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Post by DeviAngel Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:13 pm

BLOG : Inter - Juventus  Interball BLOG : Inter - Juventus  Juventusball

More than just pride is at stake for Inter and Juventus this weekend as they prepare for the first Derby d’Italia of the season.

For Inter, the timing of the fixture could be better. Welcoming the League leaders to San Siro with just one home win from five played in all competitions is less-than ideal, whilst preparations have been hit by the loss of Julio Cesar to injury.

Claudio Ranieri and Massimo Moratti have spent the week discussing officiating standards rather than player performance – with the former’s argument of a ‘psychological anti-Inter mindset’ not holding up as much as the latter’s ‘irritating coincidence’ theory.

Either way, the discussion about the team’s concession of five penalties from eight games has been very public and leaves Saturday night’s official with it close to mind should a controversial moment rear its head against Juve.

However, the most pressure remains with the Nerazzurri players. Defeat in this game would be their fifth of the campaign and leave them not only again at risk of dropping into the relegation zone, but 11 points off the top of the League. Inter may have been 13 points behind Milan at one stage last season before a close comeback, but they do not carry two games in hand this season as they did then.

Juventus, meanwhile, arrive aware that whilst a draw may be a good result, that in light of recent points dropped it could still see them lose top spot again, and more significantly see Milan pull level. Where just over three weeks ago the Rossoneri were in 16th place and six points back, they are now fifth and just two points behind the Bianconeri.

Whilst Juve go into the fixture the League’s only unbeaten side and in greater form than Inter, it is interesting to note that across the past five weeks, Antonio Conte’s men have still only managed as many wins at Ranieri’s.

For a combination of these reasons, the message from the club has been to disregard Inter’s current League position. Alessandro Matri and Claudio Marchisio have both vocalised caution in approaching the fixture, whilst Conte’s tactical shuffling in training suggests he is considering the task at hand.

Again, his specific formation is unclear, but speculation suggests he will match Ranieri with three central midfielders, but whether that is in a 4-3-3 or 4-3-2-1 remains to be seen.

Keep an eye on: Lucio (Inter) – The Brazilian centre-back had some interesting words for an interview with SKY this week, suggesting referees have not favoured Inter even when they were winning. The No 6 acknowledged though that this is a time for reaction rather than excuses and claimed the players would go into every match with the knife between their teeth. If there is one man to believe on such a statement it is Lucio. Indeed, the team will likely be looking to his influence at the back with Cristian Chivu faltering and with Julio Cesar absent through injury.

Last five in Serie A: Inter (W L L W D) Juventus (D W D D W)

Last season: Inter 0-0 Juventus

Stat fact: Juventus have scored 38 more goals than Inter in this fixture and have won 29 more League meetings between the two teams.

Inter (probable): Castellazzi; Maicon, Lucio, Chivu, Nagatomo; Zanetti, Thiago Motta, Stankovic; Sneijder; Zarate, Pazzini

Juventus (probable): Storari; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio; Pepe, Vucinic; Matri

Ref: Rizzoli

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