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Written By Onyeka Daniel

Yesterday, Juventus defeated Napoli at the Allianz Stadium to take a temporary place at the top of the table, one point ahead of Inter Milan who will be playing today against Udinese at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium.

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For Inter coach, Simone Inzaghi, he has a decision to make with regards to the starting lineup, in defense especially. He is reported to be torn between starting Alessandro Bastoni or Carlos Augusto in the left centre-back role. The squad gathered at the club’s training centre yesterday to watching Juventus beat Napoli, hence there can be chance for a slip up in the title race, because there is no disguising the fact that Inter have a title race on their hands in Serie A.

Whilst there are still several teams who could claim to have a chance to catch up with the top team teams in the table, particularly AC Milan, it looks to be Inter and Juventus who will fight it out. According to a new report from Tuttosport, Inzaghi could start either of the pair on the left side of the back three.

With Benjamin Pavard, Stefan De Vrij and Denzel Dumfries injured, the former Lazio manager doesn’t have a luxury of choice to pick from and with a crucial game against Real Socieded in the UCL also coming up, there’s the need to strike a balance between putting the best team and also keeping the team fresh, hence, the midfield and attack remains almost unchanged with Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan and Barella taking their place. Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram will lead the attack.


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In defense, with Juan Cuadrado not fully fit, Matteo Darmian will be moved to the right wing-back position, while Federico Dimarco takes the opposite side. Bisseck is expected to get his first start in the League since joining the club in the summer, alongside Francesco Acerbi. But it’s on the left position of the defense that Inzaghi could make one of two decisions.

Former Monza defender, Augusto filled in in defense against Napoli last weekend. It had been Acerbi who started the match on the left of the back three. But after Stefan de Vrij had to come off with an injury, Acerbi shifted into the middle of the defense. And this left Inzaghi scrambling to cover the left side. Bastoni was still out with an injury, so there were few options at the coach’s disposal.

In the end, Inzaghi decided to put Augusto into the position. The Brazilian is more of a naturally attacking player. But he acquitted himself well, helping Inter to keep a clean sheet. Therefore, Augusto could very well start this evening against Udinese in the position. But on the other hand, Bastoni is also back fit.

So there is also a very good chance that Inzaghi will decide to put the Italian international straight back into the starting lineup, or he could decide to give keep him fresh for the UCL, where they need a win to take first position in the group and possibly get an easier opponent in the knockout stages of the competition.

Meanwhile…

Reports have it that former Bayern Munich defender Pavard will be fit for next weekend’s Serie A match against Lazio after suffering from a dislocated knee in the 2-1 win away to Atalanta in the first week of November.

He has missed a total of 5 games and he’s not expected to play a part in this evening’s Serie A match against Udinese, or in the Champions League group stage clash with Real Sociedad during the week, making it seven matches in total. But the 27yrs old has been working individually on his fitness without a protective knee brace for more than a week now.

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While he is still a little ways away from being able to return to full training, but the feeling now is that that will not be far away. The Frenchman’s progress in terms of building up fitness is right on schedule. Therefore, Pavard should be ready to train with the rest of his teammates within the next week or so. The timeline for Pavard’s return is not exactly certain.

But there is a good chance of him being able to make the squad for next Sunday’s Serie A match against Lazio. The 27-year-old has a very good chance of being called up, given his current recovery progress. This may mean a spot on the bench, rather than in the starting eleven. It will be some good news for the manager after De Vrij and Dumfries picked up injuries recently.

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