Answer: Several reasons
Their roster is full of habitually underrated stars. Zanetti, Maicon, Materazzi, Vieira, Solari, Maniche, Cambiasso, Ibrahimovic, Cruz and Crespo to name just a few. Look back at those names one more time and you may notice that every one of those players starts on their national team except for the Argentines Solari and Cruz. What national teams are we talking about? Argentina, Portugal, Italy, France and Sweden. All of those teams advanced out of the group stage in the World Cup 06, one made the quarters, one made the semis, and two met in the finals.
How underrated are they? None of these players would make even the 2nd team all world roster but every one of them is in full, again, full stride. I was watching the Juve Inter game the other day and a commentator casually said Ibrahimovic is the best striker in the world right now and you know what, instead of scoffing (and perpetuating the underrated point I'm trying to drive home), I considered it.
Who's in this race for best striker in the world:
Trezegol (who I'm truly obsessed with at this point)
Drogba (who I forgot... damnt)
If the Togo'an wasn't absolutely out of control at this point, this would be any easy, easy, choice. Ibrahe's-so-good gets the nod. What's worse is that I could have asked you to name your nominees and you might have left him out.
Maicon and Maniche - Portugal studs. I wonder who else is a Portugal stud?... Oh well, I can't think of it. Anyway, Portugal was colonized by Brasil, that should tell you enough.
Vieira - How funny that both Jim and I absolutely gush about this man so he's not underrated on our list, but still, you get the point.
Crespo - Um, he's on loan. Right now.
Cruz - You don't even know who he is but he and Ibra have combined for 23 (10,13) goals in the Serie A. He's cold as ice - ask Juventus.
Materazzi, Cambiasso, Zanetti - come on, I didn't even know Zanetti was still playing and would have forgotten about the others. Two of them have hoisted the World though.
Solari - This one is special. He has great pace, creativity, insight, awareness and is ruthless. I see some Messi and Quaresma in him (he has no left foot). Remember the name, Solari. And also, be careful google'ing him because apparently a really hot semi nude model also goes by the name.
Mancini, having just been snubbed for manager of the year (by not being even nominated?), is aggressive. His scheme involves passes into the box and shorter diagonal through-runs. Very few long balls and don't be afraid to let one rip is probably what he says to his boys. He utilizes young talent well and is Belichick-esque in that he won't pull back the attack. They deserved to beat Juventus with 10 men and they penetrate so willingly they can score at any time. The scheme itself demands 5 good scoring chances and Cruzavich don't miss that often. It's almost boring, again, Belichick-esque, in that you don't know what happened to your defenders, how Inter arrived, and why it's suddenly 3 nil. I imagine it along the lines of coming home to find your girlfriend cheating on you, but once you find out it was with this philanthropic lawyer who saves underprivileged babies at the local soup kitchen, you begin to realize you didn't match up well.
The kids name is Pele... I wonder if he's been obsessed with soccer since he was born. He's really good too and on my "something special brewing" watch. They have solid second team back-ups and you need depth if you're going to try and win the SerieA, Coppa Italia and the Champions.
If they're so good, why do they suddenly look vulnerable?
I agree with the fact that they have looked as vulnerable as ever in these past 4 games. The only game they deserved to lose was against Parma, but those are the types of breaks great teams get. I almost need to write this out for myself: Internazionale has not lost in the Serie A yet. That's 3 points most times and at least one every contest.
I am intrigued to see how Inter's, Score first ask questions later policy holds against real competition in the Champions League. They're still in cruise control and they have Liverpool come February 19th. If Inter keeps rolling, Jim will be right about Rafa.