Written by Shahan Ahmed
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Derby d’Italia: Internazionale vs Juventus
Saturday night in Turin, the two best teams in Italy meet in a rivalry match that is perfectly named: The Derby d’ Italia. The Italian derby is a historically massive grudge match involving Juventus and Inter Milan. After 10 rounds, Inter Milan is clearly the number one contender to the champion, Juventus, and this match serves as a major test for both teams in their respective quests for the Scudetto.
Inter Milan is the best away team in Europe. The Nerazzurri have 5 wins in 5 away Serie A matches, outscoring opponents 11-1 in the process. In the Europa League, Inter has 3 wins in 3 matches, outscoring opponents 8-1. Aggregated, Inter Milan is 8-0-0 with a +17 goal differential in matches away from the San Siro during the 2012-13 season.
On Saturday, Juventus puts its own impressive record on the line. The Old Lady of Italian football is unbeaten in 49 consecutive Serie A matches. With Juve closing in on AC Milan’s record of 58 Serie A matches unbeaten set some 20 years ago, Inter poses a concrete threat to the Bianconeri reaching 50 matches unbeaten this weekend.
Dutch superstar Wesley Sneijder was placed on the shelf with a thigh injury after 25 minutes against Chievo on the 26th of September. Inter won that match 2-0 and has won the next 7 matches across all competitions.
Inter’s ability to cover for the fallen Dutchman came in large part from the crosstown swap of Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini. Cassano requested a transfer away from AC Milan after he (correctly) judged the team to not possess enough talent to be a contender this season.
When Sneijder went down injured against Chievo, Cassano came on and scored a goal. The 30 year-old forward has been instrumental for Inter’s success by scoring 5 times and providing 3 assists in 10 Serie A starts for the Nerazzurri. In fact, Cassano assisted on Inter’s second and third goals in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Sampdoria on Wednesday.
Juventus, on the other hand, took last season’s unbeaten team and added more talent. The additions of Lucio, Mauricio Isla, Kwadwo Asamoah, Paul Pogba, Sebastian Giovinco, and Nicklas Bendtner were not balanced out with any major departures out of Turin. At the moment, Paul Pogba is Juve’s hero.
Pogba was chucked out of Manchester United over the summer and had not made any meaningful impact in Serie A until the mach against title contenders Napoli two weeks ago. The 19 year-old hit a stunning strike to end the contest and earn a few second looks from Juve and Serie A supporters. Then, the French teenager stole the spotlight on Wednesday with a strong performance including a stoppage time match winner.
With the Derby d’Italia taking place in round 10 of the Serie A and involving the top two teams in Italy, this rivalry match could not be more aptly named or perfectly timed. After all, perfection is on the line for both these teams on Saturday.
Director’s Pick: Inter Milan versus Juventus
Our Director of European Football has a pick on this game for members only. Our Director has put up a winning record the past two seasons and he’s +420 units this season. Sign in now to see his pick for the Derby d’ Italia or if you’re not a member, Try AccuScore Free for 7 days:
Also, check out my Manchester United vs Arsenal Preview & Premiership Pick for this weekend