Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri square off in the Derby D’Italia which presents the first face-off between this season’s Serie A title favourites.

The ex-Chelsea managers are looking to continue their relative trophy-success with the blues, on their return to the Italian top flight with Inter Milan and Juventus.

Conte craves the huge psychological boost a win would present as Inter try to prove their title credentials against the monster Antonio himself created; having led Juve to the first three on their quest for a ninth consecutive scudetto this term.

The Juventus legend has led Inter to six straight victories to start this season having overseen a summer rebuild. Inter are a more consistent side with Conte utilizing the talent at his disposal, they are expected to pose a serious challenge for the title.

This is the first top-of-the-table clash between this two in a very long time. Image Credit: Visual China group via getty Images 
Despite their indifferent form in Europe which has yielded a solitary point from two games, Conte’s men can look to build upon a strong showing against Barcelona in midweek. The Italians were defensively assured and counter-attacked excellently but would fall short to a Luis Suárez brace.

Alexis Sánchez has described his move to Inter as ‘falling in love with football again’, the Chilean, however, misses this one due to suspension.

Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku. Image Credit: Marco Bertorello

Romelu Lukaku is set to return from the muscle injury which ruled him out of the trip to Barcelona. The Belgium ace has netted three times in six Serie A outings and his physical presence and clinical finishing would be a handful for Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci.

In attack, Lukaku would be accompanied by Lautaro Martínez who scored the opener in an amazing individual performance against Barça; Conte’s men have the essential firepower backed up by hardworking, talented players to upset Juventus.

Juventus’ only dropped points this season were in a draw at  Fiorentina. Image Credit: Getty Images. 

The old lady are only two points behind Inter in second place and need a win to overtake the Nerazzurri at the top of the table.

Juventus’ utter dominance of the Italian top flight has seen several challengers emerge and crumble, such that Napoli have almost made a habit of losing matches due to ill luck against them in recent times.

Although they face a different challenge altogether in the form of Conte and Inter, they would hope their experience in crunch games can see them through.

That is not to downplay the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo, however, the Portuguese icon is a famous big-game player and already has three goals and an assist to his name.  

Sarri has tweaked his usual 4-3-3 setup to a diamond midfield at Juventus; allowing Aaron Ramsey to play just off attacking-duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuaín.

Pjanić and Ronaldo are two of Juve’s most important players. Image Credit:

Miralem Pjanić makes it all tick for the Champions, his tactical awareness, vision and dynamism allows him to function as the deep-lying playmaker in Sarri’s team; taking on ‘ the Jorginho role’.

As such, the Bosnian is key to Juve’s rhythm and Conte would be keen to suppress his influence on proceedings. On the other side of that keenly-contested midfield battle is Stefano Sensi, who has registered three goals and two assists for Inter.

Stefano Sensi celebrating a goal this season. Image Credit: Getty Images 

Inter would hope Juve’s new management and their obsession for European glory would play into their hands in the league. The title race has gone sour in Italy as Juventus stroll to the summit each year, however, Conte and Inter possess the required blend of fire and nous to displace the Champions.

On Sunday night, they have a chance to prove it.

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin
October 5, 2019
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Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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