One of the most anticipated matches in the Serie A calendar approaches post-international break as Inter host Juventus at the San Siro for the Derby D’Italia.
A win against Juventus would put the nerazzurri 11 points clear ahead of the 2014-15 Champions, while the bianconeri are already suffering the same amount of losses in the first seven games of the season as they faced in all of the 2014-15 campaign.
Juventus have picked up form in Serie A as of late, but they will need to pick up the pace if they don’t want to fall behind in the race for the Scudetto title.
Five wins in the first seven weeks of competition have set Mancini’s sights high in the table. Currently sitting in second place and two points from the top-spot, Inter will need to secure a win with any hope of regaining first place, which would also set them well ahead of Juventus in the standings.
Inter haven’t been a high goal-scoring team, although out of their five victories, four have been clean sheets. Defensively, Inter have greatly improved this season. Taking three points against last year’s champions would make a huge statement that Inter deserve to regain a spot in Europe. Especially considering the fact that Inter have not beaten Juventus on their home turf since April 2010.
Mancini has doubts over the fitness of Felipe Melo, but his front line of Jovetic & Icardi will be of heavy importance this week.
A disappointing (yet unexpected) start to the season came as a bit of a surprise to most Serie A fans. Currently in twelfth place, Juve need another win under their belts to move into the top half of the table. A come-from-behind victory against Bologna before the international break gave the bianconeri a much-needed confidence boost.
It is likely a safe assumption that Allegri will field his top-players from the start and encourage a highly offensive match to try and regain some ground in the table. Juventus have not lost at the San Siro against the nerazzurri on the past five occasions, so Allegri will look to continue the trend.
Pogba and Morata were both injured over international duty, but took part in training earlier this week and could play this weekend. Although Lichtsteiner and Mandzukic will be absent from the squad.
Who To Watch
INTER – MAURO ICARDI
Despite providing the vital assist in Inter Milan’s most recent fixture and coring againtst Fiorentina prior to that, Mauro Icardi has yet to reach his heights of last season. The 2014/15 capocannoniere has only scored two goals in six games so far this campaign, and has looked out of sorts on various occasions.
The match on Sunday against Juventus provides Icardi with an invaluable opportunity to rise to the challenge, showcase his ability, and stamp his name firmly on Inter Milan’s Scudetto chase.
JUVENTUS – SAMI KHEDIRA
Since his return from injury and debut, Juventus boast a 100% record with Khedira on the pitch. This statistic only accounts for two matches, Juve’s wins against Sevilla and Bologna, but the German’s importance in midfield is not to be understated. Khedira has shown his class when called upon this season and his presence in midfield will be vital if Juventus are likely to take three points from the San Siro.
With Marchisio expected to return from injury, Allegri may deploy a midfield trio of Pogba-Khedira-Marchiso. Inter boast a powerful midfield, one which Khedira will have to contain and expose if Juventus want to dominate the match.
Mancini will have to adapt from the first few matches of the season to play against the Italian giants and may opt to use Perisic in a trequartista role. Aside from Juve unable to secure a win against Frosinone and Chievo, their two victories in Europe this season are sure to provide a massive confidence-boost. Now it’s time for the bianconerri to shift gear and get back into the title race.
Inter 1-2 Juventus