This is one of those games that we easily could have lost last season, coming off a midweek game, sandwiched between two pretty tough opponents, playing against a (technically) midtable side. We lost more than our fair share of these games. Time to see if Mazzarri can keep everybody focused and somewhat rotate the squad.
Who: Cagliari v Inter
What: Match Day 6
Where: Nereo Stadium, Triste (they still haven't been able to move back into their real stadium, the Sant' Elia)
When: Sunday, September 29th, 2013, 15:00 CET local, 8:00 AM EST USA
So here we are. Not many people (including most pundits) expected to see us here. Second place, 2 points behind Roma (which to be honest most people didn't expect to see them there either). And with Roma taking the trip north to the San Siro on Saturday a lot of people (players included) could easily overlook this match as a formality. It isn't. We lost this game last season. Let's not make the same mistake this time around.
Them: Cagliari have 6 points from their first 5 matches, but their last three have all been draws. The goals have been spread out pretty evenly, with 7 players having a goal to their names. Albeit, nobody has more than one goal for the team so far. They are also yet to keep a clean sheet. Our old transfer target Radja Nainggolan (who we still might be going for in January) will be eager to put in a good showing against us.
In his pre-match conference, Mazzarri said he will be rotating the squad. "This is the only time I haven't been able to hand the shirts out and it will all be up in the air until tomorrow morning. I haven't even had time to talk to all the players. I'll go with my instinct, trying to maintain the basic structure of the team while changing the right number of players." So for once there are some questions as to who will be starting the match. Handanovic is a given, and Mazzarri also specifically said that Kovavic will be starting. This will be a big chance for him to show the boss that he is ready to step back into the starting lineup.
I'm pretty sure Palacio or Alvarez (if not both of them) will sit this game. They have been playing an awful lot, and that was mentioned by Mazzarri in his conference(along with Jonathan). I also could see one of the center backs getting the day off (Campagnaro? maybe). I also wouldn't be surprised to see Guarin sit this game because of his poor performance last game. And Cambiasso might sit cause you know, he's getting kind of old (and everybody doesn't have Zanetti's legs).
Lineup..? (by all means in the comment section add your own version)
This will be an interesting one. There is a lot of chance for squad rotation, for some of the lesser played boys to get a run out and show Mazzarri that they can fight for a starting spot. But they must stay focused on the match at hand. Cagliari is not Sassuolo. We can't just start thinking about Roma. We will have to show up and make sure we get the three points so there can even be a top table clash against Roma next week.
Link to Mazzarri pre-match conference: http://www.inter.it/en/news/43829