No Sneijder to score a double for us this time :( - Dino Panato
Did we all enjoy our time off? I think I spent the whole time cooking with maybe a few hundred hours of wrapping presents thrown in for variety. But now we are back and can I just say: Ugh. Udinese is terrifying. Our sleepwalk against Genoa means we have slipped to (gulp) fourth, another loss or draw tomorrow could see us fall down to last year's levels. We have worked too hard for that. Now is the time to dig deep, find that extra something special, and get us back up on the table. Ugh. Did I say that?
What: Udinese v Inter
Where: Stadio Friuli, Udine (brrrrr!)
When: Sunday, January 6, EARLY!! 12:30pm local time (3:30AM! Pacific, 6:30 AM! eastern)
How to Watch: If you are in the US, you will have to stream (curse you beIN!). Outside the US, check for channels here. Everyone, check for streams here.
Statistics (Serie A, Udinese - Inter):
|GAMES||WE WIN||DRAW||THEY WIN||GOALS FOR US||GOALS FOR THEM|
A trip to the Friuli can really go either way for us. Last season it went rather well, thanks (ironically?) to Sneijder. He got a brace while another player who may be on their way out, Alvarez, got a third to make the final 1-3. Unfortunately, it can also go the other way. In 2011, it was Udi's turn to win 3-1 and, well, ugh. I just hate going up there.
How about a little inspiration from our win last year (and remeber Wes for the good times):
Cripes. I have just not been following Udinese at all this season. A quick trip to the table shows they are at 10th, right now, so pretty much mid-table. They are the league leaders in home draws (4) overall, and the co-leaders overall (with Torino). So maybe they know how to get a point out of a losing situation. Great. 'Cause we sure know how to loose two.
Probably the biggest issue for Udinese will be the loss of three of their starting midfielders: Giampiero Pinzi to suspension and Badu and Benatia to the Africa Cup. So at least we will not be the only ones missing players (for once). Who Scored (and La Gazzetta) thinks Guidolin will play a 3-5-1-1 with Di Natale up front. The rest is a little sketchy. Whoever they play, in the end, it will come down to how Mr. Christmas is feeling. Do I have to tell you that he is Udinese's top scorer? I didn't think so. If he is on, he will bring his tricky tricky feet and all sorts of magic against us. If he isn't quite feeling it, well, we may just have a chance.
|GROUP HUG!!! (a girl can dream). via www.inter.it|
Twenty-two players got called up:
Portieri: Handanovic, Belec, Di Gennaro;
Difensori: Zanetti, Silvestre, Samuel, Pereira, Mbaye, Juan Jesus, Jonathan;
Centrocampisti: Guarin, Mariga, Cambiasso, Gargano, Benassi, Duncan, Bessa;
Attaccanti: Palacio, Rocchi, Milito, Livaja, Cassano.
Shall we begin with the litany of unavailable players? Let's see... Mudingayi, Chivu, Obi, Castellazzi, Deki, Coutinho, Nagatomo, and Alvarez are all injured (can you believe it?). Ranocchia is mysteriously suspended for being rude to the fourth official during the Genoa game (or giving him a nasty look or something), while Sneijder is still sitting on the naughty stool in the corner. Oh, and get this: turns out Milito may sit as a precaution as well. (facepalm) Seriously, you could almost field a pretty good team with just our unavailable players. It is maddening. Looks like maybe Rocchi gets to start earning his keep earlier than I would have liked.
|Can he be more than a pretty face? via www.inter.it|
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Let's talk a bit about our defense (or lack thereof). It looks like Silvestre may be back on the pitch. Now, he's a hottie, but that only goes so far. He has played four Serie A games (Pescara, Roma, Samp, Atalanta), we lost two of them, and in one of the wins (Samp), he only played 10 minutes. So maybe that one does't count so much. We have used him much more in the Europa League. Of the eight games, we have only lost 1 (Rubin Kazan), and even so, the fans haven't rated him higher than a 6.52. So ya, he is a little stinky. He is probably better than Jonathan (whoopie?). And, at the very least, he is better looking so we can at least enjoy the view a bit. Word is, he may be on the way out (Genoa and Napoli may be interested), and, if we bring in a replacement, maybe that isn't such a terrible thing. Provided, of course, that Jonathan gets out as well. That guy is pure ickypoopoo. Of course, Matty could have his break out game for Inter tomorrow and we will all jump and cheer his name. Anything is possible.
|Tommaso Rocchi, newest member of the Inter family. via www.inter.it|
WELCOME TOMMASO ROCCHI
We didn't get a Strama interview today. Instead we got a Rocchi presentation. I am still undecided whether this will be a Forlan move or a Palacio. I mean, he hasn't played much this year for Lazio (three games) and last season he only had seven goals. But hey, maybe he just needs a different system around him. This could be a renaissance for the old guy. I guess we just need to welcome him with open arms and give him the benefit of the doubt. Besides, optimism is so much better for your skin. They dont call them worry lines for nothing. Plus, you know he was cheap. He just had to be.
TAKE A LOOK AT OUR FRONT PAGE
They (the people who run this place) updated the layout on the home pages for everyone. I, for one, totally dig it. They moved the fan posts up to a more prominent spot and the top bar is streamlined. So hooray for us.
AND THE PEP TALK
We are totally gonna win! YAY! See, no wrinkles on me.
Ooooo! Let's go for a drive with Diego Milito. Fun!