Inter - Cesena Preview: Stramaccioni's men aim to keep third-place dreams alive against relegation-doomed visitors
The Nerazzurri will look to continue their unbeaten streak under their former Primavera coach in order to keep up the hunt for a Champions League qualification spot
By Julian De Martinis
Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia, Nagatomo
Cambiasso, Poli, Guarin
Rodriguez, Bergen, Benalouane
Lauro, Guana, Parolo, Santana, Comotto
The home side will likely name a team largely unchanged from the midweek 3-1 away win over Udinese. After struggling to return from injury, Wesley Sneijder looks to be approaching form, exemplified by his brace on Wednesday following his first start under Andrea Stramaccioni. Yuto Nagatomo impressed his boss after his first start as well and could be rewarded with a second successive appearance from the beginning of the match.
The home side will be missing captain Javier Zanetti, Cristian Chivu, Walter Samuel and Luc Castaignos through injury. Dejan Stankovic is suspended, meaning that the young Andrea Poli is likely to start in midfield for the side. The biggest question mark revolves around the team's attack; Stramaccioni will either leave Milito as a starter or give the misfiring Giampaolo Pazzini a chance to get back to scoring ways.
The visitors were relegated following a narrow defeat to Juventus in midweek and currently sit at the very bottom of the table. With almost nothing left to play for, coach Mario Beretta could pick either largely the same team that nearly held Juventus to a single goal, or could opt to play some of the club's younger players.
Beretta has quite a few injuries and suspensions to deal with, with Daniel Pudil and Jorge Martinez out for the match. Vangelis Moras, Vincenzo Rennella and Giuseppe Colucci are all doubts as well, meaning a three-man back-line is likely for the visitors.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Inter have not lost in the league in over a month, winning three and drawing two of Stramaccioni's five games in charge, scoring 12 and conceding eight in the process.
- The home side have won the last three matches played against Cesena, including the reverse fixture where Andrea Ranocchia notched the only goal of the match.
- Although Diego Milito has scored 20 goals for Inter in Serie A this season, and has six goals in the five matches since Stramaccioni took over, the rest of the side's attack has been quite anaemic. Second behind the Argentine on the goalscoring charts is Giampaolo Pazzini with five goals.
- Lucio leads the Inter back-line in clearances per game; his average of 10 is nearly a full two more than Samuel's and three and a half more than Ranocchia's averages.
- Cesena have not won a match since January 15th! They are currently on a 16 match winless streak.
- Before their loss to Juventus, however, the visitors had drawn five matches in a row.
- With eight goals to his name this season, Adrian Mutu leads the charts for Cesena. Three of his team-mates follow with two goals each: Eder, Mario Santana, and Antonio Candreva.
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Top 3 Predictions
Inter 3-0 Cesena
- 29.19 %
Inter 2-0 Cesena
- 14.28 %
Inter 3-1 Cesena
- 9.61 %
|Serie A (ITA1)||29 Apr 2012||Inter 2 - Cesena 1|
|Serie A (ITA1)||18 Dec 2011||Cesena 0 - Inter 1|
|Serie A (ITA1)||30 Apr 2011||Cesena 1 - Inter 2|
|Serie A (ITA1)||19 Jan 2011||Inter 3 - Cesena 2|
|19 May 2013||Inter 2 - Udinese 5||ITA1|
|12 May 2013||Genoa 0 - Inter 0||ITA1|
|8 May 2013||Inter 1 - Lazio 3||ITA1|
|5 May 2013||Napoli 3 - Inter 1||ITA1|
|28 Apr 2013||Palermo 1 - Inter 0||ITA1|
|Returns:||Inter £12.22||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £110.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Cesena £410.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|11||Ricardo Gabriel Álvarez||Midfielder|
|19||Esteban Matias Cambiasso||Midfielder|
|-||Iván Ramiro Córdoba||Defender|
|-||Diego Forlan Corazo||Striker|
|22||Diego Alberto Milito||Striker|
|25||Steve von Bergen||Defender|
|7||Mario Alberto Santana||Midfielder|
It's been a long time coming, but Wesley Sneijder finally looked like the player of old last weekend, and will want to continue his inspiring form against the poor visitors.
If Cesena are to have any hopes of keeping Inter from believing in a Champions' League place, it will likely come down to their veteran goalkeeper rather than their anemic attack. Though not at his best this season, the 42-year-old Antonioli certainly has the experience to try and shut Inter out.
It should be a relatively easy victory for Inter against the already relegated side with the league's worst offense and fourth-worst defence.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed