The Derby d’Italia sees the two sides with the best chance of denying Milan their first Scudetto in a decade face each other, and they both need this pretty badly…
Big weekend ahead in Serie A. Biiiiiiiiiig weekend.
It starts on Friday night with the Rome derby, but closes on Sunday night with the real headliner: the Derby d’Italia between Inter and Juventus.
With Milan still atop Serie A, despite their recent defeat to Juve, these two sides will live in fear of letting them pull away, which is why this one is so huge.
“Antonio Conte lost both of these games last season,” said James Horncastle on The Totally Football Show this week, “which was kind of surprising given how in-form Inter were, particularly going into the first game at San Siro.
“I still think Juventus are more of a work in progress than Inter, and I think it will depend on who they get back fit for this game. Matthijs de Ligt has tested positive for COVID-19, and they’re more solid at the back and able to play that high line at the back that Pirlo wants with him in the team.
“I’m inclined to say Inter are slight favourites. Boy do they both need it: Inter have lost ground on Milan, but Juventus are still four points behind Inter with a game in hand, and seven behind Milan. For Juve to still have a chance of retaining their title, they really need to win this game.”
Inter drew 2-2 with Roma last time out, after which, it is The Totally Football Show’s solemn duty to report, Conte was at it again:
“After the game [against Roma] Conte was saying “the difference in these games comes down to the depth in their squad, and he’s got a deeper squad than anyone.” He said “after signing Achraf Hakimi in the summer we didn’t really sign anyone” – by which he means ‘sign anyone for money’, because they brought in Arturo Vidal, Aleksandr Kolarov, Matteo Darmian.
“It just felt like he was complaining again when other managers get on with it, with smaller budgets, spending less, but Conte will be Conte.”
It’s understandable, as James Richardson pointed out, because: “Beppe Bergomi said afterwards that you kind of need to be a ball-breaker like Conte at Inter because previously it’s been a club that has put so much pressure and undermined their managers.”
But the top brass at Juventus will almost certainly be wryly nodding their heads in recognition. As for them, they beat Sassuolo 3-1, but at some cost.
“It felt a bit like a pyrrhic victory for Pirlo because he lost Paulo Dybala and Weston McKennie to injury, although there is some optimism that McKennie will be available for the Derby d’Italia.
“He’s been so good for them, but as we saw in this game Aaron Ramsey has been equally good for them in interpreting that role as a winger/No.10. Ramsey scored the go-ahead goal in this game.
“Dejan Kulusevski, who came on, was absolutely brilliant. For me, at least this season, when Alvaro Morata isn’t fit Kulusevski should be playing with Ronaldo, not Dybala. He’s so good in tight spaces, playing one-twos and creating chances. He’s the more in-form player, for me.”
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