Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

The title race in Italy’s top division now sees the “Tinkerman” take on the “Special One.” Last weekend’s results meant AS Roma went to the top of Serie A for the first time this season. AS Roma beat Atalanta 2-1 at the Olimpico, whilst Inter were held to a frustrating 2-2 draw away to Fiorentina.

Roma now have a 1 point advantage over Inter Milan with 5 games to play; so just who is in better shape to win the run in? Who can be successful and lift the trophy? Do the clubs have an ace up their sleeve? Can each manager use their reputation to their advantage? Let’s analyse the key elements of this fascinating title race.

Roma are in a rich vein of form just now; who would have thought that they’d be able to go unbeaten for over 6 months in the league? I’m sure most Romans didn’t think so. Yet such is the job that Claudio Ranieri has done, you can’t help but be astounded by this club’s progress. But what has he done to make Roma so effective? Well he has motivated players who were struggling for form under previous boss Luciano Spalletti; Jeremy Menez has become a revelation under Ranieri’s guidance. Before, he had looked like an expensive flop, another player who had arrived with so much promise only to never deliver.

Now Menez is shining in a new look front three which also features the talents of Totti, Toni and Vucinic. So do these talents form the ace which Ranieri has up his sleeve? I would argue so. The return of Totti from injury is key to their challenge; he lifts this team, there is no other like him for Roma. Bringing Luca Toni on loan from Bayern Munich was a clever peice of business, he is a man hungry to prove himself and also secure a place at the world cup. Vucinic as ever, is banging in the goals for the team. With Daniele De Rossi and David Pizarro pulling the midfield strings, this bow is loaded and ready to fire.

But what of Inter? Can they see off Roma’s challenge and clinch a 6th successive title? Inter’s attacking force will be key. Diego Milito has been consistent all season, making him their top scorer. Samuel Eto’o has recently stumbled upon a rich vein of form, netting the crucial goals to ensure Inter got through their rough patch. Goran Pandev could prove to be the best signing of the January transfer window, he’s slotted straight into the team. However, the ace for Mourinho is Wesley Sneijder. The flying Dutchman has been Inter’s best player this season. When Ibrahimovic left last summer some might have questioned how Inter were going to cope; so often they had looked to the Swede for inspiration, to produce a piece of magic to stun opponents. Now though, Inter look like a complete team, the creative player they’ve been crying out for has arrived; Sneijder is the man which will ensure this team achieves glory.

Roma have an easier run-in than Inter. The Romans must face Lazio, Sampdoria, Parma, Cagliari and Chievo. Inter have to face Juventus, Atalanta, Lazio, Chievo and Siena. I would expect Roma to pick up 13 points from their run in; and Inter to get 15. Thus Inter winning the League by 1 point on the final day.

What about the managers though? Can Ranieri finally get revenge against Mourinho? Some would argue payback is due for the way the Italian was treated upon his exit from Chelsea. This is also where the reputations come into play. There is no questioning that up until now Mourinho has come up trumps against Ranieri every the time the pair have collided, but why is this so? Well previously Jose has been at a club which is more dominant compared to Ranieri’s. For example when Ranieri was at Juventus, Inter still had a far more competitive squad and it wasn’t possible for Ranieri to better Mourinho. Mourinho appears to dominate Ranieri in the personality stakes; Jose is an expert at manipulating the media to suit his needs; Ranieri simply comes across as “the nice guy.” In the heat of a match, can you rely on Ranieri not to crack? Can he make the correct tactical decisions? You can certainly rely on Inter’s manager to do the right thing.

Things may be different now, Internazionale have the distraction of a Champions League Semi-Final against Barcelona and subsequently, Jose has to rotate his squad accordingly. Roma can concentrate solely on the domestic competitions and so may won’t have to worry about fatigue. Ranieri’s reputation will not aid him though; along with being called the “Tinkerman” he is also renowned for not having actually won a major trophy; can he resist the temptation to alternate the squad and will the pressure be too much? Mourinho is also under pressure to now deliver, the “Special One” tag heaps immense pressure upon him, he must deliver; the difference between the two managers is that Jose will thrive under the pressure, whilst Claudio will most likely shrivel. This is only based on history, but then what would reputations be built upon, if not for history?

Ryan Ross

I became enthralled with Calcio back in the 90’s, when James Richardson presented Football Italia. My early mornings were spent following the trials and tribulations of Internazionale, during a period where they always flattered to deceive. It took a Frenchman to get me hooked though; Youri Djorkaeff, my favourite player of all time. This guy was key to Inter’s midfield, never mind his role in France’s World Cup win in 1998! I have a keen interest in Calcio’s rich history.

More Posts - Twitter

One Response so far.

  1. Serie_AHH says:

    I agree that Inter will win the title. Reason being is that I think that they have the easier schedule. Both have matches remaining againist Lazio and Chievo however Lazio will be much more firey againist Roma than Inter.

    Inter's then play a struggling Juve and bottom feeders Siena and Atalanta.

    Roma take on a struggling Cagliari, an over achieving Parma and a Champions League hopeful Sampdoria.

    Only way Roma has a chance in my view is if Inter beat Barcelona and continue to highly prioritize the Champions League so much that their league form suffers.

Featured Skills Video

    Write for Serie A Weekly!

    contribute Send us a timely, compelling post and we'll consider it for publishing on the site with mention of your name and social-media link.

    Click here to contact us.

Sponsors

Serie A Weekly recognises all copyrights contained. Where possible we acknowledge the copyright holder. If you own copyright to an image and object to its presence, contact the blog immediately using the "contact us" link at the top of this page. This blog is not responsible for the content of third party sites.