This weekend we witness a clash between the remaining two sides to still hold unbeaten home records in Serie A this season. In many ways, this is arguably Inter’s hardest away game of the season. You can be sure not many would have said that at the start of the campaign.
Genoa is this season’s surprise package and despite only picking up 17 out of a possible 42 points on the road, they remain a very difficult team to beat at the Luigi Ferraris, amassing 28 out of a possible 36 points from home games so far. They have notched up an impressive 16 league wins at home this season and could force a hesitant looking Inter to drop a few more points this weekend. No matter where the Rossoblu finish in the table, their efforts have been a resounding success. No-one predicted that they would be in contention for Europe at this stage of the season and a Champions League spot is not out of the question. With Fiorentina and Roma suffering from frustrating inconsistency, this beguiling side could well sneak in under the radar.
The primary reason they are enjoying such an incredible year is the spectacular form of Diego Milito. The striker’s homecoming has been remarkable, already netting 15 times this season, putting him ahead of far more vaunted players like Zlatan Ibrahimović, Antonio Di Natale and Alessandro Del Piero. If the Argentine maintains his current form this coming weekend, he could find joy against the returning Marco Materazzi, who seems likely to start for Inter. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men need to believe they are capable of competing at the highest level of the league, because they contain a collective spirit that the bigger clubs would die for, and in players like Thiago Motta and Bosko Jankovic they are not short of raw talent, either.
Their opponents seem to be going through a shaky patch at the moment, drawing their previous two games (against Manchester United and Roma, respectively) and being significantly outplayed in both matches. The Special One is yet to find the perfect balance, often making drastic changes at half time or late in the second half to force the result, rather than cruise toward victory as his predecessor, Roberto Mancini, seemed to do with such ease.
Despite his claims that Zlatan Ibrahimović is the best player in the world, the towering Swede is nowhere near to wearing that illustrious tag. Against Manchester United, and in other big games this season, such as the Derby della Madonnina, Zlatan the Invisible was nowhere to be seen. However, he is probably one of the Coach’s “untouchables”, which poses a problem for the team because neither the underachieving Adriano nor the unpredictable Mario Balotelli is a natural partner for the big man.
Inter win most of their games in the midfield, but against Manchester United, and even Roma, their powers were dwarfed by seemingly more motivated opposition. Genoa has a chance to pry open the crack in the confidence that seems to run through the team at the moment. A lot of responsibility will fall upon captain Marco Rossi and Domenico Criscito to make life as hard as possible for la Beneamata.
The reverse fixture earlier in the season saw Genoa squeeze out a very respectable draw and the same result this time around could see them pile the pressure on Fiorentina and cause Inter to start looking over their shoulder.