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Inter Milan vs Juventus: Previewing a top of the table clash

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Juventus v Atletico Madrid: Group D - UEFA Champions League
A view of the Allianz Stadium.
Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

In the midst of a Coronavirus outbreak in Italy, the biggest Derby d’Italia of recent years takes place when Inter Milan take on Juventus at the Allianz Stadium in a momentous Scudetto showdown.

Antonio Conte’s return to Turin sees Juventus, 1st, and Inter, 3rd, locked in a title chase with Lazio. Six points separate the three teams, but Inter has played a game less after the Sampdoria fixture was postponed by the government due to the Coronavirus threat. Italy has the most cases (over 400) out of any county out of Asia.

Speaking of which, this contest, like Inter’s Europa League tie, will be without spectators in favor of public health. That will obviously strip the Old Lady of its home field advantage, but whether that affects the play of the field remains to be seen.

Inter cannot afford to lose this, as it is already six points behind Juventus, and it’s never a good idea to count on possible future points. As mentioned, Inter did not play last weekend but did meet Ludogorets on Thursday in the Europa League at an empty San Siro. Inter won that 2-1 and advanced to the Round of 16 of the Europa League.

Of note, this is Inter’s last match against it’s Scudetto contenders, so the Milanese side will be playing catchup if a win isn’t found Sunday. More so, out of its competitors, Inter has only beaten Lazio a sole time this season, so one wonders whether the Nerazzurri deserve the title if they can’t beat Juventus too. Inter lost the first meeting between these two in October by a score of 2-1.

Marcelo Brozovic and Stefan de Vrij of FC Internazionale...
Action from the first meeting.
Photo by Andrea Staccioli/LightRocket via Getty Images

Juventus were also in European contention this week, losing 1-0 to Lyon in France. It was a very poor performance from the Bianconneri, which failed to put a single shot on target throughout ninety minutes. If Juventus were to not win the league, Maurizio Sarri would likely be shown the door rather rapidly, as he’s failed almost completely to stamp his style on the team so far. Despite two straight Serie A wins, Juevntus lacks a clear style, starting 11, and also doesn’t control games. Instead, it relies on certain people like Cristiano Ronaldo to win matches.

Predicted Starting 11s:

Inter:

Juventus:

Notes:

  • Handanović returns after his hand injury, and replaces Padelli.
  • Expect relatively full strength lineups from both sides, with few injuries to report.

Prediction: Inter will need to be at their best if they want a result in this one, despite Juventus’s struggles. My heart thinks we can walk into Turin and leave with three points but my mind says otherwise; things will end all even at 2-2.