Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Juventus are loved and loathed in equal measure throughout Italy.
But the fear is that if they do not take something from Inter at the weekend then the fat, rather than the old, Signora can start tuning up her voice.
Anyone without an interest in Inter will be hoping that Old Lady luck will favour Juve’s, but the manner in which the old dear has been approaching the encounter suggests she will be happy to escape with her dignity intact.
Two consecutive defeats and doubts over whether Ciro Ferrara will last much longer, it is no wonder the club have withdrawn the players and management from the media glare, leaving Jose Mourinho to call the shots.
However, even our man from Setubal has had the good grace to hold his own counsel until the pre-game press conference at least.
It is hard to believe that there is a World Cup finals draw today and a Rome derby on Sunday, such has been the hype surrounding the build-up to the ‘Derby of Italy’.
But don’t believe the hype. This game has all the makings of a winter’s night in northern Italy – damp and uninspiring – unless Juve can finally find a way out of the tactical maze they have become lost in.
There was a time when you knew where you were with the old black and whites: they had four men in midfield and two up-front - even Claudio Ranieri felt no need to tinker with the tired and tested.
Now under Ferrara we have all manner of formations – and all to facilitate Diego so that the Brazilian can have the freedom to do whatever he is meant to do, which is what exactly?
The time has now come to forget building the team around the new man and instead get him to construct his game around the team.
Mourinho seems unlikely to risk Wesley Sneijder breaking down again, so it will be one of those hit-and-run operations that have certainly brought Inter plenty of success on the domestic front.
However, they have been susceptible to pacy and mobile attackers so Ferrara has to go with two strikers: Amauri and Alessandro Del Piero.
Suddenly you have some names out there who can cause Lucio and Walter Samuel a few problems.
Diego can play in behind the front-two, with Claudio Marchisio and Mohamed Sissoko in the holding roles, leaving Mauro Camoranesi to patrol the right-flank.
There is enough talent going forward to cause the visitors problems and there must be no fear in taking the game to the old enemy.
Having said that the home side must be wary of the sucker punch, and Fabio Cannavaro needs to ensure there is no slackness in his game as well as that of his fellow defenders.
No doubt Inter will be content to stifle, but if Diego - playing at the tip of the diamond - can link up with Del Piero then maybe the Old Lady can breathe new life back into the championship race.
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