Italy’s leading teams face off in a prime Serie A match on Saturday night, as Inter Milan takes on Juventus in the much-anticipated Derby d’Italia.
The football powerhouses meet at San Siro, with Inter ahead of Juve by a single point in the rankings – and the Nerazzurri also have a game in hand.
Before a significant match that could shape the Italian championship outcome, Inter shows excellent form, winning five consecutive matches – including two in Saudi Arabia where they retained the Supercoppa Italiana – kicking off 2024 strongly.
The last instance of the Nerazzurri securing their first six victories of a year was 17 years back, yet they now have the chance to replicate this achievement by defeating their arch-rivals in the 248th Derby d’Italia.
Simone Inzaghi’s team has scored in all their 21 league games this season, and if they score again following last week’s 1-0 victory over Fiorentina, they will become only the second team to net in 22 consecutive games from the start of a Serie A season – equaling Juventus.
Inter, after clinching a third straight Supercoppa by overcoming Napoli last month, have outperformed Juve in recent cup matches and remain many experts’ pick to lead the league despite their rivals’ recent comeback.
A tight contest for the Scudetto is emerging – with only AC Milan close to the top two, yet far behind – making the stakes extremely high for Sunday night.
While Inter has won titles and edged out Juventus for the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa honors since the Bianconeri’s dominant streak ended three years ago, beating them in Serie A has proved more difficult lately.
A 1-1 tie in November’s matchup, with goals from Dusan Vlahovic and Lautaro Martinez, left Juventus with seven points from their last three league encounters against Inter.
A win in Milan would move them above their rivals and to the top of Serie A, after a long period in Inter’s shadow.
Max Allegri’s squad is likely confident about securing another favorable outcome, having amassed 53 points so far – historically, when Juve has reached this point mark at this stage, they have always finished first.
Seven victories in their last eight matches across all competitions have brought Juventus closer to Inter and into the Coppa Italia semi-finals, though they experienced their first setback of the year in last week’s 1-1 draw with Empoli at home.
Arkadiusz Milik’s early ejection put Juve in a difficult position at the Allianz Stadium, but an in-form Vlahovic scored later, before Tommaso Baldanzi equalized for the visitors.
This leaves Allegri on the brink of being the first manager to achieve 1000 points in Serie A, a milestone a Sunday victory would secure, propelling Juventus to the top.
Inter Milan Serie A form:
Inter Milan form (all competitions):
Juventus Serie A form:
Juventus form (all competitions):
Simone Inzaghi, ahead of Max Allegri with four wins to two in Derby d’Italia encounters, faces no significant missing players this week – only former Juve player Juan Cuadrado is out due to injury.
Italy’s Francesco Acerbi and Federico Dimarco are expected back in the starting lineup, with Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu returning after suspensions.
Captain and leading scorer Lautaro Martinez pairs up with Marcus Thuram upfront, aiming for his 20th league goal this season, which would mark him as the third Inter player to hit 20 goals in three successive seasons.
Juve’s top scorer, Dusan Vlahovic, who hasn’t scored in seven past matches against Milan clubs at San Siro, comes off five goals in his last three games and is set to start, with Arkadiusz Milik sidelined.
Despite a quiet transfer period, Juventus added Carlos Alcaraz on loan from Southampton, who is likely to start on the bench, as Adrien Rabiot might return from a calf injury in time to play.
Federico Chiesa, still dealing with a muscle problem, might come on as a substitute, while Moise Kean won’t play after a failed medical halted his move to Atletico Madrid.
Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Pavard, Acerbi, Bastoni;
Darmian, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco;
Juventus possible starting lineup:
Gatti, Bremer, Danilo;
Cambiaso, McKennie, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic;
Prediction: Inter Milan 0-0 Juventus
Inter (13) and Juventus (12) lead Serie A in clean sheets this season, facing the fewest shots on target and conceding the least goals.
Following a tense draw in November’s reverse fixture, they might end both league games in a draw for the first time since 2002: expect caution at San Siro.