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Serie A Preview: Juventus vs Inter

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The Nerazzurri are ready to renew hostilities with the Bianconeri in the latest edition of the Derby d'Italia…

Claudio Villa

Things are about to go from bad to worse for Inter as it travels to Turin to lock horns with Juventus on Sunday.

The Nerazzurri are still looking for their first win of the new calendar year after scoring just one goal in their last five competitive matches.

The Beneamata currently languish in fifth place, 11 points behind Napoli and are clinging to a one-point lead with three other teams poised to overtake them after this weekend.

I remember a time when the derby D'Italia used to decide title races but the bitter rivals are now going in two very different directions.

WARNING: THE NEXT TWO PARAGRAPHS MAY CAUSE EXTREME BOUTS OF DEPRESSION.

Juve have won two straight Scudetti and is well on its way to a third. The Bianconeri finished 33 points ahead of Inter last season and are threatening to beat that mark this year.

Juve is the anti-thesis of Inter right now. It has a profitable new stadium, stable finances, strong, coherent leadership and most importantly it's winning.

And the situation is about to become much more precarious as a quick peek at the fixture list will reveal. Maybe it's the winter blahs, or the three feet of snow or the bitter cold snap for the last two weeks but my outlook remains grim for this current squad.

Anyways, let's unleash the 'Juve Tormentor' for a full 90 minutes now that he's not going to Monaco and see what happens. It's not like Plan A has been producing wondrous results or anything.

THE VITALS

Date: Sunday, February 2, 2014

Time: 2:45 ET

Venue: Castle Grayskull

BATTLE DOSSIER

Inter Probable Formation: 3-5-1-1: Handanovic; Campagnaro, Rolando, Juan Jesus; Nagatomo, Kovacic, Kuzmanovic, Taider, D'Ambrosio; Alvarez; Palacio

Juventus Probable Formation: 3-5-2: Storari; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pogba, Pirlo, Asamoah; Tevez, Llorente

Unavailable For Duty: Esteban Cambiasso sustained a hamstring injury against Catania and will miss Sunday's festivities.

Operation Park The Bus: The objective is to dig in, hold a defensive position for as long as possible, repel enemy attacks by clogging up the middle of the field and pray that we're not overrun.

Enemy Of The State: Arturo Vidal is the self-proclaimed best central midfielder in the world and whether you agree with his assertion or not his stats are praiseworthy indeed. Ten goals and five assists in 19 Serie A appearances, including the strike to steal a point in the 1-1 draw with Inter in September, is pretty stellar. We don't really have the cowboys to corral this horse, which will likely run rampant and wild in midfield for 90 minutes.

Fear Factor: 9.5: Juventus is as scary as a juiced-up super nonna who guzzles Five-Hour Energy drinks like previous club directors handed out Swiss SIM cards. She loves to blame her previous transgressions on us and makes it her number one priority to inflict as much punishment on us every time we meet face to face. Hell hath no fury like a paranoid Old Lady scorned. Yelp.

Medal Of Honor: Our fate rests in the hands of the 'Juve Tormentor'. Mauro Icardi has made more headlines off the field than on it (he's hopelessly in love with an infamous, voluptuous, blonde bombshell starlet who is stringing him along until she grows bored of his adolescent lovey-dovey mannerisms and dumps him for the next Argentine international that arrives on the scene, but hey sometimes we have to learn the hard way). The crowning moment in his first six months at Inter has been his goal against the Bianconeri at San Siro in the first meeting between the clubs. You see, Icardi scores goals for fun against Juve. He has found the back of the net four times in his last three games against the Bianconeri and is primed to add to his tally… if given the chance.

If Inter Wins: I will shotgun three of my buddy Pinto's crappy Coors Lights in a row and go streaking in -11 degree weather.

If Inter Loses: The Super Bowl will be more of a drunken debacle than usual, especially with a volt of gambling vultures ready to pounce on some poor shmuck, who is wallowing in self pity.

Likely Outcome: I don't see us taking anything from this match unless Icardi comes on in the 60th minute and bags a hattrick. The ever-growing gulf between Juve and Inter will be on full display unfortunately.