Roma and Inter Milan‘s European disappointments this week show that Italian teams overall still have some improving to do on the continent.
There was a time when Italians were always considered the favourites to win Europe’s top competitions, with Roma, Inter, AC Milan and Juventus heading up their list of successful teams in the past.
But that’s quite different now, with Juve the only real consistent Italian force in the Champions League.
Sure, Napoli are in the competition this year too and are top of their group going into the final match day in two weeks.
Yet they’ve hardly produced any real consistency in Europe either – and we won’t talk about the woes of former powerhouse AC in recent years.
Roma and Inter both still have opportunities to make the last 16, but they’ve made that task a lot tougher with midweek defeats to Real Madrid and Tottenham respectively.
Of course, Madrid and Spurs are no slobs and have shown that with their results domestically and in Europe over the last five years.
Madrid are Champions League winners the last three years on the bounce while Spurs have been a strong European side under Mauricio Pochettino.
But this is Roma and Inter we’re talking about – two clubs with illustrious histories in European competition.
Their midweek defeats will undoubtedly be disappointments – and ones they’ll have to forget all about fast.
That’s because Roma welcome Inter to the Italian capital on Sunday in the Serie A game of the weekend.
And it’s set to be a cracker if both teams can forget all about their midweek losses in Europe.
As you’ll see from the Serie A odds, it’s going to be a close game between two teams who have been hit or miss so far this season.
But the Romans are usually strong at home and will fancy themselves to get a win that would breathe life into their Serie A campaign.
On the other side, they’ll have to be warned against Mauro Icardi and an Inter team that are some consistent results away from breaking into a title race.
They currently trail league leaders Juventus by nine points and have Napoli in their way in second, but there’s still a long way to go in Serie A this season and a stretch of five or six wins on the trot could see them cut the gap.
No doubt this weekend will be a tough place to start that.
However, Luciano Spaletti’s side won 3-1 the last time they visited Rome on Serie A duty and they should be buoyed by that going into Sunday’s game.
No matter the result, it’s all set up to be a game you won’t take your eyes off come Sunday at 7.30pm.