Monday February 3 2014
Juve dish out derby drubbing

The League table didn’t lie as the Derby d’Italia was about as one-sided as many anticipated. Giancarlo Rinaldi analyses its importance.

It was once a jewel in the crown of Italian football. Clashes between Juventus and Inter have often been the stage upon which many a Scudetto drama was acted out. On the weekend’s evidence, however, the Derby d’Italia may soon be sued under the Trade Descriptions Act.

The Serie A points totals now suggest that Antonio Conte’s side are nearly twice the team of Walter Mazzarri’s outfit and the only argument may be if that is an underestimate of the gap between them. It took the Nerazzurri 40 minutes to muster a half-decent shot in the general direction of goal at the Juventus Stadium. They are a team which, at the moment, is about as ineffectual as a cheap umbrella in a tropical typhoon.

And, for much of the match, the Bianconeri were just such a force of nature. They grabbed hold of the game like a nightclub bouncer wrestling an unwelcome customer from the premises. All that was missing was a farewell kick in the posterior which might have been delivered by a goal from fall-through Inter transfer target Mirko Vucinic.

It was Stephan Lichtsteiner - so often the delight and despair of his manager - who opened the scoring by nodding home a typically pinpoint Andrea Pirlo cross. Then, in the second half, the drive and determination of Giorgio Chiellini and Arturo Vidal was in stark contrast to the distracted defending of the Nerazzurri as they put Juve three clear. The goleada - a goal glut - was definitely on the cards.

A Rolando strike following a penalty box scramble helped Mazzarri’s men avoid that fate. Indeed, with the game already looking long gone, they showed some faint signs of life. The personality displayed by substitute Ruben Botta and the arrival of Hernanes from Lazio might yet be enough to help this patient off the critical list.

The Derby d’Italia only gained extra significance after Roma’s chance to narrow the gap on Juventus had been denied by Mother Nature. The game in the Olimpico lasted just eight minutes before the Giallorossi and Parma were sent to their dry dressing rooms to escape the downpour. With the pitch more soggy than a coffee-soaked sponge finger in a tiramisu, there was little doubt it was the right decision.

Napoli could not take their chance to raise the pressure of on Rudi Garcia’s side. It was a comedy of errors as a blunder from Pepe Reina allowed German Denis to open the scoring for Atalanta and another clanger from Gokhan Inler let him double the lead of the boys from Bergamo. Maxi Moralez completed a rout which had the Neapolitan boss pleading for patience. “The time for judging is at the end of the season,” insisted Rafa Benitez. Some, however, might be starting to draw a few conclusions about his side now - especially if he insists on starting with Gonzalo Higuain on the bench.

The pressure should have been off his team a little after Fiorentina had also fluffed their lines on Saturday evening. One of the worst Viola performances of the season allowed a Mauricio Pinilla penalty to decide the game. Vincenzo Montella complained about the referee’s failure to address Cagliari’s ‘obstructive’ play but all it earned him, or so he claimed, was to be called a ‘little moaner’ by the match official.

Those false steps allowed Verona to move back closer to the top teams as they administered a 2-1 defeat to poor old Sassuolo. “We will fight until the end,” promised the man who has replaced Eusebio Di Francesco at the helm, Alberto Malesani. His opposite number, Andrea Mandorlini, won the understatement of the year award when he commented: “We are having a great season”.

Another side having a fine campaign, Torino, held Milan to a draw on Saturday night in San Siro. Ciro Immobile highlighted the old failings of the Rossoneri defence as he swept past lead-footed Daniele Bonera to open the scoring. New boy Adil Rami levelled the game with a thunderous strike but, try as they might, the home side could not quite give Clarence Seedorf another come from behind win. Perhaps Adriano Galliani, who reckons the Europa League is not in his club’s DNA, will have been relieved anyway as it surely makes a top five finish unlikely.

In the lower reaches, Catania and Livorno fought out a 3-3 draw which was not the result either side craved. “It’s a second game without defeat,” said home boss Rolando Maran, trying to find his grappa-glass half-full. “It was good to get a point away from home,” echoed equally upbeat Mimmo Di Carlo as the battle of the baldies ended in a share of the spoils.

Both sides made up a little bit of ground on Chievo, at least, as they were sunk at home by the ongoing Edy Reja revival at Lazio. A neat finish from Antonio Candreva - his seventh of the Serie A season - and a deflected Keita strike were enough to do the business. “Nobody wants to come to Lazio,” the manager had lamented prior to the match, having lost Hernanes and being unable to bolster his squad as he would have wanted. However, on recent evidence, maybe they don’t need too many additions after all.

A side which is always bringing in new faces, Udinese, got a vital win on Saturday evening with an away triumph at fellow-strugglers Bologna. A generous penalty award, converted by Toto Di Natale, set the Friuli side on the right track before Nico Lopez completed the triumph late in the day. It gave Francesco Guidolin and company a little bit of breathing space and a six-point gap over the drop zone which will allow them to prepare better for their Coppa Italia semi-final clash with Fiorentina.

There is the little matter, of course, of the Genoa derby to come on Monday night. Sinisa Mihajlovic has been busy telling anyone who might listen that the Rossoblu are favourites to beat the Blucerchiati. But it surely can’t be as one-sided as the Derby d’Italia, can it?

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
If you were to compare the 2 squads that it is pretty clear that conte has the advantage however it not just down to players, conte for me is the best coach in serie a by some distance he is able to make his teams agile solid and tenacious willing to chase for every inch of turf. As for conte in the champions league juve just suck in this competition they have gone out with much more superior players. Saying that I still prefer garcia and montella attacking style
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 5:20pm
@Interista23, I agree Mazzarri is useless. He hates young players and constantly ignores them (Icardi and Belfodil) or when he plays them, sets them up for failure (Kovacic) and then criticizes them. I am bafled by his decision to use 19-year old Kovacic to man mark Pirlo. We must get rid of him if we value our high potential youngsters that are part of the squad or out on loan. He has not even once tried integrating an academy player into the squad.
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 4:59pm
Its a fair tactic, but pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease, the lauding of Conte as a tactical wizard is surely a stretch: Champion's league? Very good, compact side that are best in Italy but one that cannot seize control from a side of equal talent unless it comes from substantial errors on the part of their opponents.
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 4:28pm
inter certainly have problems [the ersatz defensive line; kovacic's not-ready-for-prime-time performance; kuzmanovic?] but had Palacio scored[s] the conversation might've shifted to Juventus' typically careful approach to teams they consider their equal or near-to equal. Look back at the 'devastating' performance against Roma in League play: Juventus barely crossed the centre line and Pirlo was virtually none existence until a few, inevitable, Lupi errors gave the white/blacks the upper hand.
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 4:24pm
from previous... Mandorlini is one of us for a start, and consider the rankly incredible job he's doin with a low budget Verona squad. For all the great players we've had in our history we've had a lot of useless, over rated coaches. Looks like Mazzarri is one of these. Time for change! FORZA INTER!!!
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 4:18pm
Theres no hiding the fact that 75-80% of our squad isn't Inter standard, but despite that, Mazzarri has a hell of a lot to answer for right now. It looks more and more like Cavani/Lavezzi/Hamsik made his Napoli what they were rather than anything Mazzarri ever did himself. I don't know that sacking Mazzarri mid-season would make a difference but next season I'd like to see someone else in charge, preferably Diego Simeone, or maybe have a punt on Andrea Mandorlini? TBC
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 4:08pm
Everyone criticises Branca(and rightly so) but if Mazzarri continues to get the most no brainer decisions wrong then it don't matter who plays for us. Kovacic man marking Pirlo? What the hell was Mazzarri playing at?! If D'Ambrosio was fit then why didn't he start? Why does Milito get a run out instead of Icardi? Botta looked very promising but I bet he doesn't get a look in again for a while. Why persist with the 3-5-2/3-4-2-1 when we clearly don't have the right players to make it work...TBC
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 3:56pm
Without Morratis' wasted millions, a coach who plays anti-football and the hypocracy of calciopoli RubInter can't win anything.
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 2:24pm
Does the Europa league really count as half a double?

Certainly not the most impressive double... I would keep Milan's 2003 Champions + coppa in higher regard.

But by all means, I hope they win the EL. The Italian coefficient wouldn't suffer from that at all, and I'm sure it could help raise players' opinions of Serie A and make it easier for clubs to keep Italians and top-quality foreigners alike.
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 2:23pm
The "writers" of this website are more pro-Jube than the Serie A referees.
I sure don't remember either the greatest team to ever play in serie A, 2009/10 Inter, being praised like this. Heck I don't even remember any praise close to this when Inter beat Juve 3-1 in their own stadium last year....
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 1:51pm
Anonymous, you must be an inter fan with your typical moaning and complaining. I dont blame you; losers always seem to blame everyone but themselves. Inter were only powerful when Juve were busy dealing with calciopoli. You had one good season with Mourinho! Get over it and accept that your team will always be third to Juve & Milan!

on the 3rd February, 2014 at 1:49pm
It's an Italian tradition to have mercy on opponent when the game is won.It's a shame that Juve didnt bury Inter after 3-0 !I was thirsty for a 5-0 !!
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 1:14pm
I love how the first line is a slap in the face to some inter player (palacio i think) who said the points do not illustrate the gap between our teams...Good one.
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 1:13pm
I like the first comment suggesting a conspiracy against Inter. Of course everything has been going against Inter. The Calciopoli evidence came out to condemn Inter as the biggest crooks of all, but the Statute of Limitations ensured Inter went unpunished. The League has to get them some way ;)
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 1:12pm
Okay this forum is vaguely related to Milan. What is the deal with Bonera? How's he a professional footballer? Can I be a professional footballer too? Last time I tried tackling someone I didn't just fall over in front of them so I must be better right? Bonera must really be the bobble on top of Galliani's dunces cap. We changed 22 players since the summer and Bonera is still there. Even better he got a new contract over the summer! Not Ambrosini or Antonini. Bonera. Well done Galliani. Big clap
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 12:54pm
@ Anoymous yeah but back 2010 Inter had sort of torpedoed the competition so it was slightly less impressive. No I think Roma, Milan and Lazio who with Juve managed to win Serie A in the 90s and early 00s were much more impressive. This slagging off Inter is great it takes the pain away from supporting Milan!
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 12:46pm
Prandelli watching Luca Toni's wonderful chip!! he will get a call up telling ya!! Juve were great last night I think they could do the double this year Europa and Serie A
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 11:58am
I guess they were beaten on the pitch, on the pitch.

What do you expect from a team that was captained by Nagatomo ?

Pathetics !
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 11:45am
Juventus have one of the best teams ever to grace Serie A. The manager Conte has the hunger of a wolf. Every player fought for the ball, while I'm not sure Inter had a shot on goal in first half, all the players were predictable. Got to say I liked the look of Botta and D'Ambrisio. Personally I think the derby d'Italia should be between Juve and Milan.
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 11:10am
Everybody knows Juve are much stronger than the rest at the moment. I dont remember these type of articles on your website in 2010, say Inter were a force of nature, but then again I wouldn't expect to.

Why wasn't Inters game in Genoa rained off, as the Roma/Parma game was, or is the answer to that very obvious as well?
on the 3rd February, 2014 at 10:47am

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