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Thursday November 1 2012
It’s raining, it’s pouring – but Serie A’s not boring

On a wet night in Serie A, Inter emerged as Juventus’ closest Scudetto challengers. Giancarlo Rinaldi wraps up Week 10.

After the referees, the deluge. If the match officials were the main protagonists of the weekend in Italy, they were replaced by the weather midweek. Downpours across the country meant the going at many grounds was heavier than Mario Balotelli’s wallet.

It is in such conditions that you can find out some often untested qualities in a team. A lot of technique, tactics and touch have to go out of the window to make way for guts, grit and a bit of good fortune. Some sides dug deep to find such reserves on a miserable evening – but others were found wanting.

It surprised nobody to see League-leading Juventus show the character required. It looked like they might have dropped a couple of points to Bologna but their injury time winner seemed almost predictable. Paul Pogba’s celebrations were as cool and stylish as much of his performance throughout the match.

The only would-be rival to match them were Andrea Stramaccioni’s Inter with a comeback triumph over Samp at a sodden San Siro. A penalty – and accompanying harsh red card – helped to kick-start a revival which was ultimately sealed with a swagger. It was all too much for Doria boss Ciro Ferrara – sent to the stands in his fifth defeat in a row.

There was no such dramatic resurgence in Bergamo. A beautiful strike from Carlos Carmona flew like a bullet shooting down Napoli’s title ambitions. Walter Mazzarri dismissed any talk of feeling the absence of Edinson Cavani, he preferred to put it down to an unlucky night. Believe that if you will.

The lack of Hernanes and Cristian Ledesma definitely dragged down Lazio at home to Torino. They did salvage a draw through Stefano Mauri, which was not to be sniffed at against a side which has shown some of its best form away from home. But it left their Scudetto hopes looking more forlorn than a hair-dye salesman calling at Vlad Petkovic’s front door.

Perhaps the most comical conditions of all were in Parma where Roma’s calamitous character was to the fore once more. The large puddles on the Tardini playing surface could be credited with an assist in at least a couple of goals in the Giallorossi’s 3-2 defeat. But the worst defence in the Division – with 19 goals conceded and counting – makes grim reading for Zdenek Zeman.

A change of Coach, of course, may not be the answer but it certainly seems to have been in Sardinia. Cagliari knocked off a fourth win in a row for Ivo Pulga and Diego Lopez against Siena. It all made the 3-0 win awarded to Roma by the footballing authorities over the Rossoblu earlier in the year look just about the most unlikely result of the season so far.

And what to say of the latest chapter in the Milan soap opera on Tuesday? Every time it sounds like the closing titles might be coming down on Max Allegri’s reign, they deliver a final twist as with their 2-2 comeback against Palermo. Stephan El Shaarawy has sometimes seemed like the expert cornerman who keeps helping to get a battered old boxing champion back to his feet.

The overall outcome of the midweek clashes was to set up a mouthwatering Derby d’Italia on Saturday night. After all the controversy of Sunday, it was refreshing to see football – if in trying conditions – take centre stage. Hopefully that will continue when Juventus and Inter have their showdown in Turin. One way or another it is likely to have a big say in where the title ends up this year.

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Have your say...
Don't forget Juan Jesus...Thiago Silva? This guy will be even better
on the 1st November, 2012 at 6:00pm
@all the "Ranocchia makes a mistake every game" sayers, Oh that must mean his first mistake this season last night must have been his first appearance? Hows that for a stat? Jokers. Best CB in Italy in the making and yes the stats prove it..Forza Inter!!
on the 1st November, 2012 at 6:00pm
Daniel is spot on about Talksport and the english media. Every chance they get to slate our league they take. The premier league is full of foreign players hardly any english players in the teams.Juve and Lazio have drawn at Chelsea and Spurs and Udinese won at anfield so far this season. Hardly inferior there. I am proud of our league we just need to take europa more seriously and theres the obvious stadium issues. Nice to see Ranocchias stats, forgot to include mistakes per game.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 4:59pm
Parma played on that pitch too you know Zeman! They adapted far more efficiently than we did. Worrying to think. We have better players than them on paper, but last night - Parma played far more intelligently and with a game plan that suited the shocking weather and pitch. Donadoni 1 Zeman 0.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 3:41pm
When will Zeman learn that "attack-attack-attack" just doesn't work as it's always open to a classic counter-attack. When he's not blaming corrupt officials, he's blaming the weather. A great coach transmits his ideas clearly but also knows how to adapt his ideas to the players at his disposal to make the most of their qualities. Roma need a tactician not a clueless dictator...bring in Montella!!
on the 1st November, 2012 at 3:04pm
I feel so sorry for Roma, they have a great coach who gets his teams to play wonderful football...except he knows nothing about defending! Just look at how many goals his teams concede!
on the 1st November, 2012 at 2:26pm
Serie A hasn't been boring for a long time now! It is only the ignorant, insular, narrow-minded,(like many of the Talksport presenters, & English media), that still believe it is so.

I am with Sam De Martino, when it comes to Rannochia. I don't care about stats. He makes a bad error in nearly every game. Be it with distribution, positioning, or ducking under a flighted ball. There is potential there, but he has to be more alert.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 12:54pm
A win on Saturday, and it's all over! As I said after 2 games! Juve to win League by Christmas!
on the 1st November, 2012 at 12:04pm
@ Sam de Martino Ranocchia has completed 4.4 tackles so far in every game. His per foul average is highest across Europe ie 3.4 tackles per game. Rana makes 3.7 interceptions per game. He completes 88.3 % passes. Surprisingly he is ahead of Kompany, Ramos and Thiago Silva in all aspects except pass completion ( Silva- 93.8%). He made 1 mistake at back last night and he is scrutinized? He is just 24 and in a couple of years would be best in Italy. 
on the 1st November, 2012 at 11:47am
Good performance from Consigli against napoli,Prandelli are you watching and call Roncaglia next time too. Di Natale need I say more and Quagliarella always guarantees goals when given the chance. Ranocchia cocks up again, cant believe people on here think he is international class. Its laughable. Palermo is a huge game for us now, win or bust its that simple. Everyone criticises Juve but they never give in. I will always support all italian teams in europe as they represent us all.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 11:06am
Get David Villa to Juvetus to finish off the games. 20 mill. is enough - he's 31 years old. Give him a three year contract.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 11:03am
As expected Zeman blames the weather. The weather is terrible but is the same for both teams.We need to get rid of him now, his tactics abysmal. Totti says we can still finish 3rd, again very unrealistic. It doesnt help when people make these statements. We will be lucky to get 5th and europa spot. I love roma but I feel so fed up with the same rubbish every year. We need montella and a new defense who are familiar with how to defend. 19 goals conceded the worst in the league. AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL
on the 1st November, 2012 at 11:01am

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