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One point.  Zero wins.  Three matches.

Welcome to the start of Inter’s 2011-12 Serie A season.

What should have been an easy win in celebration of Captain Javier Zanetti’s record breaking night in the Nerazzurri shirt, turned into an embarrassing night at the hands of Serie A newcomers, Novara.  Instead of commemorating the astounding 757 times ‘Pupi’ has worn the black and blue to place him as Inter’s all-time appearance leader, the post-match chatter was filled with criticism towards Inter manager Gian Piero Gasperini, his inability to win, and most prominently, if the Inter coach would still have his job the following day.

Gasperini’s short tenure as Inter coach has always been met with skepticism since his appointment this past summer.  Known for his love of playing three men in defense, it was understood that he had the ability to adapt and adjust the squad according to what was needed.  Throughout the summer, the squad worked on his 3-4-3 formation, never seeming to fully grasp the ideas of ‘Gasp.’

As preseason wore on, it was apparent that a back line of three in the back would not suffice and the defensive woes have continued straight into the new season.  It may be hard to believe, but only a little over one week has gone by and Inter can potentially be eight points off the top of the board at the end of this round of matches.

Gasperini has played his favoured formation in all league matches, with the deviation to four in the back in the lone Champions League match in which Inter lost to Turkish side Trabzonspor.  It was highly recommended to the manager to try a four man defense in the Champions League by almost everyone in the Nerazzurri world.  The failure to capitalize on numerous chances and a botched defensive clearance ended up being Inter’s undoing as the visitors walked away from the Giuseppe Meazza with a lucky victory.

With the failure to win last Wednesday, these past two matches saw Inter play a backline of Andrea Ranocchia, Lucio, and Walter Samuel against Roma on Saturday and Ranocchia, Lucio, and Cristian Chivu last night.  What seemed to be the only positive note this past weekend was that Inter were able to keep a clean sheet and get a point.

Tuesday’s match against Novara was a completely different story.  Three goals allowed, Novara continuously attacking while having the better chances, and Inter running around the pitch without a game plan.  With another embarrassing night under their belt, Inter are now in the precarious situation of being the first Serie A team this season to fire their head coach.

Interisti have been calling for the chop after Saturday’s draw with Roma, particularly after the absolutely bizarre substitution of Diego Forlan for Sulley Muntari.  The Meazza erupted in jeers, whistles, and every possible sound of disapproval when Gasperini made the change, using the final substitution by taking his last center striker out for a midfielder with ten minutes left in the match while Giampaolo Pazzini was left on the bench, unused.  This action was taken as an act of settling for a draw at home.  After the match, the manager confirmed this as he said he was satisfied with the draw, as he believed the team’s performance should have led them to a win.

Pazzini was projected to start the match on Tuesday, only to find himself again on the bench, this time behind young Dutch striker Luc Castaignos.  Questions intensified about Gasperini and his refusal to play ‘Pazzo.’  After only 72 hours since the previous match, it only made sense to play a fresh Pazzini and rest either Forlan or Diego Milito, the latter having played in every game this season. To add to the befuddlement of Interisti was the exclusion of Ricky Alvarez, who was once again not called up to the match day squad list.

After the loss, President Massimo Moratti declared that he would take the night to make his decision as to whether or not Gasperini will be relieved of his duties.  When Gasperini gets fired, it will be the summation of factors that all stems down to philosophical differences.

What Gasperini has failed to comprehend is that as much as he loves his beloved 3-4-3, the Inter personnel are not suited for that particular formation.  The three man defense always had a slim chance of success with this squad, which is why the club took him at his word of being able to adapt in situations and to adjust formations while being tactically successful.  With seasoned, world class defenders in Lucio and Samuel, It was unrealistic to expect either defender to go through a season playing in a formation that would be stretched often during the course of a match.

Ultimately, the formations themselves seem to have no bearing whatsoever on the players deployed.  Three or four in the back, everyone involved are disenchanted and the likelihood that Gasperini will live to see another match as Inter coach are looking slim to none.

[Update: As of 11.00 CET this morning, Moratti has been quoted as saying “Gasperini?  I don’t believe he will be staying."]

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