Just days after hosting a huge Champions League clash against Bayern Munich, Juventus Stadium will be the venue for the latest instalment of the Derby d’Italia as Inter Milan visit Turin. The Bianconeri return to domestic action following that tough encounter with the Bavarian giants, perhaps taking a major confidence boost from the manner of their second-half fightback.
Indeed—as discussed in this previous post—coach Massimiliano Allegri’s men were thoroughly outplayed for the opening 45 minutes but managed to peg back their opponents with goals from Paulo Dybala and Stefano Sturaro.
Unfortunately, the match also saw Claudio Marchisio pick up an injury, and Juve’s official website reports the midfielder will miss seven days of action. That rules him out of the meeting with Inter, while the Italian champions expect to see Alex Sandro and Giorgio Chiellini return after knocks of their own.
8 - Buffon has kept a clean sheet 8 times since the start of 2016, more than any other ‘keeper across the top-5 European leagues. Bunker.— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) February 20, 2016
A draw with Bologna last week ended Juve’s club record winning streak at 15 games, but they now take on an opponent that has picked up just four victories in 2016. After losing to the Bianconeri in the Coppa Italia last month, coach Roberto Mancini saw his side collect only seven points from their next five matches.
They did comfortably see off Sampdoria in their last outing, however, and will be further boosted by a reduction in Geoffrey Kondogbia’s suspension. Initially banned for two games for sarcastically applauding the referee in the defeat to Fiorentina, the league (h/t Football Italia) announced this week that his punishment was halved on appeal.
He will therefore be available to take on Juventus, and Inter will hope that boosts their chances against an opponent the Nerazzurri have not beaten away from home since November 2012.
Date: Sunday, February 28, 2016
Time: 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Juventus Stadium, Turin
TV Info: BT Sport Europe (UK), beIN Sports 1 (USA)
Live Stream: BT Connect (UK)
Last five domestic results:
|Chievo 0-4 Juventus||AC Milan 3-0 Inter|
|Juventus 1-0 Genoa||Inter 1-0 Chievo|
|Frosinone 0-2 Juventus||Hellas Verona 3-3 Inter|
|Juventus 1-0 Napoli||Fiorentina 2-1 Inter|
|Juventus 0-0 Bologna||Inter 3-1 Sampdoria|
Juventus (3-5-2): Gigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sami Khedira, Hernanes, Paul Pogba, Alex Sandro; Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala
Unavailable: Kwadwo Asamoah, Martin Caceres and Claudio Marchisio (all injured)
Inter: (4-4-2): Samir Handanovic; Yuto Nagatomo, Jeison Murillo, Joao Miranda, Danilo D’ Ambrosio; Jonathan Biabiany, Gary Medel, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Ivan Perisic; Eder, Mauro Icardi
Unavailable: Marcelo Brozovic (suspended)
Perhaps the biggest problem for Inter this season has been scoring goals, with no fewer than six teams having netted more than their current tally of 34. While they have struggled to create opportunities, there is no doubting the fact that Mauro Icardi remains one of the division’s deadliest strikers.
Indeed, despite living on scant service, the 23-year-old has netted 11 league goals and insisted in a recent interview with InterNos that he has no desire to leave the club despite regularly being mentioned in transfer rumours.
11 - Mauro Icardi has scored 11 goals from the 19 shots on target he has attempted in this Serie A. Sniper.— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) February 20, 2016
"I've had a few offers but I want to stay here and lift trophies with this club," Icardi said (h/t Inter.it). "I'm the captain and I want to achieve great things with Inter. I've always shouldered my responsibility ever since I joined the club and I think the fans appreciate that."
He also spoke of the need to win against the Bianconeri, a team he has scored against at an impressive rate thus far in his career. With six goals in seven appearances vs. Juventus, defender Leonardo Bonucci will need to be at his best in order to slow down the remarkable prowess of Icardi.
Player to Watch
While the Turin side will be closely monitoring Icardi, it may well be that one of his former team-mates is the man to watch during this encounter. Indeed, that aforementioned injury to Marchisio means Hernanes is likely to be handed a start against the Nerazzurri, the club he left back in August.
Moving to Juventus on transfer deadline day, the 30-year-old has struggled to have a positive impact and has made just 10 league starts under Allegri’s guidance. Failing to register a goal or an assist, his best performance for the club arguably came against Bayern Munich earlier this week.
Entering the game as a second-half substitute, Hernanes was an important factor in Juve’s second-half fightback as he added some attacking quality to the midfield, much to his own surprise.
"All along I knew the moment would come when I could show my qualities so while I wasn’t expecting it to arrive on Tuesday night, I think I responded well to the challenge," he told JTV (h/t Juventus.com).
The Bianconeri will hope he can continue in the same vein when he faces Inter, with a win vital as they hope to maintain their advantage over Napoli at the top of the Serie A standings.
Odds (via Odds Shark)
Away win: 23-4
Home win: 100-167