One of the most important matches in this edition of Serie A is set to take place on Sunday as Inter Milan play hosts to Juventus.
Not long ago, Inter Milan had an excellent opportunity to go top of the table, in light of AC Milan’s 3-0 defeat to Juventus. But this weekend, their cross-town rivals could have the chance to further extend their lead at the top as Antonio Conte’s men lock horns with his former employers and reigning champions Juventus at San Siro on Sunday.
It is going to be an important fixture in the Serie A title race, especially for Juventus. The Old Lady have enjoyed an excellent run of form, notably winning all of their last four competitive matches, including a triumph over league leaders Milan. And securing all three points in this key fixture could help them bridge the gap to second-placed Inter to just a point.
As for the Nerazzurri, their primary objective will be to avoid a defeat that could further derail their title challenge. The Serie A giants have already dropped points in their last two league matches, notably succumbing to a shock 2-1 defeat to Sampdoria that was followed by a 2-2 draw with AS Roma last weekend.
Inter will be aware of the fact that Milan play fifth-placed Atalanta next weekend, so they could potentially find a breakthrough if they manage the sustain the pressure on Stefano Pioli’s men. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this crucial encounter in the Serie A on Sunday.
Team News & Tactics
Antonio Conte made a few notable changes for the Coppa Italian clash against Fiorentina, including a start for Christian Eriksen and Aleksandar Kolarov among many others. The Italian is naturally expected to revert those changes, with Eriksen set to make way for Marcelo Brozovic in the holding midfield role.
The Croat should be partnered by Nicolo Barella and Roberto Gagliardini as usual while Achraf Hakimi is also likely to make his way back into the starting eleven. The former Borussia Dortmund star is almost a guaranteed starter at right wing-back while Ashley Young should get the nod ahead of Ivan Perisic on the opposite flank.
In defence, Conte could make two changes. Kolarov and Andrea Ranocchia are set to make way for Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni. The defensive duo should renew their partnership alongside Milan Skriniar at the heart of the Inter Milan backline as they look to provide cover for Samir Handanovic in between the sticks.
Meanwhile, in the attacking unit, Romelu Lukaku is set to be recalled after being provided with a breather in midweek. The Belgian international, who is likely to replace Alexis Sanchez, will be looking to breach the Juventus alongside Lautaro Martinez in the final third this weekend.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Barella, Brozovic, Gagliardini, Young; Martinez, Lukaku
Unlike Inter Milan, Juventus are having to deal with multiple absentees, including key defenders such as Alex Sandro and Matthijs de Ligt while Paulo Dybala is also out injured. Coach Andrea Pirlo did make a few changes to the side that faced Genoa in midweek, so one could expect the Juve boss to recall his star players back into the side.
Starting from the defensive unit, Danilo should continue his partnership alongside the likes of Merih Demiral, Leonardo Bonucci and Gianluca Frabotta. However, it won’t be surprising to see the Brazilian operating as an auxiliary centre-back, moving forward only when necessary. There might be a change in goal as well, with Gianluigi Buffon making way for Wojciech Szczesny.
As far as the midfield is concerned, Pirlo could fancy shifting to a traditional 4-4-2. It means Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur could renew their partnership in the double-pivot, with wide midfielders in Federico Chiesa and Weston McKennie completing the second bank of four.
Aaron Ramsey is another option should the Juventus head coach prefer more creativity going forward, which could be important in feeding the two central attackers in Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo this weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Demiral, Bonucci, Frabotta; Chiesa, Rabiot, Bentancur, McKennie; Morata, Ronaldo
- This will be the 175th match in Serie A between Inter and Juventus. The Bianconeri‘s 84 wins against Inter is a record of victories for a team against a single opponent in the Italian top flight.
- Juventus are the only team against which Inter haven’t won any games in Serie A since the start of 2017. During this period for the Nerazzurri have collected two draws and tasted five defeats.
- Juventus haven’t lost in nine of the last ten away league matches against Inter; the Nerazzurri’s only win in this period arrived in September 2016, 2-1 under Frank de Boer.
- Inter have achieved five consecutive home Serie A wins – the last time they reached six was back in December 2018 (seven).
- Juventus have won their last three away Serie A games, the last they had a longer streak was back in March 2019 (four). In particular, the Bianconeri will play two consecutive away league games at San Siro for the first time Since April 1995 and they could win two matches on the road against both AC Milan and Inter in the first half of the season for the first time since 1930/31.
Player to Watch
Cristiano Ronaldo never fails to steal the limelight whenever he is involved in something and this game should be no exception. And for good reason as well, with the Juventus forward heading into this game as one of the most in-form attackers in Serie A. He has indeed netted 15 goals in 13 matches, thus firing the Bianconeri back into the title race.
For the visitors, Ronaldo is someone who single-handedly possesses the threat of turning the complexion of the game. So it could be imperative for Inter Milan to devise a way to prevent the Portuguese sensation from making an impact at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium this weekend.
Inter Milan 1-1 Juventus
It is certainly going to be a difficult task for Juventus to outclass Inter Milan despite their quality on paper. The Old Lady simply haven’t been consistent enough to snatch a win against such a quality opponent. Similarly, the Nerazzurri have had difficulties with their recent lack of form so it won’t be surprising to see this game turn into a cagey affair that ends in a stalemate.