All eyes will be on the Meazza when the reigning Serie A champions Juventus look to fend off the challenge of Conte’s new-look Inter. Match tomorrow Sunday at 20:45 CET
The last time Inter faced Champions League disappointment midweek, they went into the weekend and destroyed AC Milan in the derby. Perhaps Wednesday’s disappointment against Barcelona can have the same effect on the Nerazzurri when they line-up against the champions of the last 8 seasons, Juventus. Inter have an unprecedented opportunity to move five points clear at the top of the table should they be able to find the win.
What the midweek match against Barca showed us was that this Inter has all the tools to be able to compete with the big boys, the challenge will be the ability to show the same level of quality consistently week in and week out. Accordingly, one might be inclined to think that a large fraction of the challenge in the Sunday’s Derby D’Italia will be to prepare the players mentally. Inter must face the match with all the necessary self confidence but must ensure it is tempered with the correct amount of hunger and respect for the opposition.
While Antonio Conte’s playbook has been on clear display for all to see and analyze, Maurizio Sarri’s Juve are still somewhat of an unknown quantity. The new look Bianconeri have been their perennial efficient selves, managing to win all but two matches in all competitions in spite of some below par performances. However, what has been strikingly missing is the clear interpretation of “Sarri-ball” on the pitch.
There have been moments or stretches of brilliance, however, an ostensible lack of surety in what is his best starting eleven means that Sarri has yet been unable to allow his team to fully express his interpretation of the beautiful game. Sarri has uncharacteristically been heavy in rotating players, especially in the attacking department, this could be a sign of his development as a coach or could be a sign of unease within the squad. Cristiano Ronaldo’s striking partner has been one or two of Gonzalo Higuain, Paolo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi. While the midfield has only seen Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira as guaranteed staples.
While Juve’s midfield has been their forte over the years, it appears that Inter might have finally bridged the gap this year with the industrious trio of Stefano Sensi, Marcelo Brozovic and Nicolo Barella. The three Nerazzurri players have been a lot of the reason behind their side’s impressive results so far this season.
However, Juve remain extremely dangerous from the wide positions, and as we saw in the Champions League, Inter’s wing-backs are susceptible to errors when pressed. Accordingly, one should not expect Antonio Candreva to start on the right flank, making way for the less spectacular but more defensively solid Danilo D’Ambrosio.
Whatever the tactics or lineups, both sides will surely be going for all three points. Whoever wins will send a strong message to the rest of the league. Expect a cracker of a match.
Romelu Lukaku appears to have fully recovered from his thigh strain which kept him out of the Barcelona midweek match and will be expected to start the the match alongside Lautaro Martinez in attack. Alexis Sanchez will miss the match altogether due to his suspension after getting sent off against Sampdoria last week. Aside from that, Conte will have a full squad to pick from.
Probable line-up (3-5-2): Handanovic (C); Godin, DiVrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Barella, Brozovic, Sensi, Biraghi; Lukaku, Lautaro.
Last Season: Inter 1 – 1 Juventus
Last 10 Head to Head: It is clear that Juve have dominated the two sides’ previous ten encounters, with five wins to Inter’s solitary win over three years ago which came during the shortlived and otherwise disastrous Frank de Boer era.
Keep an Eye on
Nicolo Barella: Ex Inter and Juventus manager Marcelo Lippi was quoted to having said that this match was going to be won or lost in the midfield earlier in the week. While Stefano Sensi and Marcelo Brozovic have been grabbing most of the headlines in Inter’s midfield, their partner Barella has slowly forced himself into the starting lineup and proven that his dogged energy and constant output are fundamental in allowing his aforementioned midfield partners to play at their highest level.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi.
Assistants: Meli and Carbone.
Fourth Official: Maresca.
VAR Assistants: Irrati and Paretti.
Prediction & Concluding Remarks
Prediction & scorers: Inter 2-2 Juventus with Lukaku and Sensi scoring for the hosts.
Concluding remarks: Expect a similar performance and type of match as against Barcelona, where Inter will play an impressive and dominant game, only for Juventus to try every trick in the book in order to get something out of the game. With Gianluca Rocchi officiating as well as having a world-class match-winner in Cristiano Ronaldo, one should expect Juventus to at least get a point from the match.