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Serie A Preview: Inter - Juventus

Kick-Off: Friday, April 15, 2010, 20:45 CET.
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan.

Reclaiming Top Spot

Inter lost out on pole position in Serie A for the first time in six months at the weekend when Roma defeated Atalanta 2-1 at home to take advantage of their 2-2 draw with Fiorentina in Florence. At the moment Jose Mourinho's side have 67 points from 33 matches and are a solitary point behind Roma.

The Nerazzurri haven't been in great health in the Italian top flight in the past two or so months as they saw their massive 11-point lead at the top of the table overhauled. The defeat to Roma at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome in late March allowed Claudio Ranieri's side to draw closer.

However, Inter have started scoring again and that is a good sign for a side that struggled for a while to find the oppositions' net. The Italian champions lost to Juventus earlier in the season but they will be up for this game as they know that a defeat or a draw will virtually put Roma in cruise control. Moreover, with the current trials going on, the game will take an added sense of rivalry.

Champions League Dreams

Juventus' 2-1 win against Inter in December in Serie A had refurbished their Scudetto hopes at the time, but at the moment the Bianconeri are struggling to reach the fourth and final Champions League spot. Alberto Zaccheroni's side are currently sixth in the table with 51 points from 33 matches, three points behind fourth-placed Palermo.

Juventus can still qualify for the Champions League, but for that they need to start winning matches. Even under Zaccheroni the Bianconeri have struggled to bag wins and were knocked out of the Europa League by modest English side Fulham.

However, Juve have won two of their last three league fixtures and defeated Cagliari last weekend. Furthermore, they defeated Inter 2-1 when the two sides met earlier in the season in the league, although they did lose to Inter in the Coppa Italia soon after. Now, with the ongoing trails of Calciopoli, they will be even more fired up to defeat their arch-rivals.



FORM GUIDE

Inter

April 13 v Fiorentina (A) - WON 1-0 (Coppa Italia)

April 10 v Fiorentina (A) - DREW 2-2 (Serie A)

April 6 v CSKA Moscow (A) - WON 1-0 (Champions League)

April 3 v Bologna (H) - WON 3-0 (Serie A)

March 31 v CSKA Moscow (H) - WON 1-0 (Champions League)

Juventus

April 11 v Cagliari (H) - WON 1-0 (Serie A)

April 3 v Udinese (A) - LOST 3-0 (Serie A)

March 28 v Atalanta (H) - WON 2-1 (Serie A)

March 25 v Napoli (A) - LOST 3-1 (Serie A)

March 21 v Sampdoria (A) - LOST 1-0 (Serie A)

 

TEAM NEWS

Inter

Santon and Toldo are out while Sneijder and Muntari are doubtful. Chivu is suspended.

Probable Line-up (4-2-3-1): Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Zanetti; Motta, Cambiasso; Balotelli, Sneijder, Eto'o; Milito

Juventus

Caceres, Chimenti, Grygera, Trezeguet and Giovinco are unavailable for the trip to Milan while Diego, Salihamidzic, Del Piero, Felipe Melo and Marchisio are reportedly struggling with injuries.

Probable Line-up (4-3-1-2): Buffon, Zebina, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Grosso; Sissoko, Felipe Melo, Marchisio; Diego; Del Piero, Amauri

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Samuel Eto'o (Inter)

The Cameroonian international striker scored the winner against Fiorentina on Tuesday night in the Coppa Italia semi-final second leg and also scored against la Viola last weekend. Placed 146th in the Castrol Rankings, Eto'o has struck 11 times in 27 league appearances for Inter this season and will be a crucial factor for the Nerazzurri in opening up the Juventus backline. Eto'o scored against the Bianconeri in Turin earlier in 2009-10 and the 29-year-old will be eager to do so again on Friday night.

Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

The Italian international central defender scored the winner against Cagliari last weekend and was also very strong at the back. Chiellini kept the Sardinian attackers at bay and once again proved that he has been the Bianconeri's best and most consistent player this campaign. Inter have started scoring again, and with Wesley Sneijder pulling the strings from the midfield, the 25-year-old, placed 226th in the Castrol Rankings, will have to stand strong to stop the Nerazzurri attacks.

PREDICTION

It is the Derby d'Italia and anything's possible; moreover, with the ongoing trials both sides will be fired up. However, Inter are stronger than Juve and have not lost at home in any competition this campaign. So a win for Alberto Zaccaroni's side doesn't look probable.

Inter 2-1 Juventus


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