The 2011/12 Serie A season has been a very hard one for all involved with F.C Internazionale, with everyone from President Massimo Moratti, the players, backroom staff and even the fans feeling the pressure of a season that has seen more defeats than any in recent memory and the ongoing crisis has deepened for Inter after their latest defeat to Napoli, making it eight games in a row without a win for the Nerazzurri, what is even more worrying is the fact that seven of those have been defeats and even in the one draw they achieved in that time there was still four goals conceded.
The Nerazzurri now sit in 7th place on 36 points which is a massive nine points behind Lazio in their targeted Champions league qualifying 3rd place and any chance of challenging for the Scudetto is long gone with AC Milan in 1st place, 15 points ahead with just 13 games left to play this season. On paper with a lot of lucky results Inter could still do it but the reality is that any dreams of their 19th Scudetto must wait until at least next season now.
From January the 1st rumours were flying all over the world about who was linked with Inter and who was leaving Inter but the whole of the month seemed to revolve around the Tevez transfer saga in which it seemed Inter were half heartedly chasing Manchester City’s want away striker just to drive the price up for rivals AC Milan, I have no doubt that there was no real desire in the management of the Nerazzurri to sign him at all, but regardless this worldwide story dragged on for nearly the entire month.
This meant that the one transfer that we acknowledged as being lined up, which was Juan Jesus, still hadn’t been completed by the 30th of the month and with just one day left of the transfer window it was looking very likely that Inter’s mercato was going to be a complete disaster. Then on deadline day itself Branca & co did what they do best and pulled some great deals out of the bag.
It’s beyond doubt now that Wesley Sneijder is no longer the asset that he was in the ‘09/10 treble winning season at Inter. Having lost 2 out of their last three games and drawing most recently against Palermo, the dream run that the Nerazzurri has had since December has now come to a halt.
Without trying to connect dots and blame recent results on just one player, a true fan of Inter Milan knows just how important the Dutch playmaker is to the squad. When he is in form, of course.
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.
What a weekend for us Interisti and what a game! This season’s first league Derby Della Madonnina was hugely hyped up around the world, more so than usual it seemed, and with both teams being in the best form of the season it was looking to be an epic game. Unfortunately to be honest it wasn’t quite the classic match I had expected and my predicted score of 2-3 to Inter was a fair few goals off the reality but what is important is the fact that Inter won and closed the gap on the top of the table by another 2 points. (Juventus of course gaining only one point this week from being held to a draw at home by Cagliari, *Childish chuckle* 😉 )
This fixture of course was the Rossoneri home fixture and they were looking to hold on to their record of not losing at home since 18th December 2010 when Roma defeated them, led by none other than our very own Claudio Ranieri, so it was quite fitting that this record was broken by the same man in his very first Milan Derby. Before the match both the Curva Sud and Curva Nord Ultras gave their usual stunning displays, shown above and below, and the scene was set for the greatest city derby in the world to begin for the 190th time since the 1929/30 season.
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.
For the third time in a row Ranieri’s Inter were victorious continuing the fantastic come back that has seen the Nerazzurri rise from sixteenth place to now sit in fifth with 23 points after winning five of our last six matches, ok so by the end of the evening we could be in sixth, if Napoli beat Roma tonight. But even if that’s the case the recent revival of Inter proves we’re still a force to be reckoned with and even if it’s a long shot we are still in the running for the Scudetto and more realistically Champions league qualification.
The home side lined up with a formation of 4-4-1-1 that consisted of Francesco Antonioli in goal, a back line of Gianluca Comotto, Steve Von Bergen, Guillermo Rodriguez and Maurice Lauro. Their four man midfield saw Luke Ceccarelli, Marco Parolo, Roberto Guana and Antonio Candreva take to the field, and the spearhead of the home team came in the form of Eder who was playing in front of their second striker Adrian Mutu.
Claudio Ranieri’s Inter again started with his favoured 4-4-2, which I seriously dislike but at least it’s getting results, Ahead of Julio Cesar in goal we had Lucio and Andrea Ranocchia replacing Walter Samuel who was being rested on the bench, the central defence was flanked by Maicon on the right and Yuto Nagatomo on the left. Disappointingly Andrea Poli was missing from the midfield lineup but Phillipe Coutinho and Javier Zanetti took up positions on the wings with Thiago Motta and Esteban Cambiasso working as the engine of the team in the center. And once again Ranieri saw fit to pair up Giampaolo Pazzini and Diego Milito up front much to everyones surprise considering that we had a fit Diego Forlan on the bench, though using this combination did mean that Milito reached 100 Serie A games in his career.
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.