ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - FC Inter Milan
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FC Inter Milan
Posted by Gianni Serra on 01/16/2011

No doubt: Serie A will be a two horse race. Despite a gap that's still huge, Inter are the only team capable to challenge AC Milan's lead. Nerazzurri trashed Bologna 4-1 playing with the same composure and intensity admired last season. But it's not the same Inter.

Leonardo has already stamped his mark on the team. And not only by a psychological point of view, which was immediately evident. The former AC Milan coach keeps paying public tributes to Jose Mourinho but [while training] at Appiano Gentile he's doing a great job of his own - Leo has shaped a different attack, giving up the 4-2-3-1 formation for a more offensive 4-3-1-2.

Leonardo has changed position and duties of many players. Now the team plays with two central strikers (Eto'o and Milito), who have to concentrate only about scoring and creating spaces for each other. And they did it very well against Bologna - Stankovic opening goal and Eto'o's first are clear examples. To deflect any defensive tasks from the Cameroon striker to restore him as a central forward paired with the Argentinian it's something really new and highly promising if they can keep the current form.

This choice stresses a big difference between the Brazilian coach and the two predecessors Mourinho and Benitez. Same could be said for the full-backs. Both the Portoguese and the Spaniard thought it was safer playing with two pair of players on the flanks. The Brazilian believes just the opposite as he thinks that less traffic can only be beneficial for Chivu and [most of all] Maicon going forward - also for this reason he wants Maicon and Chivu to start pressing in the half field line, in order to allow the two holding midfielders retreat, with the centre-backs asked to stay 10-15 yards behind.

Bologna were not a demanding test only because Inter knocked them down straight away. Different class. The 4-1 win against Rossoblu brought only positive news for Leonardo - Castellazzi added two more great saves to confirm heroics in Catania were not occasional; Maicon is reaching his top form; Cordoba was outstanding; Stankovic is playing very effectively in the Sneijder position with less flair but more vigor. They all must keep the momentum going.


MAN OF THE MATCH: Javier Zanetti. The skipper equalled Beppe Bergomi's record of 519 league games with Inter - two legends from different eras who spent three seasons together at Inter, between 1995 and 1998. The joint-record won't last long as 'Saviero' is likely to surpass Bergomi on Wednesday when Inter are facing Cesena.

Serie A 2010-11 / Day 20

INTER-BOLOGNA 4-1

INTER: Castellazzi; Maicon, Lucio, Cordoba, Chivu; Zanetti (86' Santon), Cambiasso, Thiago Motta (68' Mariga); Stankovic; Eto’o (75' Pandev), Milito. Coach: Leonardo
BOLOGNA: Viviano; Garics, Portanova, Britos, Rubin; Perez, Mudingayi (50' Gimenez), Della Rocca; Ekdal (71' Casarini); Ramirez (81' Buscé), Di Vaio. Coach: Malesani

Referee: Gava
Goals: Stankovic 20’, Milito al 30’; Eto’o 63’, 72’; Gimenez 77'

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Comments

Posted by Backpass on 01/16/2011

What a great night! JZ got 519 record, Milito scored wonderful goal and made back-heel assist, and Eto'o proved he was that damn good.
Now we should wait what kind of performance Leo & squad would show us against European giant like Bayern Munich.

Posted by Sam on 01/16/2011

I am normally the type of person who believes that coaches can only take a portion of the blame when things go wrong but I think the Inter Benetiz relationship was never right and the change in this team since Leonardo took over is incredible. The players look like they are becoming more and more confident every game and they are smiling and winning again. All this without Sneijder, Samuel and Cesar! The injuries seem to be diminishing and normality is returning to the team.
As you said Leonardo has not returned to Mou's tactics exactly but what he has done is play these players in roles that suit their style. It will indeed be interesting to see how both Sneijder and Coutinho fit into his system. Coutinho in particular may be forced back a bit as I cannot see him playing as an out and out striker. He may rotate with Sneijder in the AM position. We have gone from needing 4 more players to having too many! What a difference a change makes!

Posted by Jose on 01/19/2011

Inter...man i guess Benitez was totally the wrong guy for the job.

Posted by Timmy on 01/20/2011

its a joke when you say inter is the only serie A side to challenge AC....oh please...other sides will finish ahead of inter...

Posted by Valjean on 09/29/2011

This ariltce went ahead and made my day.

Posted by Vasile on 09/30/2012

, I also agree with your statement about how he has resergsed this season, and isn't showing the confidence I crave from seasons of past. Once he regains that confidence, I believe he will be a valuable player to the side.You mention the 4-3-3, and although it is kind of going off the topic of a center midfielder, I would really love to see Fergie employ the formation as he has before, but play with Berba in the center forward role, and Chicharito and Rooney with all their movement on the flanks. I am about as big of a Berbatov fan as it gets, as I have been in awe of his class since before his arrival, and feel that it is slightly unfair (not unfair because that's football, and Chicharito and Rooney have formed a great partnership) that the leading goal scorer in the EPL has been stuck on the bench. He too has shown signs of understanding with his fellow strike partners this season, and if the three of them could work together, it would undoubtedly be the most lethal strike force in the world. Having said that, I know that a formation like that could detract from our stellar wing play which has proven to be our bread and butter in past years.That is a cracking article, and compliments other articles I have read about Rooney's tretarquista role. I love watching him receive the ball, then lift his head up and play those long raking balls across the pitch. It really adds to our dimension and width, and thus spreads opposition defenses. I definitely agree with Wilson on his point about how critics can say he is having a bad season when he is in double digit goals and assists? Furthermore, I don't even think his best attributes are his stats, as we look much more lively and dangerous when he is on the pitch. His leadership and desire are a huge reason why we are in the position we are at this point of the season. They have to remember that at the beginning of the year when we were generally disappointing, Wazza wasn't on the pitch! Great point Jason.I certainly hope we see Anderson reach his potential, but I still honestly can't see him being the focus of our midfield in years to come. This is just my opinion, and I don't want to offend a dedicated reader like you at all (please come back ), but my least favorite part of his game is how often he loses possession of the ball. He'll take an extra touch and with that, we lose possession and are on the back foot. I love the way Modric, or even more so, Barcelona (don't love them though) as a whole, keep possession of the ball in the midfield, and look like they'll never concede it. We'll see, and like I said, hopefully he'll make it!And I have to say your final point is the best part of the whole comment! Bastian would definitely fit into our squad seamlessly, and would be the answer to all our problems. I believe h just signed a contract extension, so the best we can do is find a player after Bastian's mold. I certainly hope we see him in a Red other than Bayern's kit!Thanks for your great comment, and how you added onto the discussion.

Posted by Khaled on 10/03/2012

Alright we're all arguing. Might as well throw in my two cents.For 17 moililn, you expect Carrick to do a little more than he currently does. Central defensive midfielders are crucial for their passing and Carrick really doesn't provide that. Not only do they have to be aggresive and tough like the Cambiassos in the world, they have to be able to have playmaker qualities like Alonso. Considering Spurs paid 17.5 moililn for Modric, he would have been pretty good. Barca got Afellay for 3 moililn Euros, which I think is an absolute steal and he would have been a shrewd buy for Fergie.People are throwing Charlie Adam's name around quite a bit. While I admire him a lot as a player, he does a LOT of amateur mistakes that casts huge pressure onto his team mates. Did you see his through ball' for Nolan this week? Or his attempt at a back header to the Blackpool keeper when defending a corner? I think Man Utd was wise to keep away.On Anderson, I've rated him for a little while. But let's cast our minds back to 2009. At the end of the season, Nani had finished the season with the grand figures of 1 goal and 4 assists. Let's face it, we thought he wasn't going to be the next big thing. The media hounded him, and so did we. It seemed the only thing he could do was backflips. The 22 year old Nani improved without Ronaldo, ending with 3 goals and 10 assists. Then come this season, my word he's good now.So the moral of the story, let's give Anderson more time. He's 23. Nani was 23 at the start of this season. He played pretty well on the weekend, he really played some telling passes and deserved his man of the match award. And didn't Goal.com say he was only 6/10 or something? Pathetic. He was much better than that. And besides, I know a kid who went to Man Utd for a trial as a keeper and he told me Anderson kicked penalties against him. I heard that Anderson put it in the top corner each time, so at least there's something he's good at!

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