Serie A heads into the international break with a mouth-watering contest between fierce rivals Inter Milan and Juventus at San Siro.

The San Siro is all geared up for a highly anticipated Derby d’Italia on Sunday evening as Inter Milan and Juventus go head-to-head in Serie A.

Napoli, who will also be in action on Sunday, are running away with the Serie A title. But Sunday’s meeting between Italy’s two juggernauts still holds huge importance. And it could end up being a key indicator of how the top-four race might unfold in the final phase of the current season.

The Nerazzurri enter the business end of the campaign as the favorites to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. They currently sit second in the table with 50 points and have scraped into the Champions League Last Eight with a 1-0 aggregate victory against FC Porto. But their prospects of returning to the European elite competition next season are in jeopardy after losses to Bologna and Spezia in their last three Serie A games.

Therefore, they will be looking to get back on track. And a positive result in the Derby d’Italia might just be the springboard they need to gather momentum and get over the line in this intense top-four race after the international break.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus, meanwhile, are still looking to make up ground on the top four following their 15-point deduction. And they are now within ten points of AC Milan, who are occupying the final Champions League spot ahead of the weekend.

Juventus also sealed European progression in midweek, beating Freiburg 2-0 away from home to reach the Europa League quarter-finals. They have recorded nine wins from their last 11 games across all competitions, including four of their last five on their travels. Meanwhile, they have also kept seven clean sheets in their last 11. The Bianconeri have a solid big-game record, as expected, and will fancy themselves against Inter.

Juventus beat Inter Milan 2-0 in November’s Serie A return fixture in Turin. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at this blockbuster encounter, which will wrap up this weekend’s Serie A action ahead of the international break.

Team News & Tactics

Inter Milan

Inter will be stretched defensively when they meet Juventus in Serie A this weekend. Alessandro Bastoni will not be in the squad on Sunday, as the 23-year-old picked up a significant injury against FC Porto earlier this week, which will be enough to keep him on the sidelines.

To make things even tougher for Simone Inzaghi, there are doubts regarding Milan Skriniar’s fitness. The 28-year-old is reportedly still struggling with some discomfort related to the back injury that he has recently recovered from.

However, the coach would likely be able to shift things around, with Matteo Darmian continuing on the right-hand side of the three-man defense. And Francesco Acerbi is the likeliest to move over to the left. That means Stefan de Vrij or Danilo D’Ambrosio are the two options to choose from to line up the back three. The latter may be preferred due to his big-game experience.

Robin Gosens is also an injury doubt and has been working on his own since missing the Porto game. So Federico Dimarco is set to stay on the left wing, whereas Denzel Dumfries will feature on the opposite flank.

The onus will also be on the midfield three of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Nicolo Barella, and Hakan Calhanoglu to provide the creative impetus from the middle of the park, as well as shore up the defensive side of things for Inter Milan.

Although Romelu Lukaku has struggled for form and fitness for most parts of the season, the Belgian forward seems to be finding his feet back at Inter. He has scored three goals in his last six appearances, including the only goal in the UEFA Champions League tie between Porto and Inter. He will likely partner Lautaro Martinez up top.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Onana; Darmian, de Vrij, Acerbi; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Lukaku, Martinez


Juventus are sweating over the fitness of striker Arkadiusz Milik, who should be fit enough to make his return to the squad for this Sunday’s Derby d’Italia clash away at San Siro.

The Polish international had been integral to Massimiliano Allegri’s side during the first half of the campaign. But his season came to an abrupt halt and he has been out since the end of January. So his return from injury comes as a big boost as it will give Allegri more options to rotate his side.

Angel Di Maria sustained a slight knock on his last outing, which kept him out of last weekend’s fixture against Sampdoria and in the midweek. But Allegri has come out to confirm that it was only a precautionary measure. So the Argentine World Cup winner will be available for the big clash this weekend.

On the flip side, Paul Pogba has suffered yet another injury and will be sidelined for three weeks. Juventus will be without Moise Kean due to suspension for this one. Meanwhile, captain Leonardo Bonucci, Fabio Miretti, and Alex Sandro are all doubts due to respective injury problems.

Sandro was forced off in the first half of the first leg against Freiburg and has missed the last two games. Allegri has been using him as a left-sided centre-back. And either Federico Gatti or Daniele Rugani may fill in, especially given Bonucci’s likely absence.

The midfield unit is unlikely to see any major shuffles from the midweek as well. Filip Kostic will continue on the left flank, with the in-form Juan Cuadrado picking himself on the opposite flank. In the middle, the trio of Nicolo Fagioli, Adrien Rabiot, and Manuel Locatelli are certainties as well.

In attack, the Bianconeri have been reliant on Dusan Vlahovic to lead the line. And after failing to find the back of the net in his last six outings, the Serb finally managed to end his drought in midweek, albeit from a fortunate penalty spot that crept just under the goalkeeper. Di Maria will be the creative force alongside the Serbian international against Inter.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Gatti; Cuadrado, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria, Vlahovic

Key Stats

  • Juventus have won five of their last six Serie A matches.
  • Juventus have won three of their last four games against the sides currently in Serie A’s top four, with league leaders Napoli being the sole exception.
  • Inter have just won one of their last four competitive games, while Juve have won nine of their last 11.
  • Only Napoli and Lazio boast better defensive records than Juventus in Serie A this term (22).
  • Only Napoli (23) have scored more goals than Juventus (20) in Serie A since the turn of the year, and only the Partenopei have collected more victories (9) than the Bianconeri (7 out of 11 games) in the top flight in 2023.

Player to Watch

Adrien Rabiot

After scoring a brace against Sampdoria last weekend, the French midfielder continued his rich vein of form with yet another impressive outing against Freiburg. Not only does he cover a lot of ground during games, but his contributions are now noticed on both ends of the pitch, as he rounded off a good night’s work with an assist for Federico Chiesa on Thursday.

Embed from Getty Images

Indeed, Rabiot is enjoying his best-ever season in terms of goal contributions, boasting an impressive seven-goal tally in Serie A so far this season. And he will be chomping at the bit to add to it this weekend. Aside from the direct contributions, the World Cup finalist will be key to the midfield battle on Sunday as Juventus go up against Inter Milan’s world-class midfield talents.


Inter Milan 1-1 Juventus

It will be a close affair in Milan on Sunday night, and it could go either way, especially with Inter being so inconsistent. It’s fair to say the Nerazzurri were on the knife-edge in their Champions League tie against Porto in the midweek, which may have sapped every ounce of their energy given it was an intense, fiery game and they had to basically defend throughout the game.

It would certainly not be a surprise to see Juventus collect all three points against a legged Inter this weekend, but it is difficult to back against Inter due to their fine home form since the start of the year.

While Juve are looking to be in better shape heading into the game, Inter have only allowed two goals in six home league games this year, and have suffered just one defeat on home turf in 2023. Therefore, The Hard Tackle fancy a 1-1 draw, which both teams would probably take.

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