High-flying Inter travel to Turin to take on eternal enemies Juventus in a match that can have a great impact on who may end up on top of the league at the end of the season. Match on Saturday at 2045 CET.
After the San Siro demolition of Chievo last Sunday which saw the Nerazzurri leapfrog both Juventus and Napoli to sit at the top of the Serie A table, Inter now travel to Turin to take on perennial league favourites Juventus. The match, while too early to be effectively decisive in predicting the eventual league winner, will most definitely give the morale of the winner a strong boost.
Luciano Spaletti’s Inter have passed almost every challenge thrown at them so far, and while in hindsight the result against Chievo might seem like the logical outcome, one must remember that it was the first real test of Inter’s mental resilience and their ability to perform despite missing key components in defense and midfield. However, the challenge of Staurday’s match will be quite a few notches higher than that of last week.
With high profile back to back wins away to Napoli and away to Olympiakos, the Bianconeri seem to have found their stride. What Massimiliano Allegri lacks in charisma and inspiration, he seems to more than make up for in his ability to tactically break down an opponent. His match preparation is at par with the best, and on their day, Juventus are capable of beating almost any side in the world. Spaletti will have to be at his tactical best to be able to neutralise Allegri’s varied and diverse threats.
It seems that while Spaletti’s philosophy is to develop and cement a certain attitude and style of play that is understood and shared across the whole squad, making slight modifications and optimisations from match to match, Allegri’s methodology is ostensibly quite the opposite; he seems to demand tactical flexibility from his squad, switching tactics, formation and line-up to suit each opponent.
The match will take place in somewhat controversial circumstances after the official Juventus TV channel aired a segment where a guest of some official communicative role made some less than appropriate comments about the Nerazzurri, but the hope is always that the match itself is free of controversy and a great showcase of the Serie A where the current league leaders maintain their top spot.
Joao Miranda and Roberto Gagliardini return to the side after having served their respective suspensions, while Matias Vecino will probably start next Gaglia in midfield after sitting the Chievo match out on the bench.
Probable Inter line-up (subject to change): (4-2-3-1) Handanovic; Santon, Miranda, Skriniar, D’Ambrosio; Gagliardini, Vecino; Perisic, Valero, Candreva; Icardi (C)
Last Season: Juventus 1 – 0 Inter
Last 10 Head to Head: Juventus’s record against Inter has been incredible, they’ve won an incredible five matches to Inter’s two wins over the previous ten encounters in the league.
Keep an Eye on
Mauro Icardi: While last week’s star was undoubtedly Ivan Perisic, whenever Inter face Juve all eyes are inevitably on Mauro Icardi. The league’s top scorer has made it quite a hobby to find the back of the net against the Bianconeri and if Inter are to score in the match, smart money will be that the scorer is Maurito.
Refereree: Paolo Valeri
Assistants: Giallatini, Dobosz
Fourth Official: Banti
Additional Assistants: Irrati, Meli
Prediction & Authors Note
Prediction & scorers: Juventus 2 – 2 Inter with an Icardi breaking the deadlock and Valero getting the second.
Author’s Note: While it difficult to predict how Allegri will set his team up, and where the primary threat will come from, there can be no doubt that the Juventini flanks always pose a great danger. It will be up to Danilo D’Ambrosio and Davide Santon to be on their A-game to keep the threat at bay. Vecino, Valero and Gaglia must also be on top form to boss the center of the pitch and ensure that Inter dictate the passage of play.