First host second when Juventus welcome Inter Milan to the eponymous Juventus Arena on Saturday (7.45pm GMT, live on ESPN) for the 219th Derby d’Italia.
Juventus scored an injury time winner to extend their 100% home record so far in 2012/13 to five matches with a 2-1 victory over Bologna on Wednesday, former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba getting the decisive goal.
The victory also extended the Old Lady’s unbeaten run to 49 league matches, leaving them just one short of the big five-zero and nine short of equalling AC Milan’s all-time Serie A record of 58 matches unbeaten, achieved during the early nineties.
Juventus lead the way in Serie A, four points clear of Inter having won nine and drawn one of their ten matches to date. They have scored the joint-highest number of goals in the league (22), while conceding the fewest (5) and have seen off the likes of Napoli, Roma and Udinese along the way.
It would be unrealistic to expect Juve to continue their current form through the entire league season, but even so they look a more well-rounded team that the side that won last year’s title, the additions of Kwando Asamoah, Mauricio Isla, Sebastian Giovinco and Pogba fleshing out a squad that looked a little bare at times last season.
Coach Antonio Conte now has more options available to him when looking to rotate his first eleven, especially vital in light of Juventus’ participation in this year’s Champions League.
Conte used a number of his reserves in the victory over Bologna, keeping the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Asamoah, Mirko Vucinic and Giovinco fresh for the visit of Inter. Hard running midfielders Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal are also both likely to return to the starting eleven having missed out in midweek through injury and suspension respectively.
Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni also rested some of his first team regulars for Inter’s 3-2 home win over Sampdoria on Wednesday, with Esteban Cambiasso, Yuto Nagatomo and Matias Silvestre all likely to be pushing for a starting place on Saturday.
The victory was Inter’s eighth consecutive in all competitions and their sixth consecutive in Serie A. After a patchy start to the campaign they have been excellent over the last month or so, slowly making their way up the table into the second place position they now occupy.
This good run of form has coincided with Stramaccioni’s switch to a three-man defence, a formation change that has yielded a team with good balance between attack and defence. Inter matched Sampdoria’s 4-3-3 on Wednesday, but will likely revert back to a 3-5-2 for the trip to Turin, mimicking their hosts.
Stramaccioni does have an important decision to make, however, because Wednesday’s front three of Antonio Cassano, Diego Milito and Rodrigo Palacio all got on the score-sheet. Presuming he does revert to a two-striker system, Palacio will probably be the one to drop to the bench. Cassano and Milito currently look to have a better understanding and the former Genoa’s man pace off the bench could be an effective Plan B.
Inter match up fairly well man-to-man against Juventus, although clearly lack a player of the same class and poise as Andrea Pirlo at the base of their midfield. Walter Gargano is neat on the ball and has a decent passing range, but is prone to buckle in high pressure situations, best illustrated by his poor performance for Napoli against Chelsea in the second leg of last year’s Champions League Round of 16 tie.
Wesley Sneijder is still missing for Inter as he continues his recovery from the thigh injury that has kept him out for over a month, but in truth the side have looked better balanced without him. He will probably be in contention for a start in their next league fixture, away to Atalanta. Philippe Coutinho is also out, while John Obi and MacDonald Mariga are doubtful.
Juventus v Inter Milan Betting Tips Verdict
Both teams are currently in excellent form and there looks to be very little separating them at this point in time.
Juventus have only conceded twice at home to date, but Inter have won and therefore scored in, every one of their away matches this season and have the necessary attacking threat to again find the back of the net on Saturday.