Siena v Inter Milan, Serie A, May 16, 2010
Inter Milan head to Siena needing three points in their final Serie A game of the season to secure the Scudetto ahead of Roma. The Nerazzurri are two points ahead of the capital side but with an inferior head-to-head record they will not be relying on the Flying Donkeys of Chievo, who Claudio Ranieriâ€™s side face, to do them any favours.
As ever, the future of Jose Mourinho has dominated the build-up to this match which could see Inter secure their fifth successive title and complete the second leg of what would be an unprecedented treble ahead of the Champions League final next week. The â€œSpecial Oneâ€ will have to put all thoughts of Real Madrid to one side as he looks to add another title to his remarkable CV.
The prospects of Inter winning at the Stadio Artemio Franchi seems even more likely as Siena have already been relegated to Serie B conceding the most goals in the Italian top flight (66) this season. A whopping ten points from safety, the Bianconeri have won just once in their last 11 matches.
Roma fans will though be clutching at a couple of straws. Earlier this week Mourinho stirred the pot a little when he said Roma will pay Siena to see off his side and win the title. The outspoken one said: â€œIf it’s true that the president of Siena is happy to beat us and has promised the same prize to his players that he would have given them if they had stayed up, they’ll have extra motivation. And who knows, Roma… might offer some extra money.” (Siena are 11.00 for Draw No Bet.)
Besides Sienaâ€™s players wanting to stick Mourinhoâ€™s words down his throat there is also evidence that they can live with Inter. In January the Nerazzurri scraped by in the reverse fixture 4-3 at San Siro with the league leaders relying on two late goals from Wesley Sneijder and then Walter Samuel with the latter coming deep in injury-time of the second half.
Former Middlesbrough striker Massimo Maccarone is likely to pose the greatest threat. The bald-pated striker has claimed 10 goals this season and was on target twice in the aforementioned fixture at the San Siro. Veteran right winger Simone Vergassola should also be full of confidence having claimed two goals in successive matches.
Inter come into this match with their obligatory injury doubt over Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder. The Dutch playmaker has been a key component of the side since moving from Real Madrid but if fit, Mourinho may prefer to save him for the Champions League final at the Bernabeu.
The Nerazzurri undoubtedly allowed impressive Roma back into the title race in the second half of the campaign but in recent weeks they have held their nerve to retake top spot. They have won their last four Serie A games which have come in between hugely difficult Champions League matches with Barcelona and Coppa Italia ties at Fiorentina and the final victory over Roma.
Diego Milito in particular has been in great form, scoring a terrific goal in the 4-2 win over Chievo last week to go with his cracking finish versus Roma in the final. Mourinhoâ€™s side have the best attack in the league and it would be a major surprise if the likes of Milito or Samuel Etoâ€™o donâ€™t get on the scoresheet. Last week, even bad boy Mario Balotelli managed to score against Chievo.
Estaban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti will also be eager to impress after both were left out of Diego Maradonaâ€™s World Cup squad. Quite simply sides led by Jose Mourinho donâ€™t screw up opportunities like this one so expect another professional, effective display.
101gg predicts: Siena 0 â€“ Inter Milan 3