Atalanta v Inter: Taking on the Mangiagatti

Cambiasso v Schelotto last season. Look for much of the same tomorrow. - Maurizio Lagana

For the record, I dont know why the people from around Bergamo and Padova are called Mangiagatti (cat eaters), but I gather that it isn't what you would call a term of endearment. Which suits me just fine. I dont know what it is about this team, but they put up one heck of a fight at home against Inter. Perhaps it is the fact that Milan is just a few miles from Bergamo and both teams wear the same colors, but whatever the cause, Atalanta treat this tie like a derby every year and mostly, they make trouble for us. Maybe this season will be different. Maybe Sunday we can finally take back a little pride and come home from Bergamo with more than a point, something we haven't done since 2008.

What: Atalanta BC v FC Internazionale Milano, Serie A Matchday 12
Where: Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia, Bergamo
When: Sunday, November 11, 8:45pm local time (11:45am pacific, 2:45pm eastern)
How to Watch: Live on RAI International and beIN Sport 1 (replay on beIN Espanol at 2:30pm pacific, 5:30pm eastern), or look for a channel here. For streaming options, try here.

Liveblog: I dont kow exactly what happened to Kirby but if he doesn't run one, I will.

LIVEBLOG CLICK HERE!!!

Stats (Serie A, Atalanta - Inter):

Games
Played
We
Won
They
Won
Draw
Goals
for Us
Goals for
Them
52 21 13 18 84 56

In the past ten years, this tie has ended in a 1-all draw four times. Inter has won four times (2000, 2001, 2004, and 2008), and they kicked the snot out of us once (in 2009). For those of you with math skillz, you will see that we are one short: they spent the 2010/2011 season in the Serie B, something Inter has no experience with. Anyway, even though last season was one of those 1-all draws, I still harbor deep resentment about that 3-1 drubbing. Last year, Ranieri's Inter managed to take a point away after goal from Sneijder and Castellazzi saved a penalty. This year, I am really hoping for a better result.


Highlights:

THEM

Atalanta are a bit of a mixed bag this season. They were beaten 1-5 by Torino in September (at home even, ouch), but have managed to beat both Milan and Napoli (big props for that Napoli win). They have 15 points so far which puts them at 7th with Catania and Pama. They would have 17 but they started the season at -2 points as continuing punishment for Cristiano Doni's involvement in last year's match fixing scandal (seems a bit of a slap on the wrist). Unfortunately, that blackout against Torino totally destroyed their goal differential so they get to be at 9th.


Interestingly (to me, at least), Atalanta generally plays a pretty tight game. Except for that one aforementioned aeration against Torino, no one has been able to put more than two goals past them and only two teams (Torino and Roma) have beaten them by more than a single goal. On the other side, Atalanta have not scored more than two goals in a game all season. Their highest scoring games were against Samp last week (1-2, A) and Siena last month (2-1, H). I guess what I am saying is that, sure, it is hard to score on them but they are not terribly prolific in front of goal either.

Which brings us to players. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Colantuono has said that he will use the same lineup against us as he did against Samp last week (Atalanta won that game). That means:

Consigli
Raimondi Stendardo Manfredini Peluso
Schelotto Camona Cigarini Bonaventura
Moralez
Denis

Which is imposing. Word is, we are still interested in German Denis and Ezequiel Schelotto. Both their names were linked with Inter over the summer but nothing came of it. Denis has two goals and three assists in 11 games so far this year, although he barely makes Who Scored's list of Top Players for the club.

Schelotto, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be doing quite so well this season. He seems like a nice kid, though, and has been called up to both the Italy and Italy U21 squad (not often, though). I remember seeing a little blurb on him when he first came into the Serie A when Cesena was promoted. At that time, his idol was Javier Zanetti. No one who idolizes Zanetti can be bad. I am sure, though, that the fan boy fog has worn off by now and he will just be looking to impress. A move to Inter would be a big step up for him, and, since he already played for Catania, sort of a right of passage for Argentine Italians (he has duel citizenship).

In my opinion, we should also keep our eye on Luca Cigarini. He may not play in a position where Inter needs more coverage, but I think he is talented. He has two goals and an assist and has been playing very well this season. I would have him at Inter in a heart beat.


For more specifics on the Atalanta style, check out Who Scored. Have I mentioned how much I love them lately?

174200-650_medium
Are you sure it is safe for them to be moving like that? I say, wrap them all in bubble wrap
until we get some guys back from injury. We cant lose any more! via www.inter.it

US

Stramaccioni has had to dip heavily into our youth squad to find 21 players to take to Bergamo:

Portieri: Handanovic, Castellazzi, Belec;
Difensori: Zanetti, Silvestre, Pereira, Mbaye*, Juan Jesus, Jonathan, Nagatomo;
Centrocampisti: Alvarez, Guarin, Cambiasso, Gargano, Benassi*, Duncan*, Romanò*;
Attaccanti: Palacio, Milito, Livaja, Cassano.

*Primavera players.

Our official injury list: Coutinho, Obi, Mariga, Sneijder, Chivu, Stankovic, Ranocchia, Samuel, and Mudingayi.

None of them are expected back next week (for Cagliari), but we can hope for Sneijder and Obi for the Rubin game on Thanksgiving. That doesn't help our rapidly shrinking pool of defenders but it is better than nothing. There is also some hope that maybe Chivu could be coming back in the near future. Remember him? Oh, and in case you were wondering, Mudingayi is out for a couple months.... And Cambiasso isn't fully fit. He will have to pass a late fitness test. It is enough to make one want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head.

I guess this all means that however hard it was to guess Strama's lineups, it just got that much harder. I remember looking at the squad list and thinking we had a waaay too many central defenders - what on earth were we going to do with five of them? Well now we are down to two. Luckily there are no mid-week games next week so maybe people will have a little time to recuperate.

174198-650_medium
Who would have guessed that these two guys would be Inter's magic men this season?
via www.inter.it

I suspect that Strama may approach Atalanta much the same as he did against Juve. It will be just as important to stifle Cigarini tomorrow as it was Pirlo last week. If we can stop their game in the midfield, we have a chance. Oh, and watch out for set pieces. They are all kinds of trouble on corners and free-kicks. Just like on Thursday, if we our defenders keep it together than the offence will sort itself. Palacio and Milito are finding form, while Cassano may just be the steal of the summer. Alvarez is available for this game (thank goodness), and Guarin has been absolutely sizzling. My one great hope for the line-up is that Jonathan has a nice sit down. Like in the stands, maybe. He had a couple decent plays on Thursday, but overall, he just seems mediocre. We need great for tomorrow.


As I write this, Juve is beating the blowholes off poor Pescara so if we want to keep up we have to do likewise to Atalanta. I was worried when we went to Belgrade with our ragtag group and I am similarly nervous now. I hope they prove me similarly wrong today as Thursday. That would be just peachy. Plus, then I could finally put that 2009 loss behind me. I still wouldn't like them much but then at least I wouldn't be bent on vengeance (KILL KILL KILL!!!).

FORZA INTER

Squeee! Samuel!!! It is so strange to see him without his Wall game face. Here he is relaxed and smiling, driving a car with a baby seat in the back. A complete 180 from the man we see on the pitch. I just hate it when he is injured. Get well soon, Wall.


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