What: Italian Serie A
Who: Roma vs Inter
When: Sunday 20th January, 2013, at 19:45 UK time
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
Moving Up the Ladder
Roma meet Inter twice in the space of four days, in both league and cup action. Sitting in sixth position with 32 points after 20 games, the team have so far underachieved, according to their own standards. Knowing that they have to improve their form should they want to play Champions League football next season, Roma need to start winning, but having already won the corresponding fixture 3-1 at the San Siro last September, the Giallorossi will be confident of their chances when they battle their visitors from the north.
Roma’s home run has been far from perfect this season, winning just five out of their nine Serie A games at the Stadio Olimpico. However, they have recorded five straight home wins recently, their struggles coming on the road, and will be hoping to extend this run when they meet the 2010 treble winners. The game will not be easy though according to defender Leandro Castan, who stressed that his team must emerge victorious against the Nerazzurri should they want to aspire towards finishing in third place.
“I remember well the victory against them [last September]. It was a good game, and I expect the same on Sunday. A win will be crucial in the race for third place. Third place is possible but only if we win against Inter”, declared the Brazilian.
The team have been boosted by the return of Francesco Totti from injury, but doubt still lingers over the participation of the likes of Maarten Stekelenburg and Pablo Osvaldo.
Away Form Wobbles
In fourth position and just four points behind third-placed Lazio, Inter are keen to push for a Champions League spot. Inter currently have the second highest number of wins on the road, with six victories out of a possible ten. But the Beneamata will certainly have a hard task here, knowing that they tasted defeat on their own turf in the corresponding fixture during the first half of the campaign.
And there are further warnings for Inter ahead of the match as they have failed to find the net in their last four away games. Furthermore, Andrea Stramaccioni's men have been winless in their last four away Serie A games, with their last taste of success on the road being a famous 3-1 win over Juventus on 3rd November.
Defender Cristian Chivu stressed that Inter will not find it easy as they prepare to meet his ex-side. “Roma will not be easy, they attack using their provided spaces. They also have players who are able to always deliver the right pass at the right time.”
Similarly to Roma, Inter too will be missing players for this fixture, as Diego Milito, Antonio Cassano and Walter Samuel all sit this out. Milito in particular has been one of his side’s most important players this term with eight goals to his name and his absence up front will surely be missed.
Napoli 4-1 Roma (06/01; Serie A)
Catania 1-0 Roma (13/01; Serie A)
Fiorentina 0-1 AET Roma (16/01; Coppa Italia)
Udinese 3-0 Inter (06/01; Serie A)
Inter 2-0 Pescara (12/01; Serie A)
Inter 3-2 AET Bologna (15/01; Coppa Italia)
Roma: Maarten Stekelenburg (doubt); Simone Perrotta (doubt); Pablo Osvaldo (doubt); Bogdan Lobont (doubt); Alessio Romagnioli; Nicolas Lopez
Inter: Diego Milito; Antonio Cassano; Walter Samuel; Ricardo Alvarez; Luca Castellazzi; Dejan Stankovic; Alvaro Pereira (doubt); Philippe Coutinho (doubt)
Players to watch
Roma – Francesco Totti: No player fires up the Roma faithful like Totti does, even if the club’s golden boy is in the twilight of his career. With six goals and six assists to his name in 18 Serie A matches, the former Azzurri star will be looking to improve his numbers further.
Inter – Andrea Ranocchia: Not so long ago considered a failed project at the club, Ranocchia has been a constant fixture under Andrea Stramaccioni, having played more league games so far this season than in the whole of 2011/12. He will need to keep Roma at bay should he want to see his stock rise even more.
Having been at one point hot on Juventus’ trail, Inter’s win over the reigning Serie A champions is history now. Their recent record away from the San Siro is horrific and Roma will certainly prove to be hard competition for them. Roma 2-0 Inter.
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