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Ranieri Gamble Has Roma Closing in On Scudetto

Posted by Kevin Walker Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Claudio Ranieri press conference In 2003, Claudio Ranieri lost his job as manager of Chelsea after his gamble in the UEFA Champions League semi final against Monaco backfired and cost Roman Abramovich's newly assembled squad a place in the final. With the Blues a goal to the good away from home in the first leg, Ranieri adopted an ultra attacking formation in an attempt to kill the game when the hosts were reduced to 10 men, a move which came back to haunt him as Monaco ran out 3-1 winners.

On Saturday night, the much travelled coach took arguably an even bigger gamble which may well prove the catalyst for Roma to claim an unexpected Serie A title.

With his side 1-0 down to bitter rivals Lazio, Ranieri removed both captain Daniele de Rossi and the influential Francesco Totti at half-time, claiming that they were "too close" to the derby and tried to hard for the cause. It was a move which could well have cost Ranieri his job had Roma lost the game and missed the chance to regain top spot in the title race, but two goals from Mirko Vucinic sealed a 2-1 win and moved them a point clear of Jose Mourinho's Internazionale.

With AC Milan losing again on their travels, this time to a last minute goal at Sampdoria, it now seems to be a two horse race between Roma and Inter.

It is quite a remarkable story, not just for Ranieri - sacked by Juventus last season (a move they may be regretting as they now look destined to miss out on the 2010-11 Champions League) - but for Roma themselves, as they started the season horribly under Luciano Spaletti before going on a remarkable run which sees them top the table.

For the former Chelsea coach, his stock has never been higher and is the hot favourite to take over from Marcello Lippi as national team coach after the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa this summer.

Next up for Roma is a tricky home tie against Champions League chasing Sampdoria this Sunday - a fixture potentially made even harder if Inter regain top spot by winning at home to Atalanta on Saturday.

With Mourinho's men pre-occupied by a mouthwatering Champions League semi final against Barcelona though, Ranieri will be hoping his side can take advantage and keep their remarkable run of form going for another four games which would clinch them one of the most impressive Scudetto victories of recent time.s

Written by Danny Watson, a sports writer who blogs about football shirts.
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