 2011 ending with the fantastic 4-1 thrashing of Lecce in December and then came the winter break, two weeks without a match that for me seemed to last for a lot longer but my main concern was that the great form we found would be lost with the lack of matches and momentum.
I shouldn’t have worried though because as it turns out, Inter actually managed to improve further during this time and started 2012 with what was undoubtably their best performance of the season, the game had everything from goals galore, moments of great skill, even when Ranieri brought on his substitutes they were the right players and most importantly we kept a clean sheet. All in all it was the perfect game for Inter.
Inter came out on to the pitch at the Guiseppe Meazza on a cold December Saturday night that marked his 90th Birthday and the tenth Anniversary of the death of Inter legend Peppino Prisco and the Curva Nord paid tribute through their banners to the great man who in my opinion was one of the most devoted Interisti to ever live. The squad themselves also paid a fitting tribute by securing the three points with a confident display and two great goals.
This match also marked the first ever Serie A match that our captain has missed in his career due to a red card in the previous match against Udinese, but our defence was bolstered by the return of both Maicon and Lucio. Ranieri decided to line up with a tradition 4-4-2 that consisted of Julio Cesar in goal after being rested midweek against CSKA Moscow, Maicon and Yuto Nagatomo took the wide defensive positions with our two powerful centerbacks Lucio and Walter Samuel in front of the keeper. Marco Faraoni again was chosen to hold the right-wing while Coutinho sat on the left of the defensive midfield duo of Thiago Motta and Esteban Cambiasso who was the stand in captain for the match.
Up front Ranieri had yet again decided to play both Giampaolo Pazzini and Diego Milito side by side even though previous games have shown beyond doubt that they are too similar in styles to work well together. Unsurprisingly throughout the first half this was again evident as both players continued to make the same sort of runs.
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.