Inter vs Juve. The Derby d’Italia. First vs second. Always a big game, but this time just a bit bigger. We’ve had two weeks to prepare for this one, and it’s here at last, and as important as ever. The return of Serie A comes with a very special marquee Sunday night fixture between the early frontrunners for the title and a chance for Simone Inzaghi’s Inter to take the league by the scruff of its neck against Massimiliano Allegri’s Bianconeri, who it leads by just two points going into the weekend.
Juve will be the toughest test yet for the current leaders, boasting 5 straight wins featuring a total of 7 goals scored and 1 conceded. As you might expect considering the coach, Juve has been a defensive juggernaut with seven goals let in through 12 games, although four of those came in a one-off against Sassuolo back in September. Since then, though, Juve has kept 6 shutouts in 7 outings and never conceded more than once per game. The Old Lady’s attack, on the other hand, has understandably been a bit stifled under Allegri’s defense first, second, and third tactics, but still ranks 7th highest in the league led by Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic on four goals each. Midfielder Adrien Rabiot (1g, 2a) and wingback Filip Kostic (3a) also see a fair share of action in the final third in the 3-5-2 Allegri has opted for this season, and will lead to some interesting player battles with Inter come Sunday thanks to the matching formations.
Speaking of the Nerazzurri, it will arrive in Turin on the back of some good form of its own with four wins on the bounce and (surprisingly) a better defensive record than even Allegri’s Juve. Three of Inter’s last four have been shutouts, while its attack (the best in the league) has continued to churn out goals. Inzaghi will need Lautaro and Marcus Thuram to be especially on their game against Juve, as it's hard to see chances being easy to come by against the Bianconeri defense. If Inter’s current form continues, though, taking a result home from Piedmont is certainly attainable.
One last unfortunate similarity between these sides is the heavy dose of injuries they’re dealing with. Inter will be without Benjamin Pavard (out for several more weeks), Alessandro Bastoni (who picked up a calf injury with Italy), and Juan Cuadrado, while Juve is missing Paul Pogba (suspended for doping), Nicolo Fagioli (suspended for gambling), and the injured quartet of Timothy Weah, Danilo, Alex Sandro, and Mattia de Sciglio. Both managers have sufficient options to make do, but it won’t be a full-strength derby at least on paper.
Inter trails the all-time series with a 69W-58D-109L record, including four meetings last season in which Juve swept in Serie A but Inter got the upper hand in the Coppa Italia semifinal.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Juventus 1-1 Inter Milan
Honors will end all even after Lautaro cancels out Federico Chiesa’s opener in a cagey affair with both teams focusing more on not losing than going for the win.