XT Post Number King
Teams: INTER & Tottenham Hotspur
Serie A Week 34 - 20/4/08 (19.30 UK)
Torino - Inter
With only one win in their last six games Torino welcome Inter to the Stadio Olimpico where they have the second worst home record in the League.
Walter Novellino is under pressure. Last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Genoa leaves the Granata only four points from the drop-zone while Inter, who are only four points ahead of Roma at the top of Serie A, appear to have overcome their crisis and are in a ruthless mood.
Injury problems and suspensions have given Novellino serious selection problems over the last two months. The absences of no less than six first-team regulars, including captain Gianluca Comotto and goalkeeper Matteo Sereni, has severely unbalanced a side that went eight games unbeaten in March.
President Urbano Cairo has been particularly unimpressed by Toro’s attitude in the second half of their last two matches. Just to read the ratings of Torino’s players from their performance in Genoa is a revealing exercise. Davide Di Michele was given a 4.5 and described as “a collector of offsides” while Alvaro Recoba fared worse, receiving a 4 and was said to have been “useless for and damaging to Torino.” Both, along with Salvatore Lanna, are suspended for this one.
Worryingly for Toro, the fans have begun to turn on the team. A group of 20 vehicles blocked the Granata’s bus on their way out of Genoa, as Ultras sought a meeting with Novellino while fans also damaged a handful of the player’s cars back in Turin. Torino’s next two games against Inter and Roma will determine their season and the fate of Novellino.
Inter travel to Turin having collected an impressive second consecutive victory against a tired but still dangerous Fiorentina side. The Nerazzurri were a stern test for Viola goalkeeper Sebastien Frey who, having kept them out on a number of occasions in the first half, ultimately capitulated to strikes from two men revitalising Inter’s season. Esteban Cambiasso and Mario Balotelli have been the architects of the Beneamata’s turn-around, as has Patrick Vieira who put in a man-of-match performance on Sunday, dominating the midfield and laying on the opening goal.
The restoration of Cambiasso and Vieira’s partnership, which has been frustrated by injuries and suspensions, is crucial to Roberto Mancini’s side. Of the 18 games they have started together, Inter have won 15 times. Unfortunately, as all too often throughout this campaign, Vieira will be unavailable after receiving a yellow card in the 90th minute against Fiorentina. The Nerazzurri can afford to draw two of their remaining last five games of the season, one of which is the derby against Milan, and still win the Scudetto.
Keep an eye on: Esteban Cambiasso (Inter) – The elegant Argentine scored his sixth League goal and eighth in all competitions at the weekend which is a great return for a player who sits in front of the defence. President Massimo Moratti has already earmarked Cambiasso as Javier Zanetti’s successor as Inter’s captain once the Nerazzurri legend retires.
Last season: Torino 1-3 Inter
Form guide: Torino (L L W L L) Inter (D L D W W)
Torino (probable): Fontana; Motta, Di Loreto, Dellafiore, Pisano; Lazetic, Barone, Grella, Diana; Rosina; Stellone
Inter (probable): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Burdisso, Chivu, Maxwell; Maniche, Cambiasso, Zanetti; Stankovic; Cruz, Balotelli
Ref: To follow...
My heart = INTER...No Matter Win or Lose...
Zanetti : I still remember my first day at Inter. I arrived with a plastic bag with my boots inside and I crossed the crowd of fans who were asking who I was. That's where it all started.....