Serie A Preview: Inter vs Torino

Paolo Bruno

The Nerazzurri look to extend their unbeaten streak to five when they welcome the 'decent' club from Turin to the Meazza on Sunday…

For reasons even unknown to me I spontaneously decided to compile a list of the things I really miss.

As it turns out there are a boatload of things that I truly yearn for again. A small sample includes 19-year-old girls, shower beers, eating pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner without gaining a pound, Nirvana and my friends.

But one thing I truly miss is Inter being good. I know it hasn't been that long since Javier Zanetti hoisted the Champions League trophy on that magical night in Madrid, but it sure seems like more than four years have elapsed.

Interisti are a different sort of breed, we all know that, so we shouldn't be surprised that our suffering is measured in dog years.

I want Inter to be good again, this is obvious, but what might not be is that the upcoming eight-game stretch before the Napoli clash could go a long way in determining the club's future success. 

If the Beneamata win all of the games they're supposed to (and that's all eight of them) the fixture against the Partenopei could potentially be one that decides the race for third place.

Inter will face Torino, Atalanta, Udinese and Bologna at home, where I like their chances in every game. The Nerazzurri will hit the road to play Hellas Verona, Livorno, Sampdoria and Parma, which contains some potential potholes, but it's not exactly Murderers Row.

If Inter can take care of business against the lesser opposition that stands in its path and qualifies for the Champions League then I think we can all agree that the timeline for ascending to the top of Serie A will be pushed forward a few years.

This might be uncomfortably idealistic for some of you and I'm not saying this is a slam dunk by any means, but it's certainly a plausible scenario.

So why the sudden burst of optimism? I can't peg it on winter making way for spring and all the hope and expectation that comes with it as there is still five-foot snowbanks on my street.

I like the way the midfield has been clicking since Hernanes' arrival while Walter Samuel has been a horse since his insertion into the starting lineup and Mauro Icardi has the potential to give the squad a real shot in the arm upfront.

What I really, really miss though is seeing grass. It's been a brutal winter and it's snowed at least one day in the last five months. The calendar now reads March so spring is coming but it doesn't feel that way.

I think this is a perfect metaphor for Inter's struggles this season. The Nerazzurri will get back to where they want to be, but it just seems like it's not happening fast enough.

It feels like the despair will never lift, but in this dark night will come redemption and I think it's going to happen sooner than you think.

THE VITALS

Date: Sunday, March 9

Time: 10:00 AM ET

Venue: Giuseppe Meazza

BATTLE DOSSIER

Inter Probable Starting XI: 3-5-2: Handanovic; Rolando, Ranocchia, Campagnaro; D'Ambrosio, Guarin, Cambiasso, Hernanes, Nagatomo; Palacio, Icardi

Torino Probable Starting Xi: 3-4-1-2: Padelli; Darmian, Rodriguez, Moretti; Basha, Kurtic, Vives, Farnerud; El Kaddouri; Cerci, Immobile

Unavailable For Duty: Walter Samuel is suspended for one game for an accumulation of yellow cards while Juan Jesus is also banned, but for three matches after allegedly kidney punching Alessio Romagnoli, who went down writhing in pain.

Operation Grapeshot: The objective is to kick off the spring offensive with a resounding victory before picking off all enemy armies in our path ahead of the decisive clash against Napoli.

Enemy Of The State: Ciro Immobile has been a revelation in the 2013-14 campaign, scoring a team-leading 13 goals, including eight in his last 10 games. Juventus owns half of his rights so you know he'll be eager to be a major nuisance in order to impress his handlers keeping tabs on him from the Death Star.

Fear Factor: 5: Torino is as frightening as the guy who loathes your arch-enemy just as much as you do and is still licking his wounds from a recent tussle he believes ended unjustly.

Medal of Honor: Mauro Icardi was let loose from the opening whistle against Roma and the youngster responded with a decent effort, but let's hope he can etch his name on the scoresheet and lead the home side to victory.

If Inter Wins: I will dutifully crack open the beautiful bottle of La Trappe Quadrupel that's waiting for me in the fridge.

If Torino Wins: Then I will look like a big idiot, which is cool because I have dealt with being a big idiot on two or twelve occasions.

Likely Outcome: Hernanes scores his maiden goal for the Nerazzurri, who secure a decent if not comfortable 2-0 victory. Ship it.

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