One of the biggest matches in the Italian football calendar comes with raised stakes this edition as both sides are locked in a battle for Serie A dominance. Match tomorrow Sunday at 20:45 CET.
After a week of botched planning and comical administrative bungling, both sides finally enter into the Derby D’Italia in less than stellar form. Despite being neck and neck with Juve at the top of the table for most of the season, Inter now face the possibility of finding themselves nine points off the pace. The hosts have underwhelmed for most of 2020 and go into the match having just lost midweek in Lyon after having put in a drab and lifeless shift. And now the Bianconeri are forced to face their most bitter rivals at home but behind closed doors.
It is difficult to read how Antonio Conte will approach the match. Will the prospect of being nine points behind the leaders force him to approach the match with a defense first mentality, or will the fact that the match will be played behind closed doors and that the hosts seem to be going through a difficult moment make Conte smell blood and go for the kill?
Christian Eriksen’s role in the match will reveal much of Conte’s intentions; should the Dane start the match on the pitch, then Conte will have probably opted for an attacking approach, however, if Matial Vecino starts in his stead, expect Inter to be more prudent.
As for the hosts, it seems that their ails are due to just a general malaise and difficulty in evolving both as a squad and as a club in general after over half a decade with Massimo Allergi in charge to Maurizio Sarri’s interpretation of football. The Bianconeri have had problems across the length of the pitch, starting with Giorgio Chiellini’s long term injury which threw a spanner in the defence’s works to an imbalanced and drab midfield.
What had always seemed as the sides’ strength through the season, the attack, seems to now be misfiring as well and without Cristiano Ronaldo on the squad, it would have been extremely unlikely for the reigning champions to have been leading the league table at this stage.
This match has the feeling of carrying more than just its worth in three points. For the hosts, it could be light at the end of the tunnel that has the team finally playing well and uniting under the Sarri banner. Should the visitors pull off the unlikely upset, it will throw the scudetto race wide open and may even lead to a cataclysmic implosion in the Juve project. It has been a while since we’ve had a Derby D’Italia with so much at stake.
Inter are still without the services of Italian midfield duo Stefano Sensi and Roberto Gagliardini and possibly Victor Moses. Thankfully Conte has no other injuries or suspensions to contend with. The other big bit of news out of Appiano is Batmanovic’s Return; Samir Handanovic will finally be ready to start the match in goal, thus allowing millions of Nerazzurri faithful to breath a little easier.
Probable line-up (3-5-2): Handanovic (C); Godin, De Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Barella, Bozovic, Vecino, Young; Lautaro, Lukaku.
Last Season: Juventus 1-0 Inter
Last 10 Head to Head: Juve have dominated the last ten encounters between the two sides. With six wins to Inter’s sole victory, the Bianconeri have created an air of quasi impermeability to them in recent times.
Keep an Eye on
Samir Handanovic: The Slovenian keeper and Nerazzurri captain will make his long awaited return to the first team this match. While Daniele Padelli has been a servicable replacement, it’s not difficult to remember the various instances where Inter dropped points where they wouldn’t have had Samir been between the sticks.
Referee: Marco Guida.
Assistants: Ciro Carbone and Filipppo Meli.
Fourth Official: Fabio Maresca.
VAR Assistants: Paolo Mazzoleni and Giacomo Paganessi.
Prediction & Concluding Remarks
Prediction & scorers: Juventus 2 – 2 Inter with Lukaku and Vecino to score for the visitors.
Concluding remarks: This match has all the makings of a refereeing calamity all over it. Despite Marco Guida being one of the better men on the association’s list of referees, it would seem that this match would be one where Inter huff and puff and almost take the win only for a dubious refereeing intervention in the dying moments to rob them of a historic win.