SCOTT PETERSON - Friday, October 21, 2011
After defeating Napoli earlier this season, Michael Bradley and Chievo Verona continued to foil the big boys of Italian soccer last week as they scraped out a goalless tie against league leaders Juventus.
A similar performance will be required this week when the Mussi Volanti head north to Milan to face a struggling, but very talented Inter squad.
With an impressive nine points from six matches, Chievo comes into the match in high spirits. Chievo have no reported injury concerns, which should bolster the chances that head man Domenico di Carlo fields the same squad and employs similar defensive tactics as against Juventus to stymy Inter's attack and catch the home team on the counter.
Inter, on the other hand, could not have imagined a more dismal start to the season. With a mere four points from their opening six matches, they are stuck in a three-way with perennial bottom dwellers Bologna and Lecce for second-to-last place. Only Cesena has fewer points than Inter at the moment.
Making matters worse for Inter's head coach Claudio Ranieri, summer signee Diego Forlan picked up a thigh injury while playing for Uruguay two weeks ago, which rules him out for the next two weeks. It's not all bad news though for the Nerazzuri, as they defeated a very good Lille team on the road in the Champions League this past week and showed some flashes of brilliance that one would expect from a squad of Inter's caliber.
Playing in the San Siro, one the world's most iconic and loudest soccer stadiums, is never an easy task and normally would figure to have an adverse effect on the Flying Donkeys of Chievo. However, the pressure in this one rests squarely on Inter's shoulders as they have yet to win in front of their home fans this year and desperately need three points if they are to climb up the standings.