I sure hope so because it would be nice to actually win a game at home. Not only would it see Inter through to the group stages of the Europa League (finally) but it would be good practice for Roma on Sunday. I am hopeful that our little 0-2 suckfest last time was sufficient to show the squad that they can't just kick back and relax because they are playing at home. Vaslui want to continue in Europe just as much as we do.
Who: FC Internazionale v FC Vaslui
What: Second Leg Europa League Play Off Game
Where: San Siro, Milan
When: Thursday, August 30, 8:45pm local time (11:45am pacific; 2:45pm eastern)
Why: To save face and finally get into the Europa League proper
How to Watch: BeIN Sports will be showing this live in the US (if you have the channel). For people outside the US, check for channels here. Or, you can find a stream (try here).
Liveblog: Probably not. Pesky time zones and work days are conspiring against us. But you never know. Give a check back nearish the game.
THE DREADED VASLUI
Not a whole lot has changed since last week. The Romanian Liga 1 played week 6 last weekend and FC Vaslui beat second place Steaua Bucureşti 3-1. This brings Vaslui up to fourth place on the table with 3 wins (2 home, 1 away), 2 draws (1 home, 1 away), and 1 loss (away). For those of you into stats, a quick trip to Soccerway will give you the following:
In terms of goal scoring, Vaslui appear to be slow starters. Almost 73% of their goals have come in the second half, with half of those coming in the last 15 minutes. We certainly saw that in the first leg of this tie last week: most of their corners and shots on goal came late in the game, with a veritable flurry in the last 10 minutes. Basically, that means full concentration is needed until the last whistle blows.
Last year, their big scorer with 27 goals was Wesley (remember that Brazilian I thought they had? Looks like I knew less than I thought!). Well, he has since moved to Al Hilal so he will be less of a threat. This season, Niculae (3 goals), Sânmărtean (2 goals) and Sburlea (2 goals) seem to be the new danger players.
BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THEM
Let's get down to what is really important, us.
The new guy seems to be fitting in nicely, doesn't he? via www.inter.it
Stramaccioni has calledup 22 players:
Goalkeepers: Castellazzi, Belec, Cincilla;
Defenders: Zanetti, Silvestre, Maicon, Ranocchia, Samuel, Mbaye, Juan Jesus, Jonathan, Bianchetti,
Midfielders: Sneijder, Guarin, Cambiasso, Benassi;
Forwards: Coutinho, Palacio, Milito, Livaja, Cassano.
Yep. Four midfielders. Luckily, many of our defenders can pull double duty because yikes. As Strama says, we are having a bit of a crisis in midfield. Mudingayi, Alvarez, and Obi are injured while Guarin had a bit of a knock against Pescara. It isn't anything serious, but Strama did say he would like to rest Guarin if he could. With only three other midfielders, though, that seems unlikely. Duncan, Pereira, and Gargano aren't eligible. Oh, and to top it off, Nagatomo has a fever.
Given the players Strama has called up, La Gazzetta thinks he may go with this:
There is a bit of turnover up front, probably because Strama mentioned trying to rest players in his presser today. La Gazzetta agrees with me, it seems: Guarin will probably play, stiff thigh and all.
This is a bit of trial by fire for Juan Jesus. I know many of you haven't been all that happy with his performances to date, but I think he has the heart to do well. The skills will follow... right? As for Maicon, we can see he has been called up and I think he will play. There have been more rumors about Maic leaving but I think Strama would be thrilled to tears if Man City refuse to pony up the cash. Strama said:
"What would we do if he were to leave the club? We've been clear on the situation from the outset, it's not as if we'd find ourselves short. We've got Zanetti who guarantees you a good performance and Jonathan, but the issue is no one else is like Maicon. So we'd be delighted if he stays, if not we wish him all the best because he's left an indelible mark on this football club."
Strama also spoke a little about how he is building a squad and how he may shape some of the players in the months to come. He said that he is working towards a squad where there are two players for each position. Surprisingly, he said that he is planning to play Alvarez as a forward when he is finally back from injury. Huhwah??? Well, coach knows best, I guess. But all that is for a different time. This is now. Well, tomorrow. You know what I mean.
Ok. So we dont need to win this game but it would be really really nice if we could. I would accept a draw, but would be very disappointed if we gave up two goals again. I know people really aren't up to speed quite yet - both physically and with all the new players and ideas and whatnot. I get it. But we have Roma coming up on Sunday and it would be nice to have a little momentum.
I know, Julio Cesar officially left the club today. I would love to write a proper farewell to him but it is all just a little too close right now. Let me live with it for a while. Dont forget, though, that anyone can post their own peice on the FanPost section. For images and videos, there are the Fanshots.