Inter Milan will be aiming to win their first trophy under Simone Inzaghi when they take on Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana tie on Wednesday.

The 2021/22 campaign’s first trophy in Italy will be up for grabs on Wednesday when Inter Milan play hosts to Juventus at San Siro, with the two giants vying for the Supercoppa Italiana.

After losing two star players and coach Antonio Conte in the summer, Serie A champions Inter Milan have done well for themselves under new boss Simone Inzaghi. The Nerazzurri remain at the top of the table with a one-point lead over AC Milan and a game in hand.

Inzaghi will now be looking for his first trophy with Inter as his team takes on last season’s Coppa Italia winner Juventus. The 45-year-old had won this exact competition twice before during his time at Lazio. But things could get tricky against a Juventus team coming on the back of a morale-boosting win over AS Roma, a seven-goal thriller that saw the Bianconeri come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the game 4-3.

Juventus’s win has propelled them to the fifth spot in the league table, with coach Massimiliano Allegri looking for his fifth Supercoppa Italiana title this week. The 54-year-old had won the competition four times in a row during his first spell in charge of Juventus before Inzaghi’s Lazio eventually broke the chain in the 2017/18 campaign.

It remains to be seen whether the Old Lady’s spirited 4-3 result against AS Roma on the weekend will be enough to give them the edge over a mighty Inter side coming on the back of eight consecutive victories in the league in this blockbuster encounter at San Siro on Wednesday.

Team News & Tactics

Inter Milan

Simone Inzaghi will be given the privilege of choosing from a fully fit Inter Milan squad. Hakan Calhanoglu is the most recent player to return in contention after serving a yellow card suspension in the win over Lazio.

The Turkish international should replace Roberto Gagliardini in the advanced midfield slot. His creativity, coupled with the combination play with Ivan Perisic out wide, could be crucial in Inter’s bid to cause problems for the Juventus defence. The same can be said for the right-sided advanced midfielder in Nicolo Barella, with the Italian hoping to once again build a solid partnership with right wing-back Denzel Dumfries.

Another key player for Inter Milan is Edin Dzeko. His experience, aerial prowess inside the box, and seemingly telepathic understanding with Lautaro Martinez can make life difficult for the Juventus defence. The Bosnian’s more position-oriented play also combines well with Martinez’s dynamism, adding more variety to the Inter Milan frontline.

As for the defence, the onus will be on Marcelo Brozovic to hold the fort in the middle of the park. The Croat will hope to provide the assurance in possession while protecting the back-three, likely consisting of Stefan de Vrij, Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni.

Both Skriniar and Bastoni are usually given the license to march forward with the ball, often creating passing triangles alongside the nearest wing-back and central midfielder. But it remains to be seen whether Inter will utilise a high-risk build up against a Juventus team that can hurt them on the counter.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Martinez, Dzeko

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Juventus

Juventus were handed a major blow this week as Federico Chiesa sustained an ACL injury against AS Roma. The Italian international is sidelined for the foreseeable future, leaving Massimiliano Allegri devoid of his most important attacker.

With Chiesa out, the onus will be on Paulo Dybala to offer the creative essence in the final third. His ability to create chances in the final third, coupled with his technical prowess, could go a long way in helping Juventus take on the opposition defence. Dybala is likely to be partnered by Federico Bernardeschi in the final third, although Dejan Kulusevski is another alternative.

Alvaro Morata is hoping to make his return to the squad as well, after starring in the win over AS Roma. He should replace Moise Kean, spearheading the Juventus frontline on Wednesday.

Moving into midfield, there could be a change in order, with Weston McKennie set to make way for Adrien Rabiot. Allegri might want to start with Arthur Melo as well after Rodrigo Bentancur struggled to influence the game against Roma. Arthur and Rabiot should occupy the two advanced midfield roles, just ahead of the defensive midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

Locatelli had a significant impact in the last game by making some express runs into the final third. It will be interesting to see if he follows a similar pattern against Inter Milan, but the Italian international is largely expected to offer protection for the depleted backline that is set to miss out on at least three key players.

Leonardo Bonucci is available but might not be fit enough to start, while Matthijs de Ligt is suspended after picking up two yellow cards against Roma. Juan Cuadrado has been ruled out as well due to the accumulation of five bookings, leaving Allegri devoid of defensive options.

As such, we might witness Mattia De Sciglio occupying the right-back position, with the returning Alex Sandro starting on the opposite flank. The experienced Giorgio Chiellini should return to the side, forming the central defensive partnership alongside Daniele Rugani.

Probable Lineup (4-3-2-1): Perin; Di Sciglio, Chiellini, Rugani, Sandro; Arthur, Locatelli, Rabiot; Bernardeschi, Dybala; Morata

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Key Stats

  • Inter Milan’s last win against Juventus came around a year ago. It was their only win in the last 12 competitive meetings against Bianconeri.
  • The last time these two sides met in Supercoppa Italiana was back in 2005 when Juan Sebastian Veron’s Extra Time goal helped Inter secure a 1-0 victory.
  • This game will be played at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, named after the striker who is the joint second higher scorer in this fixture. Meazza played for both Inter and Juventus during his long-running career.
  • Inter Milan have lost only once in Serie A this season, with the single defeat coming against Inzaghi’s former club Lazio in mid-October.
  • Juventus are unbeaten in their last seven league matches, during which they have clinched four clean sheets.

Player to Watch

Alvaro Morata

Embed from Getty Images

Alvaro Morata was the difference maker when Juventus secured a sensational second-half comeback to clinch all three points against AS Roma. The former Real Madrid attacker added a new dimension to Juventus’s attacking game, notably registering a delightful assist for Manuel Locatelli’s goal in the 70th minute.

It was a refreshing performance from a striker who has struggled a lot this season. With just five goals in 20 league matches, Morata’s goalscoring traits have been called into question, with many also predicting him to depart Turin amid interest from Barcelona this January.

On Wednesday, Morata will be looking to silence the critics yet again by producing a good attacking display, this time as a starter. His quality on the ball, coupled with aerial prowess and combination play with Paulo Dybala, could be useful as Juventus look to penetrate the Inter Milan defence this week.

Prediction

Inter Milan 1-0 Juventus

Despite Juventus’s morale-boosting win over AS Roma, Inter Milan remain the firm favourites heading into the Supercoppa Italiana clash. With Federico Chiesa ruled out and most of the attackers failing to offer any creativity in the final third, we expect the Bianconeri to struggle to break down the opposition defence.

On the flip side, Inter Milan’s eight-game winning momentum in Serie A should come in handy, especially with Hakan Calhanoglu returning to the team sheet and Dzeko likely to make the starting eleven. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-0 win for the Nerazzurri.

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