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Inter Milan Vs. Catania, Preview: Inter need to prove themselves against the Elefanti

If Inter Milan really want to mark themselves out as challenging for the scudetto, their match against Catania is a must-win.

Claudio Villa

Inter Milan - Catania is the match to watch during the 3 p.m. time slot on Sunday. Inter seem to have moved on past last season's merry-go-round of coaching changes to find a resting place with Andrea Stramaccioni. The boss may not be perfect, but he's been adept enough to make the sorts of changes that have brought the side into fourth place, even on points with Lazio. In their last outing, the nerazzurri went up 1-0 in the third minute over rivals AC Milan, and managed to hold on for all three points despite the sending off of Yuto Nagatomo in the 48th minute.

Stramaccioni's shift from a four-man backline to a 3-5-2 has been hailed as the greatest thing since dried pasta. It may not be truly revolutionary, but Inter have won three out of three since the change. This willingness to adapt, along with their mixture of experience and youth has prompted many to believe they're able to challenge for the scudetto this season.

Inter fans may not like to hear this, but a title run may still be beyond their reach. Their strongest opponent thus far has been Fiorentina, who may very well have come away with a draw had it not been for a red card that left them down a man for the last half hour.

Now it's Catania, a side Inter must beat if they really want to put the past two turbulent seasons behind them. The rossazzurri are at the same level as the Viola, and will attack with just as much ruthlessness. Alejandro Gómez and Pablo Barrientos bring an element of trickery to the mix, and Gómez in particular could give Andrea Ranocchia heart palpitations.

Catania's not a side that many equate with ambition, but under Vincenzo Montella last season they made a credible run at the Europa League places, and Rolando Maran has done nothing to jeopardize his work. The defense can be iffy, but Catania know their weakness. They're not over-awed by big-name sides, and they'll come out fighting, making sure they can get a goal in.

Inter Milan Injuries and Suspensions

Wesley Sneijder, Cristian Chivu, and Dejan Stankovic (injured), Yuto Nagatomo (suspended)

Nothing new, really, for the nerazzurri. I'm sure they have volumes of notes stored up on what to do when Wes gets injured. Nagatomo will be more difficult to replace, seeing as he's started every league match this season. It might be Jonathan that gets the nod -- he played against Neftci on the right.

Catania Injuries and Suspensions

Keko, Blazej Augustyn, Fabio Sciacca, Alexis Rolin and Giuseppe Bellusci (injured).

Catania will survive these injuries. Nicolás Spolli can slot in for Bellusci.

Match Date / Time: Sunday, October 21 at 3 p.m. local time, 9 a.m. ET

Venue: San Siro, Milan

TV: BeIN Sport (USA), Sky Calcio 1 (Italy), RAI Internazionale