Juventus and Inter Milan will renew hostilities in Sunday’s headline fixture as the Derby d’Italia takes centre stage at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.

Inter Milan vs. Juventus. The Derby d’Italia. First against second. It is always a big game, but this time it is even bigger. After the two-week international break hiatus, Serie A comes up with a very special marquee Sunday night fixture between the early front-runners for the Scudetto.

It is an opportunity for Simone Inzaghi’s Inter to put their stamp on the title race against Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus, who are just two points behind the Nerazzurri going into the weekend.

Juventus look to have put last season’s woes well and truly behind them, as they have had a brilliant season so far. They have only lost once all season, and with only two points separating them from first place, it is high time they get the credit they so richly deserve and should be considered legitimate title contenders.

Juventus were breathing fire in the weeks preceding the international break, going on a five-match winning streak in Serie A. They picked up a 2-0 victory in their most recent fixture, with Gleison Bremer and Daniele Rugani among the goals.

That result also highlights Juventus’s superb home record, as they have yet to taste defeat at the Allianz Stadium this season. While the hosts look to be back to their best, there is one other team that has just been a level above everyone else. Inter Milan are currently setting the pace in Serie A and have lost just once in all competitions this term.

Inter have earned their spot at the top of the table and arrive at the Allianz Stadium off the back of six straight wins across all competitions. They picked up a routine 2-0 victory over Frosinone in their last Serie A fixture before the break. However, they face a stern test of their credentials away at a Juventus side that are steadily closing in at the summit.

Team News & Tactics

Juventus

A handful of Juventus players are in a race against the clock to be cleared fit to face Inter Milan. Alex Sandro, Weston McKennie, and Fabio Miretti all trained with the team, suggesting they have shaken off their respective knocks and should be ready for the Inter game.

On the flip side, playmaker Manuel Locatelli is dealing with a rib problem that ruled him out of Italy’s Euro 2024 qualifiers and will probably miss the upcoming game, which could hand Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri an additional dilemma in the engine room this weekend as both Paul Pogba and Nicolo Fagioli are suspended for the foreseeable future.

Adrien Rabiot’s return from a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation comes at the right time, and the in-demand Frenchman could be joined by Miretti and McKennie to form the midfield three.

Defensive duo Mattia De Sciglio and Danilo remain unavailable; therefore, Federico Gatti, Gleison Bremer, and Daniele Rugani will form the three-man central defensive unit in front of Polish shot-stopper Szczesny.

USMNT international Timothy Weah has suffered a thigh injury and will miss the rest of the month. Andrea Cambiaso should be in line to replace him at right wing-back, with Filip Kostic a mainstay on the opposite flank. Federico Chiesa has been the one constant in Juve’s attack, with coach Allegri alternating between Dusan Vlahovic and Moise Kean as his strike partners.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Szczesny; Gatti, Bremer, Rugani; Cambiaso, McKennie, Miretti, McKennie, Kostic; Chiesa, Kean

Inter Milan

Inter Milan boss Simone Inzaghi will be without the services of his starting centre-back pair, as both Benjamin Pavard (knee) and Alessandro Bastoni (calf) have been ruled out of Sunday’s derby clash.

The former picked up the injury against Atalanta and missed the following two games, with his return date set for late December, while the latter was forced to withdraw from the Italian national team due to injury and faces a short spell on the sidelines.

Juan Cuadrado (Achilles tendon) will be assessed late to see if he can feature against his old team. But Inzaghi has plenty of attacking options on the bench, with Alexis Sanchez and Marko Arnautovic now fit and chomping at the bit to be involved.

Inzaghi looks set to go ahead with a 3-5-2 formation. Yann Sommer is sure to start in goal, while the former Lazio boss is expected to use the experienced trio of Matteo Darmian, Stefan de Vrij, and Francesco Acerbi at the back, flanked by marauding wing-backs Denzel Dumfries and Federico Dimarco.

Hakan Calhanoglu looks set to resume his usual anchor role in the middle of the park, with Nicolo Barella and Henrikh Mkhitaryan slotting on either side of the Italian international to complete the midfield trio.

Marcus Thuram has ably filled the vacancy left by Romelu Lukaku’s acrimonious departure from Inter and has formed just as dangerous an attacking duo with Lautaro Martinez, who has scored 12 Serie A goals so far this season.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Sommer; Darmian, De Vrij, Acerbi; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Thuram, Martinez

Inter Milan XI vs Juventus

Key Stats

  • Juventus are buoyed by a seven-game unbeaten run, keeping six clean sheets and recording five consecutive wins.
  • Juventus have won their last five matches in front of their fans, keeping three clean sheets in that run.
  • Inter are the best offensive team in Serie A, with 29 goals in 12 games.
  • Seven of the last eight meetings between these two Italian giants have featured two or fewer goals.

Player to Watch

Federico Chiesa

Embed from Getty Images

Following his ACL injury at the beginning of 2022, many wondered whether Chiesa would ever return to being the swashbuckling winger that sparkled at Euro 2020. It has taken a long time for the old Chiesa to reemerge, as it often does with ACL injuries. But it is clear now that he is the best option in attack for club and country.

He has starred for the Old Lady, producing four goals and an assist in 11 Serie A games. The 26-year-old then played a key role for Luciano Spalletti’s Italy during the international break, as the Azzurri broke their ignominious run with qualifiers and barely held on to second place in their qualifying group to make it into the pot for the Euro 2024 draw.

In what is set to be a closely contested Derby d’Italia clash, his ability to make things easier for his teammates with his powerful running and his capacity to create moments of brilliance could be a game-changer for Massimiliano Allegri’s side.

Prediction

Juventus 1-0 Inter Milan

Separated by just two points at the top of the table, Juventus and Inter Milan appear evenly matched at the moment and could be set to cancel each other out. Despite the obvious attacking quality on show, it is set to be a low-scoring clash.

Not only are the stakes high, but defensively, these two have been the strongest so far in Italy by miles, with Inter Milan conceding only six times in 12 games and Massimiliano Allegri’s rock-solid Juventus breaching only seven times over the same stretch.

In fact, keeping this title tussle low-scoring and fiery would be the Bianconeri’s best chance of coming out on top. With that in mind, the Hard Tackle predicts Massimiliano Allegri’s troops will grind out a 1-0 victory.

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