3 Reasons Inter Milan Desperately Needs to Beat Juventus in Serie A This Weekend
It was, of course, the Nerazzurri who snatched a dramatic win at the Juventus Stadium earlier in the season to break the Bianconeri's unbeaten streak.
The Old Lady will be looking for revenge in what is known as the Derby d'Italia, knowing that victory at the San Siro will probably end any doubt about a title race.
It is a crucial game for Andrea Stramaccioni, in order to reestablish some confidence from the board and stabilise the environment that has been affected by talk that the 37-year-old manager might not even end the season in charge of Inter.
Here is why this game is a must-win for Inter.
Milan and Fiorentina's Fine Form Will Probably Continue
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Milan and Fiorentina have suddenly found a hot streak and are putting in some fine performances to go with their results that have propelled them to the front of the queue for that final Champions League spot.
Inter will be fully aware that Milan face Chievo and Fiorentina take on Cagliari, both of whom will have decreased motivation due to already securing safety from relegation.
The gap to Fiorentina is four points and to arch-rivals Milan, a further three points, so more dropped points this weekend against Juve will have a devastating effect on their prospects of staying in contention for a Champions League place.
Take Advantage of Juve's Concentration Being Divided
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Inter must win this game simply due to the scheduling that has kindly presented itself to the Nerazzurri.
Juve have the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich just days after this clash, meaning that Antonio Conte could rest some key players in order to prepare better.
Juve's squad is deep enough to be able to draft in quality reserves such as Paul Pogba and players that have trained normally this week, having not been involved with their countries' World Cup qualifiers, these include Simone Padoin and Alessandro Matri who Conte will have no problems utilising.
While these players will not be a pushover, Inter can certainly win the game, especially after their thrashing of Spurs in the Europa League a few weeks ago.
With nothing left to play for, Inter know that a win here will gain points on all of the teams around them, as it is unlikely that Juve will lose to both Lazio and Milan, who they play later in the season.
With a potential double up for grabs, Inter will seek further confidence for the remaining games if they can take maximum points off the champions, a feat unlikely to be replicated by any other side in the league—Milan have the opportunity when they travel to the Juventus Stadium in a few weeks.
Juve have a nine-point lead at the top of Serie A, which is effectively 10 points due to their superior head-to-head record versus Napoli.
The schedule and Juve's willingness to sacrifice a small amount of concentration for this game, knowing they will comfortably sit at the top of the table no matter what, points to a wonderful opportunity for Inter to collect three points.
Key Players Rested During International Break
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While both teams have a significant amount of international players, hindering the coaches' preparation for this huge game, Inter perhaps possess a better core group that has trained throughout the break.
Antonio Cassano is the key figure in this regard and if he can replicate his majestic performance against Spurs at the San Siro, then Inter will feel confident that they can triumph in the Derby d'Italia.
Nerazzurri legends Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso have also stayed behind and will surely start, with both veterans recharging their legs.
Cristian Chivu has also stayed behind and will significantly upgrade the Nerazzurri defence now that he has completely recovered from injury.
So we see a core of players running through the spine of Inter's probable starting lineup, meaning that Strama will be able to meticulously plan his strategy with these leaders getting an advantage over the Bianconeri starters with extra time to prepare.