For the first time in quite a while, Internazionale sit above holders Juventus in the league standings, carrying a huge eight-point advantage into the derby game. However, with the Bianconeri slowly waking up from the afternoon nap, it will be up to the Nerazzurri to prove they can match the reigning Serie A champions.
Roberto Mancini didn’t quite managed to stabilise Inter Milan during his first season upon returning to Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, but having arrived midway through the campaign, the former Manchester City boss did have an excuse for under-par results. Once he was in charge of the team during pre-season and with club management securing some very good signings, the Italian coach did bring improvement to the Nerazzurri, with an impressive start to the Serie A hinting they might even mount a serious title challenge. However, when we take a moment to study the manner in which the first five wins were achieved, it is easy to see that Inter were far from convincing in each of those games, winning all five by the narrowest of margins. And rightly so, their form started to drop, with 4-1 home loss to Fiorentina and 1-1 draw with Sampdoria spelling trouble for Roberto Mancini and his players. And while the squad do appear to be better than last term, the current crop of players clearly lack the character to keep performing up to potential week in week out, so I fear that all their weaknesses will be exposed when facing a side like Juventus. Roberto Mancini welcomes back centre-back Miranda from suspension, which should see Gary Medel return to midfield and marquee signing Geoffrey Kondogbia relegated to the bench.
Having dominated the last four Serie A campaigns from start to finish, Juventus were unable to hit the ground running in the early exchanges of the new season, but everybody knew the Bianconeri would come good eventually. The away win over Manchester City in the Champions League gave us just a hint of what we could expect from Max Allegri’s charges this season, but a couple of more under-par performances on domestic stage placed a great deal of pressure on the team ahead of the clash with Europa League holders Sevilla. And it was that game that showed just how well Juventus can play under pressure, completely outclassing the team that would go on to beat Barcelona just few days later and never giving them the narrowest of chances of taking anything from the match. With the fans recognizing the difficult moment to stand behind the team, the Bianconeri enjoyed comfortable wins over Sevilla and Bologna, and we can now safely say they are back in business. Not even the ten-point gap behind Serie A leaders Fiorentina will be enough to derail Juventus’ title bid now and we fully expect them to see off Inter Milan and continue their ascend in the league standings. The return of Mario Mandzukic is expected to provide another welcome boost, but Alvaro Morata and Paul Pogba are both rated doubtful.
In spite of some very good results, Inter Milan have failed to impress with their performances on the pitch and that is a cause for concern ahead of the clash with revived Juventus. The Bianconeri appear to be slowly returning to their best and we are backing them to win at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
Verdict: Juventus Draw no bet
Best Odds: 1/1
Bookmaker: William Hill