Stadio Olimpico, Rome
After 30 rounds, Inter leads the table with 63 points in the bag; Milan and Roma are both close behind, with 59 points each. However, as they say, the devil lies in the details. Milan have a very tough run-in. Six out of the last eight games are against strong teams (Cagliari, Sampdoria, Palermo, Genoa, Fiorentina and Juventus), with four of these being away games. With the exception of Cagliari, the other five are in the race for the fourth spot, which means none of them will take the games lightly. Also, in spite of Ronaldinho getting all plaudits, Milan have looked like a mid-table team, in the absence of Alessandro Nesta. With Nesta likely to miss a majority of the season, Milan’s challenge is very likely to peter out.
Roma, on the other hand, have the easiest run-in among the three. After the game against Inter, they only have the Derby della Capitale against Lazio, and a home game against Sampdoria, as the tough ones.
Inter will have to travel to Florence, and also host the Derby d’Italia. In addition, the team has the added disadvantage of still playing in Europe, and also being in the hunt for Coppa Italia.
Match Preview: This game is absolutely critical for the Scudetto race. If Roma lose, it will be match point Inter. If Roma win, they will be in pole position for the rest of the race. A draw will ensure that the battle continues on another day.
Claudio Ranieri has rejuvenated Roma, and they are enjoying a 19 match unbeaten streak in the league. They have pared down an impossible looking 14 point disadvantage with Inter to just 4 points
As for Inter, they have struggled since January to make an impact in Serie-A. Their last eleven games have produced only four wins. The last victory was at home, against the bottom club Livorno.
Recent History: Ironically, in the recent years in the league games between the two teams, the away team has come out better. In each of the past three seasons, Inter won the Stadio Olimpico leg of the league season, with the last edition resulting in a comprehensive 0-4 thrashing. In the same period, Inter never won a single game against Roma at San Siro.
Current Position: 3rd, 59 Points
Recent Form: WWDDD
Roma will welcome back Francesco Totti, who returns after missing out the previous month due to injury. With Luca Toni already back, Ranieri will have a nice selection headache.
Current Position: 1st, 63 points
Recent Form: WDWLD
Mario Balotelli continues to be banished, after his umpteenth incident of petulance and stupidity. Inter rested several players for the midweek game against Livorno. In addition to this match, Inter will have one eye on the impending visit of CSKA Moscow for the first leg of Champions league Quarter finals.
Inter 1-1 Roma
This season, the trend of teams not doing well at home continued, with Inter managing a poor 1-1 draw at San Siro. An early Mirko Vucinic goal was canceled out by a Samuel Eto’o equalizer.
TheHardTackle’s MATCH PREDICTION
Roma 1-1 Inter
It has been six years since Roma last won at Olimpico against Inter. This spell is not likely to end, irrespective of their great form this season.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
With three goals in the last three game, Eto’o possesses the abilities to trouble the Roma backline.