Gut Check Time Baby

Serie A, Round 25
Who: Inter Milan vs. Roma
When: Wednesday, February 27th 2:30 pm ET
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

figo.jpgWARNING: This shit may get out of hand. Those seven words basically describe this game. The two top clubs in the Serie A, 90 minutes on the same pitch, 11 vs. 11 (hopefully), winner takes all. (Well, maybe not Roma. But you get my point.) What I'm trying to get at is, tomorrow at 2:30, Inter will take the field for what is their biggest league game of the year. Think of it as the finals. We win, the Scudetto is ours, again. We loose, everything is thrown up in the air, and becomes a mish mosh of coulda, woulda, shoulda verses the likes of lower table teams. All I can say is buckle it up, it's going to be one crazy ride.

Coming into this match, Inter (and their fans) are on a bit of a low. They lost "it" on Tuesday, then tied Samp this past weekend. However, this is their chance to erase any heartache they have given us over the past two games. On the other hand, Roma (and their fans) have been on a bit of a high. They beat Real Madrid on Tuesday, and nudged out Fiorentina 1-0 on Sunday. However, Inter still have a nine-point cushion. (Despite some Roma fans claming that the ice is thinning. Umm, idiot, we're playing football not hockey. And if we were playing hockey, our ice is still pretty damn thick.)

Defens, defense, defense. That is my main concern coming into this game. With Cordoba out, and The Matrix not being The Matrix for the past few games, there's some worry. Our wing backs are fine, Maicon and Max can take care of themselves. I'm worried about the guys next to them. Most likely Manico will start The Matrix, which he must do, no matter how many steps he may be losing. (Emotionally, he can really spark the team. Plus, I haven't lost all faith in him, he can still revive his old ways.) However, who will be pairing with The Matrix is another story. There's three possible options, Rivas, Burdisso, and Chivu. My favorite option is, Chivu. Rivas played good last game, but I don't think he has the experience yet to play in a game of this magnitude. Burdisso is okay, I just think he has to find his stride. (Plus I want to finish a game with 11 men). He doesn't have to do it in this game, he can wait for Reggina. So, that leaves Chivu. I've said this time and time again, he is a very good CB. Now is his time to show you.

Our toughest object on the Roman side? DDR. Without this man, Roma can kiss ANY title hopes goodbye. With him, they're barely hanging on. To put it bluntly, he has been their savior. No, not Totti, DDR. Now that it's official that we'll be missing TSB and Zlatan, DDR is probably smiling ear to ear. However, we still have a very good striker duo with Suazo/Crespo. I think Suazo's speed may cause some problems for DDR. Also, their back 4 aren't that good. Cassetti is nothing special, and the same goes for Tonetto. As for their CB spots, Mexes and Ferrari, they are very shaky and inconsistent. If we do play a 4-4-2, our wingers, who ever they may be, need to dominate all day long, and even try to draw Mexes or Ferrari from their respective positions. Heck, there's only so much DDR can do.

Positional Standings:

I really don't think I have to tell you this. So, I'm not even going to waste my time. Uno e due.

Injuries:

Nerazzurri: The regularly scheduled partnership of TSB/Zlatan will be out. Same goes for Samuel, Cordoba, Cesar, and Dacourt.

Sweeeetttttttt. No Jimmeeeyyyyyy.

Roma: Juan is the only player who is definetley out for the match. However, the injury status of Mancini is still up in the air. Cicinho will also be out due to a red card last game.

Probable Lineups:

Inter: (4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2, Here's the squad.)
JC;
Maicon, Chivu, Matrix, Max;
Il Capitano, Vieira(FUCK NO. Anyone else. I mean anyone.), Cambiasso, Stankovic;
Crespo, Suazo

I understand. We all hate Vieira, but I think Manico is going to play him. Unless we move Chivu up to his spot and put Burdisso or Rivas at CB. That is a definite possibility. May also be a 4-3-1-2. Moving Stankovic to support Crespo and Suazo. I really hope Vieira doesn't start. I also wouldn't mind seeing Super Mario up there with Crespo. That would be B-E-A-utiful.

Roma:
Doni;
Cassetti, Mexes, Ferrari, Tonetto;
De Rossi, Pizarro;
Giuly, Perrotta,Taddei;
Totti

Ya' might see Mancini.

Players To Keep An Eye On:

Crespo/Suazo: I put them together because for one to have a good game, the other must have a good game. It seems as if they feed off each other. It's very important that our midfield gives them the proper support and passes to make these two effective. With these two up front, we have a deadly combo. Speed and finishing. Suazo breaks down the D, and Crespo slides one past the keeper.

DDR: One of the top midfielders in Europe right now, and I'm not afraid to say it. He has been spectacular of late. Much like Il Capitano, this guy comes out to play every game. However, like I said, we don't have to go through the middle. Their wing backs are weak, so we should attack them first. Also, this guy can hit one from about 20-25 yards away. But I don't think he can beat JC from out there. Not no way, not no how.

Il Cuchu: He was also making a bid for being one of the best midfielders in Europe, but has fell off a bit. He hasn't been terrible, but not up to his pre-CL standards. I know it's only two games, but that's enough. I miss the old Cambiasso, ya' know, the one who dominates the middle and scores even when he's offsides. So, please come back. On the behalf of all the Nerazzurri faithful worldwide, we miss you.

Key Matchups:

The San Siro vs. Roma: The greatest theater in football has been a real problem for everyone. In twelve matches at home Inter are: 11(W) and 1(D) with 29 goals for and only 7 against. Umm, yeah, we're pretty good at home. In the history of AS Roma, they have only won 12 out of 74 matches, with Inter scoring twice the amount of goals. It'll be full, loud, and crazy. We beat them 4-1 at their house, not sure if they can do it at ours.

Our Wingers vs. Their Wing Backs: Truthfully, I believe that dominating the wing is going to be a big key to success. Run over them, maybe draw out DDR or a CB in the process, and we're in business. Going through the middle may be too hard, especially with DDR there. I say, let them have their strength, but we pour lemon juice into their open wound.

Totti vs. What Ever The Fuck Has Been Wrong With Him: Before the winter break, Totti looked like, Totti. But when he came back, he looked like a bigger version of Pizarro. (Sorry Chris) At times, it seemed as if he didn't even want to play, almost as if retirement was upon him. He sort of had a bit of a revival in the Real game, with a nice assist, but still not back to his old self. I'm not sure what this guy will bring, hopefully some more shit.

Prediction:

I think this game will be a battle of the midfields. Both teams has very successful, and talented midfielders, so it's going to be a Battle Royale. However, like I have been saying, we can just stay away from the middle. Use the wings, let our guys stretch their legs a bit. Heck, let Max and Maicon go wild in this one.

Attacking wise, I think we have the edge over the Roma defense. Our duo have a good chance to run wild all day long. If Juan was there, he would make it a bit tougher. But, he's not. Time for Crespo to bring us back to the ol' days yet again.

All in all, we really have to win. This lose, then tie bullshit got old really quick. I'm in desperate need of a 3 or 4 nil win. I don't think we'll get that, but it would be great. However, I'll be happy with a 1-0 win off an own goal. Let's close this race up once and for all.

Inter win, 2-1.

MOTM: Crespo
Goals: Crespo(23'), Giuly(34'), Crespo(76')

FORZA INTER!!!!!!!!!!!!

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