Inter vs Juventus

It is a decisive day in Serie A when the league’s best attack hosts the best defence at San Siro for the first Derby d’Italia of 2021.

Juventus legend and Inter manager Antonio Conte matches up against his former Juventus lynchpin, Andrea Pirlo, as they jostle for an upper hand in the title race. Although the race is increasingly against AC Milan’s tenacious pace setters

Inter come into this having wobbled after an incredible eight-game winning run has dissipated into two without a win. Juventus, on the other hand, have put a rough start to the season behind them and are in search of another massive boost having ended Milan’s 27-game unbeaten league run.

Milan’s surprise charge for a first Serie A title since 2011 – incidentally the last side to win it asides Juve – has caught both The Old Lady and the Nerazzurri by surprise as they were expected to wrestle for supremacy this season. Conte and Pirlo have had to contend with the many turmoils this unprecedented season has thrown their way whilst Milan have steamrolled to the top of the table.

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Conte has had to deal with inconsistency from his ageing squad which is heavily-reliant on Lukaku

Fourth-placed Juventus must avoid defeat or go seven points behind their opponents and 10 behind Milan. Conte knows more than anyone the beast he created in 2011 must not be allowed to steal a march and reduce the deficit. Preventing a 10th consecutive title for the side he led to the first three is as important as denying Milan the title.

The form of Achraf Hakimi will provide some optimism, the 22-year-old is adapting well to Serie A and has three goals and an assist in the last five games. Hakimi would suit this sort of explosive game featuring the league’s top two scorers, Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku.

The poor start to 2021 has told on Inter’s defence which has conceded six times in three outings this year. Pirlo’s vibrant attacking side and Ronaldo would fancy their chances, especially after putting three past Milan recently.

Although they will be without Paulo Dybala’s creativity, as he supplied Federico Chiesa’s clinical brace against Milan. The Bianconeri are boosted by the returns of both fullbacks, Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado.

This could allow Pirlo to match Inter’s back-three and let the individual talents and experience do the talking.

The 41-year-old has previously said he wants his team to reflect Conte’s old Juve teams in terms of ‘desire and cohesion’. If he gets that right on Sunday, the Old Lady would be right back in the midst of the title race. 

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin
January 16, 2021
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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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