If you’re a die-hard Inter Milan fan like I am, you must have been disappointed by the team’s season last year.
It’s not really hard to understand what happened last season. The club made several mistakes in 2011 and unfortunately paid for most of them. First off the team lost its philosophy, its mental strength and its winning mentality from the Mourinho era. A (record?) total of four managers in less than one year brought different tactical systems and different football perspectives to the team.
Second of all, they lost the most talented player on their roster: Samuel Eto’o while far less talented players (Giampaolo Pazzini) and less capable players (Diego Forlan) were expected to step up in that particular position. Finally too many players who were passed their prime were given important role. Dejan Stankovitch, Chivu, Lucio, Julio Cesar and Maicon have helped Inter win championships these past 5 years. But let’s be clear, all of them are passed their prime and they all should have been replaced last year.
That being said, I have a feeling 2012-2013 will be different for Inter. Lucio is already gone and it’s being reported by Football-Italia this evening that Julio Cesar could be on his way to QPR while Maicon’s agent meets with Real Madrid. The likes of Coutinho and Ricky Alvarez will play a much more important role in the development of the offense and both of them will help Sneijder control the pace of our game. Sneijder is an excellent player and a different type of trequartista but Ricky and Coutinho are classic number 10s. Both are better suited to slow down the tempo of the game and deliver intelligent passes to open up the game.
Freddy Guarin, who was recruited in January, will also play a crucial role in Inter’s game. He has been really impressive so far in the preseason and having him in the center of our midfield gives us a player who can create offensively but really help out defensively. Silvestre was brought in to replace Lucio and is expected to be our main center back this season and to be quite honest I’m really exited about that… he will be more reliable than Lucio and Chivu. Handanovic who was also brought this summer should be the starting goal keeper and he has been pretty good so far during the preseason.
2012-2013 will be Stramaccioni’s first full season as the head coach of the team. Personally I think Strama is the man of moment, and his system (4-3-2-1) suits the team perfectly. He seems to appreciate creative midfielders and there is no doubt that Coutinho, Ricky Alvarez and Palacio will be given more opportunities to run the offense with Sneijder. Last season we saw that he was a bright tactical mind when he outfoxed Allegri’s Milan in the derby but he knows he will have to do much more than win one big game if he wants to achieve great things with Inter.
Juventus has a quality team but unlike last season they will have to play champions league football and they lack the depth to compete on three tables. Milan lost their two best/important players and (probably) won’t be competing for the championship and while Napoli, Roma and Udinese have quality teams, only Inter seems to have the depth and the quality to make a run for the championship.
I don’t expect club to do much in the Europa League (although I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the final-four of competition) but I do expect to see the Inter I’ve seen win championships this season.
guest writer Benjamin Dalusma (aka BD) twitter