Football Italiano’s 500@five – Are Roma Inter’s biggest threat?

After another weekend of action in Italian football, the results see Roma join Milan in second place with 41 points. While Roma won its encounter with Siena with a last minute strike from Fulham-bound Stefano Okaka, Milan inexplicably dropped points at home to Livorno following another tepid performance. The draw saw the Rossoneri miss the chance to make up some ground on their cousins after Inter’s game with Parma was called off due to heavy snow. Elsewhere, Juventus managed only a draw with Lazio in their first game under new manager Alberto Zaccheroni.


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Milan’s poor showing for the third game in a row really left one wondering whether il Diavoli would be able to challenge for the Scudetto this term. Football is a strange game – just ten days ago Milan were being touted as potential Italian champions and now suddenly they are out of contention once again. Milan’s performance against Livorno was a terrible reminder of the early season struggles the team had to cope with.

The finishing was a real letdown for the team as quite a few chances went begging. Klaas Jan Huntelaar in particular would be disappointed with himself as he wasted two or three glorious opportunities to win the game. David Beckham and Ronaldinho however continued to impress upfront and combined well throughout the game. The main problem for Milan was getting the ball past the excellent Francesco Benussi in the Livorno goal. A player of Pato’s predatory skills was really missed last afternoon and Leonardo will hope to have him back very soon.

On the other hand Roma had just about the perfect game against Siena as their amazing turnaround continued. The Giallorossi had another John Arne Riise strike to thank for taking the lead. The Norwegian is becoming a hot talent on the left flank in the capital. There were many who doubted his abilities when he first arrived at the Lupi but over the past few months he has become one of the cornerstones of this Roma team. The team was without Luca Toni and Francesco Totti but still managed to put in a solid performance. Simone Vergassola’s equalizer for Siena was born more out of a Julio Sergio mistake than a defensive error. Claudio Ranieri will be indeed very pleased to see his team doing so well at the moment and they are now unbeaten in 17 games.

Looking at the weekend’s performances it looks as if Inter are well and truly on their path to become champions for a fifth consecutive time. The Nerazzuri are now eight points clear at the top with Milan now having played the same number of games as them. It may seem outlandish to suggest but going by the way things seem to be shaping up it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Roma stole a march on the Rossoneri in the battle for second place. Their recent displays have confirmed that the Giallorossi are definitely a unit capable of challenging the best and Leonardo will have to find a way to reinvigorate his squad as fast as possible.

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