It is often said that a week is a long time in football and that has never held more true for Claudio Ranieri this morning. The Roma Coach was lauded for his bravery and tactical knowledge in the Derby win over Lazio last weekend as he replaced the two most influential players, De Rossi and Totti, and his side went on to victory. This morning he is ridiculed for subbing Perrotta for Toni, then bringing on Taddei for Cassetti just five minutes later.
Giampaolo Pazzini has been linked with a move to Juventus over the past few months, and on current form that looks like a great option to revive the ailing Old Lady. However it is Jose Mourinho’s Inter who should perhaps look to the in form Italian as the unlikely hero of their now probable Scudetto triumph.
Fresh from ending the faint title hopes of Milan last week, it was Pazzini once more who saw off Inter’s opposition with two goals in Rome to give the Nerazzurri a four point cushion with just three games remaining.
“Are these yours Jose?”
Inter do have a slightly tougher schedule than Roma, but that also turned slightly in their favour this weekend. Bologna would beat Parma 2-1, which confirmed the relegation of Livorno, despite their 3-1 victory over Catania. Udinese’s comfortable 4-1 win over Siena sees the Tuscan side all but certain to be in Serie B next term too.
Atalanta’s loss to Inter, combined with Lazio’s 2-1 triumph in Genoa puts Roma’s city rivals 6 points clear of the drop-zone. Surely any hope Ranieri’s men had of a favour from their cousin’s has now evaporated?
‘Doria’s win on Sunday night also looks to have ended Juventus’ chance of capturing a Champions League berth for next season too. A 6 point gap remains, and now Palermo are 4 points ahead after their 3-1 triumph over Milan on Saturday.
Leonardo’s team now hold only a 4 point cushion over Sampdoria and after being in the title hunt last week they now face a fight to cling on to the automatic slot that comes with third place.
Juventus had a comfortable win over Bari, who never really put up a fight, unlike Alessandro Del Piero, who screamed at Alberto Zaccheroni when the coach tried to substitute his captain late in the game. Claudio Marchisio was in the process of being stretchered off and it was Juve’s final change.
“YOU want to sub ME?”
In the end Del Piero prevailed, Marchisio had cramp and had to go off. It is yet another embarrassment in Zaccheroni’s brief spell in Turin, needing a senior player to point out an injury. The bright orange First-Aid buggy is clearly not enough of a clue for some people!
So with just three games left the race for the Scudetto may yet take another twist, but the battles for 3rd, 4th and the final relegation slot look set to go right to the wire. Only another week to wait Claudio…
Week 36 Fixtures; Atalanta-Bologna, Bari-Genoa, Cagliari-Udinese, Catania-Juventus, Chievo-Napoli, Lazio-Inter, Milan-Fiorentina, Parma-Roma, Sampdoria-Livorno, Siena-Palermo