Juventus and Inter Milan face off in a must-win game that could make or break either side’s faltering title challenge.

Inter Milan looked odds on favourites to defend their Serie A crown while Juventus were scraping to finish in the top four at the beginning of 2022. The tables have now turned, and both sides will face each other for the third time this season in a game that could have large implications for either team’s Serie A fortunes.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side have been far from their best this season but have shown the ability to eke out results even while struggling to impress. They are currently on a 16-game unbeaten run in the league and will welcome the defending Italian champions to the Allianz Stadium, knowing that they are there for the taking.

Both sides met last in January, where a late Alexis Sanchez goal handed Inter the Supercoppa Italiana. Simone Inzaghi’s men, however, appear to lack the ruthlessness of old and seem jaded of late. A rather lucky win at Anfield against Liverpool did lend them some credibility, but it has largely plastered over what has been a horrendous run of results in the last few weeks.

A poor run of just two wins in the last nine Serie A games has seen the Nerazzurri surrender the top spot and fall all the way down to fourth. A win for the home side, also propelling Juventus to what could be a rather unexpected title charge.

Much will be at stake in Turin in the standout Italian top-flight fixture this weekend. Coming off the back of the international break, it remains to be seen which team will kick off the season’s final leg with a win.

The Hard Tackle looks at how both teams could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Juventus

The fact that a win could see Allegri’s side join the conversation for the title is a testament to the quality of Italian football this season. Juventus, too have been a part of the problem but have shown the nous to grind out results even when performances have not been up to the mark.

Inter’s drop off has handed the Bianconeri an excellent opportunity, and the onus is now on them to seize it. The timely international break has given Juventus a chance to recuperate, and they will also be boosted by the return of a couple of senior stars from injury.

Denis Zakaria and Alex Sandro returned to training recently and will hand Allegri more options to choose from. Dusan Vlahovic picked up a knock while on international duty, but he has since recovered and is expected to feature in the game on Sunday. Manuel Locatelli is also available after recovering from COVID-19.

With Paulo Dybala also raring to go, Juventus have enough reason to be optimistic going into the game. Federico Chiesa, Weston McKennie and Kaio Jorge are all long term absentees and will play no role in the game. Whether veteran centre-back Leonardo Bonucci makes the cut remains to be seen.

Allegri is likely to set up his side in a 4-4-2 on the night. The formation and the players at his disposal will allow him to adapt to Inter’s style. Wojciech Szczesny will start in goal behind a flat back four of Mattia de Sciglio, Giorgio Chiellini, Matthijs de Ligt and Juan Cuadrado.

Manuel Locatelli will occupy the base of the midfield and will, alongside Arthur, look to nullify Marcelo Brozovic’s impact in the Inter midfield. This should give an in-form Adrien Rabiot more freedom to get forward when needed. Juventus will not come as a surprise to deploy a diamond midfield with either Arthur or Locatelli occupying the defensive tip.

Argentine international Paulo Dybala will start at the attacking tip of the diamond, connecting the midfield to the front two of Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata. His presence will ensure that the Juventus front two have enough opportunities to make a difference while also tying up Brozovic, freeing up Rabiot to make runs forward.

With Zakaria likely to start on the bench, the Swiss international will offer Allegri a box to box runner if needed. It will not surprise if Zakaria is given the nod to start in place of Arthur.

Probable lineup (4-4-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, De Ligt, Chiellini, De Sciglio; Locatelli, Arthur, Rabiot, Dybala; Vlahovic, Morata

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Inter Milan

Inter are in a slump now, and unless they address it soon, the season that promised so much could deliver so little. In recent weeks, Inzaghi’s side has looked out of sorts and tired, and it has shown on the field.

However, the international break has given them a breather, and it remains to be seen if Inter can put up a final run of good results at the business end of the season. They will be boosted by the return of midfield orchestrator Marcelo Brozovic who missed the last two games with a calf injury. The Croatian’s return will undoubtedly help Inter mitigate Locatelli and Zakaria’s presence in the Juventus midfield.

Stefan de Vrij is still out injured and will not feature on the night. He is likely to be replaced by either Danilo D’Ambrosio or Andrea Ranocchia. Inter have no more absentees to worry about and have a fully fit, albeit out of form squad at their disposal.

Inzaghi has shown himself tactically inflexible regarding his formations and will once again deploy the Nerazzurri in a 3-5-2 formation. It will be curious to see if his side’s recent drop off in form is due to fatigue or them just being found out.

Samir Handanovic will start in goal, behind a back four of Alessandro Bastoni, Milan Skriniar and D’Ambrosio. Brozovic will start at the base of the midfield alongside Hakan Calhanoglu and Nicolo Barella.

Ivan Perisic and Denzel Dumfries will be tasked with providing the depth and could be up for an excellent duel against Cuadrado and de Sciglio, respectively. Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez are expected to start up front, with Sanchez likely coming off the bench in the second half.

Juventus will not press Inter Milan much and will largely cede territory to the visitors and aim to hit them on the counter. Whether Inzaghi’s men can make the most of having possession of the ball could make the difference on the night.

Probable lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Martinez, Dzeko

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Key Stats

  • If Inter Milan avoids a defeat on the night, it will be the first time since 2008 that they have gone unbeaten against Juventus all season in the league.
  • Inter Milan have won just one of their last 15 trips to Juventus across all competitions. The Bianzoneri have the fourth-best home record in the league this season, losing just thrice.
  • Juventus are on a 16-game unbeaten run in the league, one of the two teams in Europe’s top five leagues who are unbeaten all year.
  • Juventus have picked up 21 points in their last nine Serie A games, the most for any team. Inter Milan, at the same time, have picked up just 10.
  • Juventus have conceded just nine goals in the league at home this season, the best record in the Italian top flight. Curiously enough, Inter Milan have conceded just 11 times on their travels in Serie A as well this season, the best in that category.
  • A tie on the night will see Inter Milan put up a run of five straight draws in Serie A for the first time since 2004.

Player to Watch

Paulo Dybala

Dybala could be the difference maker on the night. (Photo by Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images)

Dybala could be the difference-maker on the night. (Photo by Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images)

The Argentine has been in good touch of late and occupies a pivotal role in the Juventus setup. His ability to drop deep and play between the lines helps connect the Bianconeri midfield to their attack.

While Vlahovic and Morata are accomplished strikers, they have been isolated up front far too many times this season to have an impact on the pitch. Dybala’s presence will certainly make life easier for the Bianconeri frontline.

Allegri’s side is unlikely to adopt an all-action approach and will only press when needed. This should see them cede vast territories on the field to Inter. With Juventus likely to hit the visitors on the counter and how quickly Dybala can orchestrate the attack could make the difference on the night.

Prediction

Juventus 1-1 Inter Milan

Juventus go into the game following a 16-game unbeaten run and have largely been able to grind out results when needed. While the international break will have handed Inter a much-needed breather, morale will likely be low in the Nerazzurri camp.

Both sides could rekindle faint hopes of a title tilt should they win on the night. However, given their current form, it is more likely that they will cancel out each other and share the spoils. A draw appears to be the likely result, more or less ending both sides’ chances of challenging AC Milan and Napoli for the Scudetto.

One Response to “Juventus vs Inter Milan Preview: Probable Lineups, Prediction, Tactics, Team News & Key Stats”

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  1. Ringo says:

    Inter is stronger as a team than Juve at the moment…and it would take incredible effort to beat them

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