Top 5 Stories from Serie A Round 18: Inter Soar as Ibra Is Back!

Italian football offered its fans a real treat during an extended weekend of non-stop action. The opening fixture took place on Friday night, and it was from being a regular encounter, as Lazio dominated the Derby della Capitale, when they comfortably put down their eternal rivals Roma in 3-0 thrashing. But the biggest clash of the weekend was reserved for Sunday night, when Antonio Conte’s Inter shrugged aside Juventus in a commanding Derby d’Italia display. So here are our Top 5 stories from Serie A round 18.

The Derby Could Change the Fortunes of Roma and Lazio

Sometimes the clichés turn out to be true. The derby is a match like no other, and its outcome can never be predicted. On an unusual Friday night, the Derby della Capitale was the opening fixture of round 18 of Serie A.

Although Roma entered the match sitting in a satisfying 4th position, while their arch-rivals Lazio lie in a disappointing 8th spot, it was the latters who would completely dominate the action on the field, as they dismantled the Giallorossi in a comfortable 3-0 victory thanks to Ciro Immobile’s opener and a Luis Alberto’s brilliant brace.

As it’s often been the case in the past, a victory in the Roman derby (which is almost treated as a trophy on its own) can be a moral boosting event which can positively affect the winner for several months – or maybe until the next derby – while an opposite effect would hunt the loser for a while.

Will it be the case once again? We’ll find out in the upcoming weeks.

Prandelli Punished for His Tactical Adventure

We all love a football coach who is willing to take some risks and spice up the match a little bit. However, bravery isn’t always well-rewarded, and on Sunday, it didn’t take Cesare Prandelli long to find it out.

Fiorentina usually deploy a 3-5-2 formation, with three central midfielders. But for one reason or another, the former Italy manager decided to adopt an adventurous 3-4-3 formation in the Serie A round 18 encounter against Napoli, with Franck Ribery, Dušan Vlahović and former Partenopei José Callejón all starting in attack.

Prandelli was perhaps hoping he’d meet the Napoli side who lost against Spezia and struggled to beat Udinese last week. But unfortunately for the Viola tactician, the terrifying version of Gennaro Gattuso’s men was in store for him at the Maradona Stadium – the one that previously tore apart Genoa and Roma – and the same fate was awaiting Fiorentina, who fell into a humiliating 6-0 defeat to Lorenzo Insigne and company.

Talk about an untimely adventure!

Crotone Might Not Be Completely Doomed After All

After round 18, Crotone find themselves at the very bottom of the Serie A table with only 12 points from three wins and as many draws. However, the newly promoted side surely knows when to earn the points.

The Sardinians’ two previous wins had come against Spezia and Parma, and on Sunday they managed to surprisingly topple another newly promoted side, when they dismantled Benevento in a 4-1 victory.

Although Crotone’s wins have been too few, their ability to earn the points against their potential relegation foes have kept their hopes in staying in the top division alive, even if they remain the most likely contenders to drop down at the end of the season.

Inter Cement Themselves as Scudetto Favorites… For now

At the beginning of the season, Inter and Juventus were viewed as the clear Scudetto favorites in almost everyone’s book. However, a slow start of the season for the champions, and an early Nerazzurri defeat against their city rivals Milan, raised doubts over the ability of the giants to compete all the way, especially with the Diavolo enjoying such a fine form.

Nonetheless, a dominant Bianconeri victory over Milan in round 16 was supposed to signal the return of Andrea Pirlo’s men to the title hunt. But in round 18, Inter completely outplayed Juventus, putting an end to latter’s resurgence and announcing themselves as THE force to be reckon with in Serie A.

So does the latest Nerazzurri victory mark the beginning of a solid run which would see Antonio Conte’s men rise to the top of the league table? Or will Italy’s big three continue their game of rock, scissors and paper?

One thing is for sure, some exciting months are in store for the loyal Calcio fans.

Ibrahimovic Is Back with a Bang!

After making a second half appearance against Torino last week, Zlatan Ibrahimovic started his first Serie A match in several months, and he surely reminded everyone else that the old lion is here to win it all after leading his side to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Cagliari in round 18 with yet another brace.

Whilst Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku had their battle on Sunday, both men failed to score. So with the Swedish legend Incredibly marking 12 goals from just 8 league matches, he might just be the odds-on favorite to earn the the Serie A MVP award as well as the top Striker award.

However, the most important achievement that the former Juventus and Inter striker could possibly achieve, would be delivering the Scudetto title to his Rossoneri supporters, a title that they haven’t even been close to winning ever since he left them in 2012.