What: Italian Serie A
Who: Inter vs Juventus
When: Saturday 30th March, 2013, at 14:00 UK Time
Where: San Siro, Milan, Italy
With the international break now over, the world turns its attention back to club football, with the meeting taking place between Italian giants Inter and Juventus being one of the most anticipated this weekend. A lot has changed since the corresponding fixture that took place on 3rd November of last year, when Inter beat Juventus on their own ground to halt the Bianconeri’s long unbeaten run. A few points away from the league leaders at some point, the Nerazzurri have since slipped down the pecking order, occupying seventh place in the league standings.
The 18-time Serie A winners recently suffered another heavy blow by being dumped out of the Europa League at the hands of English side Tottenham Hotspur, leaving the Italian league as the only active competition. With 47 points, they are seven short of third-placed AC Milan and will need to focus the rest of their campaign on turning their luck around and aiming for Champions League participation next season.
And Ezequiel Scholetto declared that his side are ready to face the table leaders. “We've had the international break and that's given us time to prepare properly for the match. We've been working very hard, we're fired up and ready for it – the coach knows how to fire us up. It's going to be tough”, he said.
Juventus are sitting comfortably with a nine-point advantage over second-placed Napoli. With nine league games remaining before the 2012/13 season comes to a close, few would bet on the Bianconeri not picking up a 29th Scudetto accolade. The meeting with Inter will serve them as the perfect stepping stone towards ending the season on a high note, as well as getting revenge at the San Siro after having succumbed in Turin the last time these two met. The Derby d’Italia rarely fails to live up to the expectations and both sides will find it hard as form usually goes out the window in games like these.
The Old Lady won their last match at the San Siro on 29th October 2011, but could find things harder this time as Inter hold the psychological advantage following the last game between the two. Furthermore, midfielder Arturo Vidal believes his side will be in for a difficult match.
“It will be a tough match against the Nerazzurri. They play to the death to get important points in order to participate in the Champions League. For us it is another 'final', as all the games are from now until the end of the season.”
Tottenham 3-0 Inter (07/03; Europa League)
Inter 0-1 Bologna (10/03; Serie A)
Inter 4-1 Tottenham (14/03; Europa League)
Juventus 2-0 Celtic (06/03; Champions League)
Juventus 1-0 Catania (10/03; Serie A)
Bologna 0-2 Juventus (16/03; Serie A)
Inter: Ricardo Alvarez (doubt); Zdravko Kuzmanovic (doubt); Dejan Stankovic (doubt); Yuto Nagatomo (doubt); Matias Silvestre (doubt); Diego Milito; Joel Obi; Gaby Mudingayi; Luca Castellazzi; Juan (suspended)
Juventus: Giorgio Chiellini (doubt); Martin Caceres; Nicklas Bendtner; Simone Pepe
Players to watch
Inter – Antonio Cassano: The ill-tempered forward will have to breach the opposition’s defence, especially with Juventus having the lowest amount of goals conceded in the peninsula this term with just 18. Flares of his genius will need to be displayed and not the bad side of his game.
Juventus – Sebastian Giovinco: The diminutive player is finally enjoying football at Juventus, and his importance for the side has grown even more this term as he has appeared in 27 league games so far. Giovinco is one of many Juventus players that could prove to be troublesome for Inter.
Juventus will be in for a tough match: that is certain. Inter are weaker than they were the last time the two met, but with them having no European football and Juventus’ mind partially focused on meeting Bayern Munich next week, the away side might opt to rest some of their key players, especially as they hold a wide mathematical advantage in the league. Should the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Fabio Quagliarella be conserved, there is a chance that Inter might win this one.
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