thumbnail Hello,

Goal.com's Stefan Coerts takes a look at the key personal battles ahead of this Sunday's Serie A clash between Juventus and Inter.

After a pretty disappointing start to the season, it seems as if Inter are slowly nearing top form. The Nerazzurri have climbed to third position in the table, trailing table toppers Milan by five points, but with one game in hand.

Juventus have been far less impressive in recent weeks and have even dropped to eighth spot in Serie A. This doesn't make Sunday evening's match any less important though as Inter desperately need the full three points to stay in the race for the Scudetto, while Juventus can't afford to slip up if they are to qualify for next year's Champions League.

A number of exciting personal battles await in Turin and the following players could play a key role on Sunday.

Andrea Barzagli v Samuel Eto'o
Italy Nationality Cameroon
29 Age 29
Central defender Position Central forward
961 Castrol Ranking 97

Even though Barzagli was deemed surplus to requirements at Bundesliga strugglers Wolfsburg, the center-back has quickly won a starting berth at Juventus, forcing Giorgio Chiellini out to the left. The Vecchia Signora faithful will be following Barzagli with a critical eye, but a good performance against Inter could convince the fans that the 29-year-old is the right man for Juve.

Inter coach Leonardo will be looking to Cameroonian international Samuel Eto'o to provide Inter with goals on Sunday. Eto'o has been in excellent form all season long and has so far scored 15 league goals for the Nerazzurri. The former Barcelona star will undoubtedly be looking to add to his tally at the weekend.

Felipe Melo v Wesley Sneijder
 
Brazil Nationality Netherlands
27 Age 26
Holding midfielder Position Attacking midfielder
195 Castrol Ranking 170

After a rather disappointing first season at Juventus, Melo has put in some impressive performance for the Turin giants in 2010-11. The Brazil international will have to be at his best at the weekend if he is to keep Sneijder quiet and much will depend on Melo's ability to break up play.

The Dutch international only recently returned to match action and Sneijder immediately showed what he's capable of. The gifted playmaker scored in Inter's wins over Bari and Roma to show the world that he's back before putting in a superb performance for Netherlands in midweek.

Alberto Aquilani v Esteban Cambiasso
Italy Nationality Argentina
26 Age 30
Attacking midfielder Position Holding midfielder
199 Castrol Ranking 188

The injury prone midfielder has been struggling a bit to find his best form in 2011 after a good start to the season, but Aquilani is still Juventus' main creative force from midfield. The former Liverpool player has the quality to cause Inter all kinds of problems with his superb vision and passing and head coach Luigi Del Neri will be praying for a good outing of his playmaker.

Cambiasso has been one of the few Inter players who hasn't really been affected by injuries or a dip of form this season. The Argentina international never stops running in midfield and seems to really enjoy hassling his direct opponent all match long. He'll be looking to do exactly that on Sunday in an attempt to help his side pick up the full three points.

Alessandro Matri v Andrea Ranocchia
 
Italy Nationality Italy
26 Age 22
Central forward Position Central defender
336 Castrol Ranking 930

Juventus opted to sign Matri from Cagliari on a six-month loan deal in the closing stages of the January transfer window and the attacker immediately proved his worth with a brace in the 3-1 away win over Cagliari last week. The tricky attacker will be looking to continue his fine form against Inter to convince Juventus to make his stay in Turin permanent at the end of the season.

The young Italy international impressed at Genoa in the first half of the season and was consequently signed by Inter to replace long-term injury concern Walter Samuel. Ranocchia might still be relatively inexperienced, but there's little doubt that the center-back has plenty of potential. It's now up to him to show that he has what it takes to succeed at top level as well.

Follow Goal.com on to get the latest soccer news directly. Check out Goal.com's page; be part of the best soccer fan community in the world!

Related

From the web

From the web