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Written By Onyeka Daniel

At the Allianz Stadium in Turin, it will be the 185th edition of the famous derby d’Italia, a rivalry between two of the top teams in Italy in recent years as second placed Juventus welcome first placed Inter Milan to their home ground with Marco Guida put in charge as the referee for this important game in round 13 of the Italian Serie A.

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After 12 games, the two teams appear to be the early contenders for the title and this could be a potential title decider, depending on the result. Juventus come into this encounter on the back of a five-game winning streak but still trail Inter by two points, however a sixth successive competitive win for the first time since 2021 for the club would see them leapfrog their visitors into the top spot.

Massimiliano Allegri has played down his side’s title aspirations in recent weeks, reiterating Juventus’ goal is to secure a top-four finish and he also towed the same line in his pre-match press conference, naming the Nerazzurri as the favorite for the title, probably, trying to play a mind game or actually saying the truth, but one thing is for sure, the former AC Milan manager will be looking to avoid defeat in this encounter to help keep the title race open.

Allegri has always hammered on the need for a defensive solidity and that has been their hallmark. They’ve just conceded once in their last 6 games, the 2-1 win over Cagliari in the game before the international break and the home side will look to keep that strong defensive record, but against an Inter side that has the best attack and also the meanest defense in the League, it’s probably going to be a tall order over 90 minutes plus.


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Inter have won 10 of their 12 league matches this season, suffering just one shock loss to Sassuolo, and throughout their long and illustrious Serie A history they have only won 11 of the first 13 twice before: in 1950 and then 2019. They also have a penchant for winning with clean sheets in their away game, winning each of their last five away games, but will have a small psychological disadvantage to overcome in this one as they lost both both fixtures to Juve last season without scoring a single goal.

Inter did at least get some minor revenge by later dumping Juventus out of the Coppa Italia at the semi-finals stage, and a win in this game will give them a 5 point lead going into the busy December fixtures. Their manager, Simone Inzaghi revealed that he told his players to avoid errors, especially in possession to avoid exposing themselves to counter attacks while confirming that the duo of Alexis Sanchez and Juan Cuadrado are not 100% fit.

In his own pre-match conference, he also revealed that he’s not scared of being tagged the favorite for the Scudetto. “But we’re not hiding,” Inzaghi said. “On the contrary, it’s just further motivation for us to improve more and more every day.” “We know that there have been moments where people have said Inter are the team to beat. And others where people say we’re weaker than last season.”

“But that always just changes based on the results of matches,” the Inter coach suggested. As far as the significance of tomorrow’s match, Inzaghi predicted that “It won’t be a decisive match. But certainly a very, very important one.” And of course, tomorrow will only mark one-third of the season gone. There’s still a lot left to play.”

“And then of course we all know what Juventus against Inter represents,” the coach made clear. As far as whether he expected Juventus to be in the hunt for the title as they have been, Inzaghi replied, “Absolutely, yes.” “Juve are an excellent team with an excellent coach in Allegri,” he said. “And as with Inter, they always want to win.”

The Inter coach noted that “everyone knows that it’s a huge advantage to be able to prepare for matches without Europe.” He further added. The former Lazio manager will be hoping to continue his good record against the Juventus coach since joining Inter as he leads Allegri 4-2 in terms of Derby d’Italia wins when the two bosses have gone head-to-head.

Style Of Play

For Allegri, switching from 4-4-2 to 3 at the back has been a masterstroke and the beginning of their good results this season and the manager will be keeping faith in that formation, even in the face of a host of absentees with injuries and suspension taking it toll. He did confirm that he would decide in the last minute whether to start Locatelli or not.

But the player is definitely available after suffering from a broken rib before the international break. For Inter, the 3-5-2 formation remains a constant. During the press conference, Inzaghi was asked if he will try to change his approach as Juventus will be expected to come with a defensive mindset into this game. “We will always try to play our football,” the coach said.

“Keeping in mind that we’ll be up against a team who are in great form. They keep compact and have top-class players who can decide the match at any moment.” “We’ll need immense concentration for the entire 95 minutes,” the Inter coach stressed. “These fixtures are always special,” Inzaghi added.

Recent Form

Juventus in their last 20 games played across all competitions have 13 wins, 4 losses and 3 draws. They’re on a 5 game winning streak and haven’t lost in their last 7 games either with 6 wins and just one draw. For Inter, they’ve 16 wins, 1 loss and 3 draws in the same number of games. They’ve also won their last 6 matches and on a 9 game unbeaten streak. Ironically, Sassuolo is the team that inflicted the last defeat on both teams this season.

Head To Head

In their last 20 games played against each other in all competitions, the Bianconeri have the clear advantage with 10 wins and Inter have 5 wins and 5 has ended in a draw. They also won both legs last season and will be looking to replicate that again.

Players To Watch

The home side will be looking to Italian forward, Federico Chiesa to lead the attack while French midfielder, Adrien Rabiot will have great responsibility, especially if Locatelli doesn’t start and of course, Filip Kostic on the left wing. His last goal for the club was against Inter last season.

Inter will be banking on their striking duo, Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram upfront while Hakan Calhanoglu will be pulling the strings from the midfield. The duo of Federico Dimarco and Denzel Dumfries will also have to be watchful as Juve will look to exploit the wings during their fast breaks.

Juventus Possible starting Lineup: Szczesny; Gatti, Bremer, Rugani; Cambiaso, McKennie, Rabiot, Miretti, Kostic; Chiesa, Vlahovic

Read Also: “Will I Stay Here? I Don’t Know”

Inter Milan Possible Starting Lineup: Sommer; Darmian, De Vrij, Acerbi; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Thuram, Martinez

Injuries And Suspensions

Juventus will be without Timothy Weah, Danilo, Mattia De Sciglio through injuries, Paul Pogba and Nicolo Fagioli remain suspended while Manuel Locatelli and Alex Sandro should be on the bench at least, as confirmed by Allegri in his press conference. For Inter, they will be missing Benjamin Pavard and Alessandro Bastoni while Juan Cuadrado should be fit enough for the bench.

Verdict

Given the importance of this match to both teams, they will be playing with caution, trying to avoid errors, hence it looks more likely to end in a draw. But Inter will look to get the win to exert their dominance over the League (1-1 or 1-2).

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