Transfer Target: Who Will Rescue Mateo Kovacic from Inter Milan?

March 12, 2014

“As one would imagine, memories of the 1998 World Cup run deep in Croatia. Still very much a new nation then, only a few years after having gained its independence from Yugoslavia in a bloody war, the country had little to show for and football became its best promotional tool. The national team dazzled the world with an exuberant display in its maiden appearance at the tournament, wearing psychedelic red and white checkers and at times squeezing three exceptionally gifted playmakers into the lineup. As Croatia marched to third place in France, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki and Aljosa Asanovic became known as its ‘magic triangle’.” Bleacher Report (Video)


Fiorentina 1-2 Inter: Palacio’s positional variation crucial in Inter victory

February 19, 2014

“Fifth-placed Inter won at fourth-placed Fiorentina, cutting the game between them to five points. Vincenzo Montella was still without Giuseppe Rossi and a host of defenders, with star midfielder Borja Valero suspended. Mario Gomez was fit enough to be on the bench, however, after a few months out – Joaquin and Josip Ilicic were upfront form the start. Walter Mazzarri named an unchanged side from last weekend’s 1-0 win over Sassuolo. Inter were the better side here – more organised without the ball and more purposeful with possession.” Zonal Marking


The 54 Club – Italy

December 29, 2013

“As usual my parents escaped England for Christmas, thus shirking any festive responsibilities, and 2012 saw them wintering in Rome. Taking up their kind offer to join them I deliberately arrived late in December with the aim of fulfilling the dream of every child who grew up watching James Richardson sip coffee and hold the Gazetta Dello Sport aloft outside the Pantheon, watching some live calcio. With the winter break arriving I expected my options to be limited and would have been quite content to seeing one of the Roman teams play a basement dweller but luck was on my side and Roma had a home fixture against my childhood sweetheart, AC Milan.” Back Page Football


Napoli 4-2 Inter Milan: Tactical Analysis | Benitez counters Mazzarri

December 17, 2013

“Napoli came in to this match after suffering a heartbreak exit from the Champions League, despite winning 2-0 against the in form Gunners and amassing a total of 12 points in the group stage, which included a victory over Napoli. Rafa Benitez’s men were now relegated to the Europa League had the task of making the most of their league campaign in order to play Champions League football again next year. A 3-3 draw last match day against Udinese saw Juventus and Roma pull away at the top. Inter Milan started the game four points behind Napoli. After three consecutive draws (Bologna, Sampdoria and Parma) in the league, Inter look to close the gap and give Napoli a fight for their much yearned Champions League spot. With Fiorentina leapfrogging in front of them after a 3-0 victory against Bologna earlier that day, three points against Napoli was massively crucial for Walter Mazzarri’s men.” Outside of the Boot


AC Milan Crisis: What next for the Rossoneri?

December 7, 2013

“While teams like Juventus, Roma, Napoli were racking up points to fight it out for the title, Milan were sliding downhill, drawing and losing to teams they would have annihilated a few years back. Champions in 2010-11, Milan were flirting with the relegation zone as they had slumped to a lowly 13th in the table just 4 points off the dreaded drop zone and a massive 20 points off the table toppers, Juventus. Things were fairly quiet and subdued at the Via Turati in the summer; somewhat a relief after last seasons mass exodus with Filippo Inzaghi, Gennaro Gattuso, Alessandro Nesta et al putting their keys to their San Siro lockers on the table one by one.” Outside of the Boot


Inter 0-3 Roma: Totti drags Inter’s back three out of shape to prompt quick attacks

October 9, 2013

“Roma maintained their 100% record with a win at previously unbeaten Inter. Walter Mazzarri made two changes from the 1-1 draw at Cagliari, bringing in Saphir Taider and Rodrigo Palacio for Mateo Kovacic and Ishak Belfodil. Predictably, Rudi Garcia kept exactly the same side which demolished Bologna 5-0. This was another superb Roma display – and although their 3-0 half-time lead was slightly flattering, they played some sparkling football at times.” Zonal Marking


Inter 1-1 Juventus: Tactical Analysis

September 16, 2013

“Inter and Juventus went head to head in an enthralling clash on Saturday. The Derby D’ Italia, as it is labelled, is one of the biggest football fixtures in Italy. However, a vast gulf in class has developed between the two over the past few seasons as Juventus have taken a lead of their rivals. But the match itself is one that doesn’t disappoint. As the latest clash bears witness, it showed how Italian football has developed over the past few season, completely removing it’s ‘boring’ tag. The game was a fast paced clash, with both sides equally effective in their own rights. The gulf in class wasn’t as visible as both sides managed to hold their own. Juventus did seem to create more but Inter effectively began to soak in the pressure and use it to their advantage on the counter. The final result of Inter 1-1 Juventus seemed a fair reflection of the game as neither side managed to gain the upper hand for a prolonged period of time.” Outside Of Football


Statistical Infographic: Inter vs Juve

September 14, 2013

“The first international break of the season has finally ended, and a return to club football beckons for the best footballers across the planet. The first 3 games of the season saw some lukewarm performances from most of the giants, but now that World Cup qualification is sealed for many of the players, and the season is well under way, we should see the intensity being upped. The return of club football has been marked by the return of one of the fiercest rivalries across football, and especially in the Serie A- the Derby D’ Italia. Aside from being 2 of the 3 most successful sides in the peninsula, the rivalry that Inter and Juve share is about much more than just trophies.” Outside of the Boot


No more bickering as Supercoppa awaits

August 17, 2013

“The Italian Supercoppa is traditionally a competitive curtain-raiser to the Italian season, although the actual scheduling of the event this year roused more resentment between its two protagonists than can be expected at the Stadio Olimpico this Sunday. When Juventus and Lazio take to the field in Rome, most of the battle will have already been won and lost after months of off-field debating. The Italian Football League, Lega Calcio, stipulated an agreement with China in 2010 that formalised plans for three of the subsequent four editions of the Supercoppa to be staged in Beijing.” ESPN


Serie A’s battle for third down to Milan, Fiorentina

May 3, 2013

“OK, hands up, who remembers Serie A? After a fortnight where the major talking point has been the Bundesliga’s dominance over La Liga — with the Premier League chipping in with some end-of-season awards — Italian football has taken a backseat. It’s a position Italy has increasingly become accustomed to. Once revered as the finest league in Europe, there’s still much to recommend Serie A — but the UEFA coefficients now firmly rank it as the fourth-best league in Europe. Serie A boasts no semifinalists in either the Champions League or the Europa League, and it has featured an exciting title fight. Juventus have been on course for the title throughout the campaign, effectively ending the contest with their 1-1 draw away at closest challengers Napoli, who will finish second. Attention has turned to the battle for third.” ESPN – Michael Cox


The story behind the ups at downs at ‘crazy’ Inter

March 15, 2013

“Andrea Stramaccioni’s phone is vibrating. The Inter coach fumbles around his pockets for it. Caller ID reveals that club president Massimo Moratti is on the line. You’d maybe expect there to be some trepidation. All week, Stramaccioni had read in the papers, seen on the TV and heard on the radio that Moratti was apparently considering sacking him if Inter didn’t improve in the second leg of their Europa League tie with Tottenham on Thursday and their trip to Sampdoria on Sunday.” ESPN (Video)


Inter 1-1 Milan: Milan should have been out of sight by half-time

February 26, 2013

“Inter upped their performance after a terrible first-half display. Andrea Stramaccioni gave a rare start to Ricky Alvarez on the left, after his impressive performance against Cluj in midweek. Diego Milito is out for the season, so Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio started upfront together. Max Allegri made changes from the victory over Barcelona – Mario Balotelli, cup-tied in Europe, returned in place of Giampaolo Pazzini, while Riccardo Montolivo played in Massimo Ambrosini’s deep-lying role to allow Antonio Nocerino to play. Stramaccioni managed to alter things to get his side back into the game, but only Milan profligacy and another fine Samir Handanovic performance prevented the ‘away’ side from victory.” Zonal Markind


Why Serie A has fallen out of love with the number ten

January 23, 2013

“Sunday night’s meeting between Roma and Inter was an underwhelming match. Despite being the most enticing fixture on paper of the Serie A weekend, the match drifted away after an exciting first 20 minutes, and ended as a scrappy 1-1 draw. However, the pattern of the game was interesting — it was played at a relatively slow tempo, interrupted by the occasional burst of sudden, end-to-end attacking. As both sides attempted to bypass the opposition defence quickly after half-time, the linesmen played as crucial a role as some of the players — there were 11 second-half offsides.” ESPN – Michael Cox


How 2012′s flops can turn things around in 2013

December 21, 2012

“From astonishing last-gasp title victories to historic international success stories, 2012 has been a fascinating year of football — but not everyone has enjoyed it. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have taken their performances to another level, but others will be pleased to see the back of this year. Here are 10 players who have underperformed in 2012 — and how they might turn their form around for 2013.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Inter 2-1 Napoli: Cassano & Insigne the key men but Guarin provides the most important contributions

December 12, 2012

“Inter leapfrogged Napoli and into second place in Serie A. Andrea Stramaccioni was without Walter Samuel, so moved Esteban Cambiasso into the centre of defence. Walter Mazzarri brought Christian Maggio back into the starting line-up, but otherwise named an unchanged side. This was a good, open game of football – Inter stormed into a 2-0 lead and although Napoli fought back, they couldn’t quite find an equaliser, partly thanks to some fine Inter defending.” Zonal Marking


Milan clubs suffer, perfect starts ended

September 24, 2012

“The writing appears to be on the wall for AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri as his side suffered a third defeat in four Serie A games, a 2-1 reverse at the hands of Udinese. The beleaguered Rossoneri boss has spent the last fortnight deflecting speculation his job is under threat and will now face more tough questions should he remain in charge at the San Siro.” ESPN (Video)


Inter 1-3 Roma: Zeman collects the first win of his second spell at Roma

September 4, 2012

“An extremely open game finished with Roma on top. Andrea Stramaccioni surprisingly used new signing Alvaro Pereira on the left of his central midfield three in place of Esteban Cambiasso – otherwise, the XI was the same as in the 3-0 win over Pescara last week. Zdenek Zeman gave debuts to Panagiotis Tachtsidis, Alessandro Florenzi and Mattia Destro within his standard attack-minded 4-3-3 system. As with all games involving a Zeman side, this was very open with space all over the pitch, despite both sides trying to play with a high defensive line.” Zonal Marking


Trading places: Cassano and Pazzini

August 23, 2012


Antonio Cassano
“When assessing how realistic a transfer rumor is, you can be fairly confident that any mooted ‘exchange’ deal won’t happen, especially when big-name players are involved. They’re often touted, but they rarely happen. Therefore, it’s particularly exciting when an exchange does take place. Samuel Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic swapping clubs three years ago was an astonishing transfer. The consensus was that Inter Milan had got themselves a great deal.” ESPN – Michael Cox


Juventus must fight the right fight

August 10, 2012

“Fresh from completing an undefeated title-winning campaign, Juventus seemed to have finally put the horrors of 2006 and the Calciopoli scandal behind them. The club is under a completely new management structure, starting with president Andrea Agnelli – son of Umberto and nephew of the iconic Gianni – through to director general Beppe Marotta and ultimately ending with coach Antonio Conte, separating themselves further still from the murky behaviour of Luciano Moggi and his cohorts.” ESPN


Inter 4-2 Milan: Inter build up play down the left, then spread it to the right

May 8, 2012

“This was a rather eventful Milan derby – not only were there six goals (including three penalties), but the result confirmed Juventus as Serie A champions. The game was frantic, open and often lacking any kind of shape or structure, which was completely unexpected when the line-ups were announced – it set to be a battle of two narrow, functional 4-3-1-2s.” Zonal Marking


The hate-filled Derby of Italy

March 25, 2012


“Recent weeks and months have seen a real deterioration in the previously cordial relationship between this season’s leading protagonists in Serie A: Milan and Juventus. The two most successful clubs on the peninsula have descended into a petty back-and-forth squabble that leaves neither looking particularly dignified and both in danger of turning what should be a truly engaging title race into an Italian version of the Spanish clasico, the histrionics of which spoil what is undoubtedly one of the world football’s most prestigious encounters.” ESPN


Inter’s Treble Was the End, Not the Beginning

March 11, 2012

“Beleaguered Inter Milan dragged themselves back from another near disastrous defeat at home on Sunday. Diego Milito this time was charged with pulling the game level against Catania. They had been two goals down but the comeback tasted as bitter as a defeat due to the performance once again screaming of inadequacy.” In Bed With Maradona


Marseille 1-0 Inter: Marseille finally get the breakthrough with their 44th cross of the match

February 25, 2012

“Andre Ayew pounced in stoppage time, and Marseille will take a one goal lead to Inter. Didier Deschamps was without top scorer Loic Remy, so Brandao was upfront. In midfield, Benoit Cheyrou started rather than Charles Kaboré. Claudio Ranieri made the fitness-related decision to omit Diego Milito, and instead play Diego Forlan and Mauro Zarate – otherwise, the side was as expected. A strange game here – Inter looked in control midway through the second half, but then increasingly invited pressure. 0-0 was probably a better reflection of the balance of play.” Zonal Marking


Marseille 1-0 Inter: Marseille finally get the breakthrough with their 44th cross of the match

February 23, 2012

“Andre Ayew pounced in stoppage time, and Marseille will take a one goal lead to Inter. Didier Deschamps was without top scorer Loic Remy, so Brandao was upfront. In midfield, Benoit Cheyrou started rather than Charles Kaboré. Claudio Ranieri made the fitness-related decision to omit Diego Milito, and instead play Diego Forlan and Mauro Zarate – otherwise, the side was as expected. A strange game here – Inter looked in control midway through the second half, but then increasingly invited pressure. 0-0 was probably a better reflection of the balance of play.” Zonal Marking


Milan 0-1 Inter: Inter sit deep and counter

January 16, 2012


“Diego Milito scored the only goal of the game, and Inter are back in the title race. Max Allegri named Pato upfront rather than Robinho, and chose both Urby Emanuelson and Antonio Nocerino in the midfield diamond. Claudio Ranieri’s line-up was as expected, with Wesley Sneijder on the bench, and Ricky Alvarez in the side. Inter were submissive but disciplined, and were far more tactically astute.” Zonal Marking

AC Milan 0 – 1 Internazionale
“Inter Milan denied their neighbours AC Milan a place at the top of Serie A and threw their own hat into the ring for the Scudetto in the process with a 1-0 win at the San Siro. A goal from Diego Milito in the 54th minute was enough to earn the visitors all three points and take them to within six points of the Serie A summit and just five of their city rivals. Inter had a goal disallowed early on while Milan failed to make their territorial supremacy count as their attack proved too blunt.” ESPN

Inter Stays Hot, Takes Milan Derby, 1-0 Advertisement
ESPN (Video)


Money’s Too Tight To Mention At Inter

December 9, 2011

“It’s fair to say that Inter have had better starts to the season. Although they qualified from the Champions League group stage with a game to spare, they currently languish in 16th place in Serie A. Admittedly they have a game in hand, but they are still a colossal 14 points behind league leaders Juventus with a third of the season gone. The triumphant 2009/10 season when the nerazzurri became the first Italian team to win the treble of the scudetto, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in a single year under the guidance of José Mourinho seems a distant memory. Inter fans have become accustomed to success, as that triumph meant that their team had won five league titles in a row (including the one awarded to them for 2005/06 by the courts after the calciopoli scandal).” Swiss Ramble


World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, November 25th, 2011

November 26, 2011

“Milan have opened talks with Carlos Tevez’s advisors about a January move for the Manchester City striker. At present, there have been no direct talks between City and Milan over the transfer as Tevez’s advisor first seeks to broker a deal with the Italian champions. Although negotiations are at an early stage, it’s understood that both parties have reached agreement on a couple of significant issues that have stalled his career at City: Tevez will not leave the country when Milan have a game scheduled and, provided he’s in the mood for it, the Argentinian has even deigned to play football when asked to do so by his coach.” World Soccer (Video)


Premier League’s best struggle in Champions League group stage

November 26, 2011


Franck Ribéry
“Twelve Champions League thoughts from Round 5 of the Group Stage…” SI


Tactics: the formation that cost Inter coach his job

November 2, 2011

“A 3-1 defeat at promoted Novara brought a swift end to Gian Piero Gasperini’s three-month reign as coach of Internazionale, and the day after he was sacked the 53-year-old was in belligerent mood. ‘I know that results determine everything,’ he said. ‘Inter knew that my system was 3-4-3. It is not that I do not know another system, but I believe that with this one the team I coach play better. I explained this to Inter’s chiefs three times when I spoke with them. I believe that the controversy about the formation was used as an excuse [to sack me]. If Inter did not believe in my work, why did they sign me?’” World Soccer – Jonathan Wilson


Three main problems for Inter in 2-1 home loss to Juventus

October 31, 2011


Gian Piero Gasperini
“This was another amazingly open match – all the goals came in the first half. Juventus move top of the table. The away side weren’t completely dominant. Their first goal came against the run of play as Inter started strongly, but Juve had plenty of opportunities and for a brief spell midway through the first half, they were able to open up the Inter defence at will. Claudio Ranieri’s side lacked compactness and their defence still seems to be recovering from the early season experiment with a back three under Gian Piero Gasperini – their positioning is frequently poor despite the return to their favoured four-man defence. Lucio seems uncomfortable on the turn and Cristian Chivu isn’t a great partner for him, whilst he full-backs are both stronger going forward than they are defensively.” Zonal Marking

Internazionale 1 – 2 Juventus
“Juventus retained their two-point advantage at the top of Serie A and piled even more misery on Claudio Ranieri’s Inter Milan with a win at the San Siro tonight. Mirko Vucinic put the Bianconeri in front in the 12th minute, but Maicon levelled for the hosts in the 28th minute. Claudio Marchisio restored Juve’s advantage in the 33rd minute and he was unlucky not to earn a penalty just before half-time.” ESPN


Boateng inspires Milan comeback

October 23, 2011

“Substitute Kevin-Prince Boateng inspired AC Milan to a thrilling 4-3 comeback victory in Lecce with a second-half hat-trick for the visitors. Guillermo Giacomazzi, Massimo Oddo and Carlos Grossmuller established a 3-0 lead for the home side by half-time, but Boateng sprang from the bench to score three goals in 14 minutes to bring Milan level.” ESPN


Inter turns to Ranieri after 3-4-3 disaster

September 22, 2011

“It says a lot about Inter president Massimo Moratti that, despite giving Gian Piero Gasperini only five games as coach, you could see the sacking coming a few weeks ago. This is a man who has now appointed 16 coaches in 16 years. Then again, it says a lot about Gasperini that despite being given no time to settle into the job, it’s rather difficult to defend him. This is a man who guided Inter to four defeats and a goalless draw in five games, an abysmal record for a side expected to be challenging for Lo Scudetto. No one comes out of this looking good, and it is a five-game spell that both president and coach would be happy to erase from the record books.” ESPN


Napoli 3-1 Milan: Counter-attack and Cavani hat-trick

September 20, 2011


Vittore Carpaccio – The Baptism of the Selenites
“Hat-trick specialist Edinson Cavani bagged another as Napoli confirmed their title potential. Walter Mazzarri played what his strongest XI – Andrea Dossena came in for Juan Zuniga from the side that drew with Manchester City. Max Allegri has something of an injury crisis, summed up by an extremely inexperienced bench. Daniele Bonera played at left-back, and Antonio Cassano partnered Pato upfront. Milan took the lead through a superb Alberto Aquilani header, but the pattern of the game was this: Milan get possession, run out of ideas in the final third, Napoli win the ball, break quickly, and score.” Zonal Marking

PSV 2-2 Ajax: PSV press, Ajax fight back
“PSV twice took the lead by exploiting a clear weakness in the Ajax defence, but the away side managed to claim a point. Fred Rutton made two changes from PSV’s previous league game. Wilfred Bouma and Zakaria Labyad dropped out, with Timothy Derijck and Tim Matavz coming in. Frank de Boer was without Miralem Sulejmani and chose to bring Vurnon Anita into the side as the holding player. This match was open and entertaining, largely because there were two attack-minded midfields who wanted to play the ball rather than win it back.” Zonal Marking

Rubin 2-3 Zenit: Rubin blow a two-goal lead thanks to Spalletti’s Plan B
“Danny scored twice to give Zenit St Petersburg an important win over Rubin Kazan. Kurban Berdyev changed things around after the previous week’s defeat to FC Krasnodar, with Obafemi Martins and Nelson Valdez both dropping out. In came Vladimir Dyadyun upfront, with Gokdeniz Karadeniz on the right. Luciano Spalletti made widespread changes after an embarrassing collapse against Lokomotiv Moscow, with four players coming into the defence and midfield, though the forward trio remained the same.” Zonal Marking


Inter 0-0 Roma: interesting in theory, but not on the pitch

September 18, 2011

“Two sides lacking confidence contested a fairly tame 0-0 draw in Milan. Gian Piero Gasperini reverted to a three-man defence, but went with 3-4-1-2, as expected, rather than his favoured 3-4-3. Joel Obi came in on the left, and Wesley Sneijder was the number ten. Luis Enrique stuck with his preferred 4-3-3, but made a surprise decision to start two midfielders at full-back – Rodrigo Taddei on the left, Simone Perrotta on the right.” Zonal Marking


Palermo 4-3 Inter: Gasperini’s 3-4-3 exposed

September 12, 2011


Josep Ilicic
“Palermo produced a great second half display to edge a thriller. Devis Mangia, Palermo’s new(est) coach, used a standard 4-4-2 system, a world away from the 4-3-2-1 that the club used last season. Josep Ilicic started out on the left, and Giulio Migliaccio played at centre-back. Gian Piero Gasperini used his favoured 3-4-3 system, which meant Javier Zanetti in an unusual centre-back role, Jonathan making his debut on the right, plus newcomers Mauro Zarate and Diego Forlan in the wide forward positions. Wesley Sneijder started on the bench.” Zonal Marking

Palermo 4 – 3 Internazionale
“Palermo struck twice late in the game to stun Inter Milan 4-3 in their Serie A opener at Stadio Renzo Barbera on Sunday night. With the game tied 2-2 with five minutes remaining, Fabrizio Miccoli put the hosts in front with a superb free-kick before substitute Mauricio Pinilla made it 4-2 two minutes from time. New Inter striker Diego Forlan reduced the deficit deep in stoppage time but Palermo held on for victory. Diego Milito had put the visitors ahead in the 33rd minute before Miccoli equalised shortly after the re-start.” ESPN


Serie A transfer window verdict

September 9, 2011

“Inter Milan. President Massimo Moratti has once again been cautious with the chequebook. Selling Samuel Eto’o makes much sense from a financial standpoint while the arrival of Diego Forlan seems to be more smart business. The same cannot be said for Mauro Zarate and the lack of investment looks risky, although adding talented young midfielder Andrea Poli is an incredibly smart move. Retaining the services of Wesley Sneijder may prove their best piece of business.” ESPN


Serie A 2011-12 season preview

August 26, 2011

“And so the new Serie A season is upon us. Or rather it isn’t. After the league’s owners and its players failed to reach an agreement, it was confirmed on Friday morning that the scheduled first weekend of the season will be lost to strike action. How far things could go is anybody’s guess.” Guardian


Italy preview: the usual suspects of debt, match-fixing, scandal

August 22, 2011

“As we set off for the new season, it is again a case of rounding up a number of the usual suspects in the shape of polemics, a betting scandal and hardy annuals such as Totti and Juve’s Alessandro Del Piero. One new element in the Italian firmament this season, however, will be an American-owned Roma for which Baldini has been recruited as an experienced guide. As he assesses his return to an Italian football world he left six years ago, Baldini underlines some uncomfortable home truths about the contemporary Italian scene.” World Soccer


Serie A clubs build to take on champions AC Milan

August 16, 2011

“Italian football has experienced a summer of new and old scandals, of threatened player strikes (again) and a transfer market so far more notable for its departures than arrivals. Champions Milan have enjoyed a happier pre-season than in recent years: coach Massimiliano Allegri has just signed an improved contract and, while vice-president Adriano Galliani’s constant talk suggesting the imminent arrival of a ‘Mr X’ has been somewhat self-defeating, reinforcements for the back four (Philippe Mexès in the centre, Taye Taiwo on the left) bode well.” WSC


Milan 2-1 Inter: Gasperini’s 3-5-1-1 dominates first half, but needless switches see him beaten

August 10, 2011

“Inter were 1-0 up at half time but managed to lose 2-1, after a strange tactical change from their new boss Gian Piero Gasperini. Gasperini was widely expected to bring his favoured 3-4-3 to Inter, but for this match he started with a 3-5-1-1, with new signing Ricardo Alvarez breaking forward from the left of midfield to form a lopsided front three. Max Allegri played the same 4-3-1-2 he favoured last season. In fact, with the exception of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in place of Pato, it was the same XI that started the previous derby. This was, of course, a game of two halves – the only question was why Inter relinquished their dominance from the opening period.” Zonal Marking


Tuesday tit-bits: A Roman Affair

July 29, 2011

“Sharing is good, because it breeds a pleasant atmosphere. So with that in mind, here are some things I’ve been reading this week that you might like to take a look at. Kicking things off with A.S. Roma fan, Di Elle, who has translated (with some help) an interview with Franco Baldini. The current England general manager is in the frame to take on a role at the capital club and some interesting comments were made regarding the future running of the club – and in particular with regard to Francesco Totti’s position in the Roman hierarchy.” The Football Express


Just Football: Serie A 2010-11 Team of the Season

June 6, 2011

“With the 2010/11 Serie A season now complete and Internazionale Coppa Italia winners, time for the obligatory team of the season. Naturally, champions Milan are the most represented team in the main XI, with three players. The midfield area, however, contains choices from teams outside the top three in Italy this season.” Just FootBall


The 50 greatest European club sides

June 2, 2011

“Alex Ferguson was left in no doubt. ‘In my time as a manager I would say yes, this is the best team I’ve faced.’ But then, on Saturday night at Wembley, the Manchester United manager wasn’t exactly analysing the issue with the most detached viewpoint. His team had just been utterly dismantled by Barcelona. And as he gets closer to the end of his career, it was a performance that will probably leave as deep an impression as that of Real Madrid at Hampden Park near the start of it in 1960.” The Football Pantheon


Thanks Inter, But ‘This Is The Way It Was’

May 10, 2011

“While nothing should ever detract from the amazing achievements of Jose Mourinho’s Inter, it is equally nonsensical to deny the advantages afforded to the Nerazzurri in the immediate aftermath of the original Calciopoli trials of 2006. Adam Digby on why Serie A may be beginning a new era.” In Bed With Maradona


Meet and Greet The Owners and Presidents of Serie A

April 15, 2011

“Because Milanisti are such gracious hosts, Milan Insider Matteo Bonetti takes a few moments to reflect on the owners and presidents who would be there as peers looking out for the welfare of new American owner Thomas DiBenedetto. Matteo offers some key talking points to help the prospective AS Roma owner adjust to his new surroundings in Serie A. Buona Fortuna!Beyond the Pitch


In Defence of the Inter Defence

April 7, 2011

“Over the past three years the potent attacking players of Inter have been much lauded and rightly so. From the criminally overlooked and under-appreciated displays of Wesley Sneijder last season to some sublime solo efforts from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Alongside them we have seen the predatory skills of Diego Milito and Giampaolo Pazzini as well as some of the most versatile and diverse performances in memory from the immensely talented Samuel Eto’o.” In Bed With Mardona


Inter 2-5 Schalke: awful defending produces an incredible scoreline

April 6, 2011

“Schalke shocked Inter to put themselves on the verge of a European Cup semi-final place. Leonardo switched to a 4-3-1-2 system after Inter’s poor display against Milan with a 4-2-3-1. Dejan Stankovic replaced Goran Pandev, whilst Diego Milito played alongside Samuel Eto’o upfront. Ralf Rangnick played a 4-4-1-1ish system. Kyriakos Papadopoulos was used as the sole holder in midfield, with Jurado given license to go forward. Raul played just off Edu upfront.” Zonal Marking

Inter Milan (Internazionale) 2-5 Schalke – Video Highlights, Recap, and Match Stats – Champions League
The 90th Minute


Serie A title is AC Milan’s to lose

April 5, 2011

“What makes a great season? If it’s the quality of soccer played, then this has been a dismal year for Serie A, something shown up by the performances of Italian clubs in European competition. Internazionale limps on in the Champions League, somehow in the last eight despite a back line about as well-drilled as a class of five year olds on their first school trip. However, AC Milan and Roma went out in the last 16 and Italian interest in the Europa League ended when Napoli lost to Villarreal in the last 32. Juventus and Palermo didn’t even make it out of the groups.” SI


Milan 3-0 Inter: Pato goals put Milan in charge

April 3, 2011

“Two goals from Alexandre Pato and another from Antonio Cassano sent Milan five points clear of Inter.
Max Allegri started Pato and Robinho upfront in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence. Clarence Seedorf played on the left of midfield, and Gianluca Zambrotta got a surprise start at left-back. Leonardo chose to play 4-2-1-3 rather than 4-3-1-2. Javier Zanetti played at left-back, and both Cristian Chivu and Andrea Ranocchia were fit to start – Lucio was suspended. The game got off to a sensational start – Pato scored the opener after just 44 seconds, and Milan were immediately in charge.” Zonal Marking


Milan derby looms large in four-horse race for the scudetto

March 23, 2011


Antonio Cassano and Pato react after Palermo’s goal in the win over Milan.
“Crisis? What crisis? As Internazionale prepared for their Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich on Tuesday, newspaper editors up and down the peninsula were putting the finishing touches on bleak spreads about the decline of Italian football, preparing for the worst as Serie A faced up to the prospect of having no teams in the quarter-finals of either major European competition. But then Inter won. Better still, four days later Milan lost.” Guardian


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