Date: Saturday, May 16, 2015
Time: 12:00pm ET/ 18:00 CET
Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza; Milan, Italy
The season is almost over but before it ends, one of the biggest matches in Italian football has to be played. Inter Milan will be hosting Juventus in the second Derby D'Italia of the season. Mancini was around for the first match-up of these two sides and it played out to a 1-1 draw (remembered most fondly due to Podolski actually being really effective and Osvaldo almost getting into a fight with Icardi). Hopefully this match is as entertaining as the first one (but a with a little less imploding).
Normally I would just say to go to the Juventus blog here to read up on the team because I don't want to talk about...them, but today I'm going to swallow down my inherent distaste for all things black and white. Just for today though.
The Turin club has just done what most outside of Italy (and many inside of Italy) thought was impossible. They have reached the Champions League final and knocked out Real Madrid in the process. The Bianconeri are flying high right now, they've already wrapped up the Serie A title, are in the Coppa Italia final against Lazio, and will now be travelling to Berlin in June to take on Barcelona for a chance to complete the second treble in Italian history (the first completed by none other than Mourinho's Inter).
So only 3 days after drawing against Real Madrid and knocking them out of the semifinal, Allegri's men head back to Italy to take on Inter. In the pregame interview, Allegri said that he would be rotating his squad, with Tevez, Vidal, Pirlo, Evra, and Buffon not even taking the trip to Milan. But even with this weakened side, the manager stated that he was sure that the team he fields will be competitive.
After the important win over Lazio, Inter are also coming into the Derby D'Italia in good spirits. The 2-1 victory finds Inter in a 7 game unbeaten streak, winning 4 and drawing 3. The Europa League is within reach for the Milanese side; they are only 3 points away from 5th placed Fiorentina
Mancini will not be able to call upon Guarin (injury) and Hernanes (suspension) for this match. Hernanes has been in great form recently so his while his absence could be a big blow to the team, it also allows Shaqiri an opportunity to take back his starting position in the trequatrista role. He had an interview earlier in the week and stated that he hopes to put on a man of the match performance. If he wants to do that (and not to surrender the starting spot back to Hernanes immediately) he needs to return to form and show why Inter were so insistent on securing his transfer.
Besides Shaqiri there will be at least one more player expected to put on one of his best displays in this match: Mauro Icardi. The first reason for this is because Icardi just enjoys playing against the side from Turin. He scored in the first meeting between these two teams this season and that took his tally up to 5 goals in 4 appearances against them. The other reason is because he is probably unhappy with his performance against Lazio, namely his saved penalty. It was not the best penalty he has ever taken so he will likely be eager to find the back of the net on Saturday. Also, since Tevez will not be at this match it will be a good chance for Icardi to make up some ground on him at the top of the Serie A scoring charts (Icardi is 2 goals back).
Even if both sides weren't coming into this match in great form, pride and bragging rights are at stake in this highly anticipated Serie A match so a good performance is always expected. The Nerazzurri will be hoping that a little fatigue (and hangover) will be affecting some of the Juventus players so they can get a result that will help their push for the Europa League and also to put a little rain on Juventus's parade. And who doesn't want that?
Projected Starting XIs
Inter: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Vidic, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus; Brozovic, Medel, Kovacic; Shaqiri; Icardi, Palacio
Juventus: Storari; Asamoah, Barzagli, Ogbonna, Padoin; Sturaro, Marchisio, Pepe; Pereyra; Matri, Morata