Random thoughts from this weekend:
Nothing’s decided yet; we still have 3 league games left to go, I said this before but that is a lifetime to go. Anything can happen in 1 game, let alone 3 games.
How great is it to be an Inter supporter this season? It’s April 26 and we are still in contention for every competition. However this shakes out, its good to be here.
Our lifetime in one competition will be determined very, very shortly. The less said at this point the better.
When we play against lower table teams, this is the type of game that garners consistency. It’s high percentage, it’s defensive and it channels the creativity of other teams into just getting out of their own third.
Going down early to Atalanta I had two thoughts going through my head: We are already thinking about Wednesday and I hate Atalanta. We always have such a terrible time with them. How early and easily Atalanta scored on us is exactly the reason why we should remember that there are 3 90 minute games left to play in the league.
That being said, it took balls to rest the entire backline and half the midfield in preparation for our next 2 games. Where was this rotation the other 6 months of the season?
Look, it’s Atalanta, I realize this, but Mariga looks good. Like really good. Like play more, purchase and use more next season, good. Mmmm, young, cheap, good passer, box to box…
Looking at the comments from the last post, I thought I was the only one who giggled at the Zirkov thing. Ahaaaaaaa!
My players of the game:
Stats Home Team First
Shots (on Goal) 23(9) 11(3)
Fouls 21 12
Corner Kicks 4 3
Offsides 5 3
Time of Possession 53% 47%
Yellow Cards 3 4
Saves 2 6
The Pagelle takes a break this game since most of the players involved were cagey vets who we pretty much got a handle on.
With one notable exception. I think that we should definitely purchase Mariga’s card. He had a good game, albeit against a relegation team. He was calm and competent, again, against a relegation team. He certainly had no trouble operating in the extremes of the field – attack and defence – in addition to the midfield, like a good box to box midfielder.
But those reasons alone aren’t the reasons that I think that we should buy his card. The biggest reason that we should buy his card is that he was able to accomplish giving Cambiasso a break for the whole game after getting very little work in this season.
I mean, yeah, he’s got to be pretty rested after playing just 386 minutes this half season – or the equivalent of around 4 games – for Inter and only 10 appearances for Parma in the first half of the season. But despite the lack of play he was ready to go. He was in shape. He knew what his role was. And almost as important, we haven’t heard him gripe, sulk or act out about playing time. In other words folks, he has been a mature professional. He’s done what has been asked of him and he’s prepared to do that at any time. Which by the way, has been a hallmark of the team (Think Materazzi, Cordoba, Zanetti being moved all over the place and Muntari who could have been a huge distraction this season with his playing time cut almost in half from last season) – with one obvious exception of course.
We can add on the fact that he’s been in Italy for a few years now and has certainly been acclimated to the league and he’s worked his way up with Parma from Serie B. Also, and this pretty important, he’s happy to be here. It seems like a simple thing, but he’s happy to be a part of the squad and he’s happy to be a part of a team that plays important games.
Less important, but certainly noteworthy, is that he’s just turned 23 years old. Allow me to go through our midfield barring Mr. Mariga: 31, 26, 27, 25, 25, 19 and 30. Ages 19, 26 and 25 (Krhin – loan, I am hoping, Quaresma and Muntari) might very well be gone this summer and 27 (Thiago Motta) has proven to be effective, but very injury prone. That leaves Stankovic (Who I think is really starting to show his age at 31), Sneijder (25) and Cambiasso (30) as reliable players before this summer’s shenanigans are over. And in all this I am hoping that Sneijder’s injury prone past is somewhat behind him. Even if all he does is play against the Atalantas and the Livornos of Serie A, that would still be quite a help to us – it would certainly make him a much more valuable contributor than Quaresma has been thus far, anyway.
So, even though we will have to reinforce the midfield this summer (C’monnnnn Galloppa!), it’ll be nice to have at least a professional starting midfield in place that won’t be a complete surprise to all of us next September.
Anyone who thinks that the league season ends with Lazio, is nuts. Likewise anyone who thinks that they are going to lay down for us, is nuts. We are going to have to win it and it’s going to take 3 games to do it. Anyone who says any different is selling something. That might sound highhanded, but it’s also the truth. There is a lifetime to go until this Championship season is over.
That’s not saying that we are not in a better position than we were a week ago. We do have a saving grace, for what it’s worth. Unlike the last two weeks when Roma knew our results prior to taking the field, we are going to know theirs next week. Hopefully, that helps focus a team that should be pretty tired from playing a tough game and traveling. This is could be another game that Mariga might prove to be pretty valuable.
Coming up, Barcelona on Wednesday.