Fighting for the Serie A trophy and the signature of several high-profile footballers, Juventus and Inter will also be vying for a place in the Coppa Italia final, with Wednesday’s clash in Turin set to decide who will battle either AC Milan or minnows Alessandria for the coveted trophy.
The stuttering start to the new season now seems like a distant past for Juventus, who successfully returned to their best some two and a half months ago. Even if they still trail red-hot Napoli in the Serie A standings, a two-point gap is a far cry from the time when the Bianconeri occupied a place in the bottom half of the table. Juventus have been relentless of late, winning 13 of last 14 fixtures in all competitions, with summer recruit Paulo Dybala especially impressive. The Argentine starlet has adapted to the new surroundings like duck to water and nobody is surprised to see him compared to the Barcelona superstar Leo Messi. Having defeated Lazio on the road in the quarter-finals, Juventus will fancy their chances of beating Inter Milan as well, especially given the fact that the Nerazzurri have been on quite a downtrend of late. Eight successive home wins, where the Bianconeri conceded mere two goals in the process, are another reason why Max Allegri’s side have got to be considered the favourites to go through.
Talented forward Simone Zaza misses out through suspension, while Mario Lemina and Roberto Pereyra continue to miss out.
The coach is expected to make some changes to the side, with Alvaro Morata, Alex Sandro, Neto, Juan Cuadrado and Hernanes all expected to start.
For the first time in quite a while, Inter Milan were able to mount a serious title challenge in Italian Serie A, although it would appear as though they are now struggling to keep up with Napoli and Juventus. While some impressive defensive performances helped the Nerazzurri record a plethora of 1-0 wins in the opening exchanges, their problems up front were evident from the very start, and are now costing them dearly. Even if Inter Milan still hold the best defensive record in the elite division, they are in 11th place when it comes to the number of goals scored, so no wonder Roberto Mancini is desperate to recruit a proven goalscorer by the time the January window closes. His charges missed a host of clear-cut chances in weekend’s draw with Carpi, and were eventually punished as the ten-man Biancorossi leveled the score deep in injury time. Taking into account Juventus’ rock-solid back line, it is clear that Inter will have to show a massive improvement up front if they want to get something from this game.
The good news is that Roberto Mancini has no selection worries, but he is believed to be pondering changes to his starting line-up.
Joao Miranda, Gary Medel and Stevan Jovetic should be recalled to the side, with Andrea Ranocchia also in the squad in spite of the imminent move to Sampdoria.
Key Factors to Consider
- Juventus have 13 wins in last 14 games on all fronts
- The Bianconeri won last eight home games, keeping six clean sheets
- Under 2.5 goals were scored in each of Inter’s last five fixtures
- Inter are winless in last seven meetings with Juventus (D4 L3)
- Juve recorded three straight wins to nil
Juventus have been on top of their game for quite a while and several changes to the side are unlikely to damage their chances of defeating out-of-sorts Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri’s attacking problems will be painfully evident in Turin and we are backing the hosts to make it to the Coppa Italia final.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 8/11