Siena vs. Inter Milan preview: Inter look for three points, Siena look for damage limitation

Claudio Villa

Rock bottom Siena entertain Internazionale, with the visitors sitting just three points from Lazio in the final Champions League place.

Siena welcome Inter to the Montepaschi on the back of a 1-0 loss to Udinese last week, undoing all the good work they had done by beating Sampdoria previously. The victory over Sampdoria has been the only bright spot for the Robur in recent times, as they have lost seven of their last eight league matches. This has left them a full six points from safety and three from Palermo, one place above. Matters haven't been helped by the departure of top scorer Emanuele Calaio back to Napoli, leaving Siena without a recognised goalscorer for the remainder of the season. Nicola Pozzi has been brought in on loan from Sampdoria but it remains to be seen whether he can provide the goals to propel Siena up the table, bagging just one in six appearances for Il Blucerchiati this season.

Andrea Stramaccioni was a busy man on transfer deadline day. Inter let Wesley Sneijder and Philippe Coutinho leave and although number one transfer target Paulinho remained elusive, they managed to bring in Zdravko Kuzmanovic from Stuttgart, Ezequiel Schelotto from Atalanta and Mateo Kovacic from Dinamo Zagreb, all of whom go straight into the squad for this match. It looks like shrewd business from Stramaccioni and Moratti, as Schelotto and Kuzmanovic are both seasoned Serie A campaigners (Kuzmanovic previously had a spell with Fiorentina) and whilst Kovacic is something of an unknown quantity, he comes highly rated. Draws with Roma and Torino have seen Inter at least establish a little consistency after an uncertain start to 2013, and they will hope to build on that against a sub par Siena outfit and try to close the gap to Lazio immediately above them in the final Champions League place.

Inter will be looking for nothing less than a win here as revenge for their 2-0 defeat to Siena at the San Siro in September and with the Robur in such poor form, it's difficult to see that upset being repeated. It remains to be seen whether any of Inter's new men will be thrust straight into the starting lineup, but Pozzi will be in line for a starting berth for Siena in order to try and establish some kind of form for the remainder of the season.

Siena are without any injury or suspension worries, whilst Inter may be able to welcome back Diego Milito and Dejan Stankovic. Walter Samuel, Gaby Mudingayi and backup goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi remain on the injury list.

Siena Injuries and Suspensions

None

Inter Injuries and Suspensions

Out: Walter Samuel, Gaby Mudingayi, Luca Castellazzi (injured). In Doubt: Diego Milito, Dejan Stankovic.

Match Date/Time: Sunday 3rd February 2013, 15:00 local, 09:00 E.T.

Venue: Stadio Comunale Artemio Franchi - Montepaschi Arena (Siena)

TV: Sky Calcio 1, Premium Calcio (Italy), beIN Sport en Espanol (USA), ESPN UK/HD (UK)

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