After a stuttering start to the season, Juventus visit Inter Milan knowing they are playing catch-up on their Milan rivals but also having come good since the turn of the year. Andrea Pirlo’s team are fourth, four points behind Inter and a further three off AC, but have a game in hand over the pair of Milan sides and have won each of their three matches in 2021.
Inter are suffering from a minor blip in form and are winless in their last two outtings, but still sit second in the table riding on the coattails of their city rivals. Ahead of the most anticipated clash in Italy this weekend, we take a look back at the history of the Derby d’Italia.
These two sides are familiar foes. Inter have faced off against Juventus more times than against any other side since the inception of the Serie A (210 games since 1929/30), and Juventus have inflicted the most defeats on the Nerazzuri too. A win this weekend for Juventus would be their 100th scalp over Inter, and that would make them the fist team from Italian giants Juventus, Inter, Roma, Milan and Napoli to beat a single opponent 100 times since 1929/30.
This Sunday’s fixture will have a different feel to it than usual, however, with Inter facing the Bianconeri sitting above them in the league table. Since 2015/16, Inter have faced Juventus a total of seven times after the first 10 matchdays, and only once have they played them whilst ahead of them in the standings.
The Derby d’Italia has added significance for Inter manager Antonio Conte, a man who has great ties with Juventus. He is, of course, a legendary former Juve player (amassing 419 caps for The Old Lady) and his great development as a coach took place in Turin. Indeed, Conte has overseen more games and more wins with Juventus than any other team (83W 24D 7L) in his managerial career.
But as a manager, Conte has yet to get the better of his former side, having lost all three of his encounters with Juventus. The Inter manager will also go up against an old friend in the opposition dugout in Andrea Pirlo, who played under Conte in Turin from 2011 to 2014. Pirlo played 99 Serie A games with Antonio Conte as a coach – only under Carlo Ancelotti (231) has he made more appearances in the top-flight.
Key to both clubs’ successes this year has been the emergence of youngsters within their ranks, notably Federico Chiesa, Lautaro Martínez and Achraf Hakimi. Indeed, of all the players who have been involved in at least nine goals in this Serie A season only Rafael Leão (5G 4A) is younger than Hakimi (nine), Chiesa (nine) and Lautaro Martínez (12).
Chiesa was sparkling in Juventus’ previous victory of AC Milan, scoring two to power his team to a 3-1 win. If he were to play against Inter, it would be his 150th appearance in Serie A, and he’d become the fourth-youngest outfield player to do so among those who made their debut in the three-points-per-win era.
Youngest Outfield Players To Make 150 Serie A Appearances:
Name Club Age Opponent Date Antonio Cassano Roma 22y 7m 15d Palermo February 27, 2005 Christian Obodo Udinese 22y 10m 0d Roma March 11, 2007 Alberto Gilardino Parma 22y 10m 10d Juventus May 15, 2005 Federico Chiesa? Juventus 23y 2m 23d? Inter? Jan 17, 2021? Daniele Dessena Sampdoria 23y 9m 10d Fiorentina February 20, 2011 Piotr Zielinski Napoli 23y 11 m 2d Juventus April 22, 2018
On the Inter side, Lautaro Martinez is likely to draw a lot of attention from the Juve defence. So far the Argentine, who has nine goals and three assists to his name, has fired in 56 shots this campaign, third-most behind Cristiano Ronaldo (63) and Lorenzo Insigne (60).
Finally, a wingback who is enjoying a great spell for the Nerazzurri is Achraf Hakimi. Before him, the last Inter defender to score at least six goals in a single Serie A season was Maicon back in 2009/10, and the last to reach seven was Marco Materazzi in 2006/07 (10, four from penalties). His contributions to Antonio Conte’s side have been invaluable, with his goals and assists worth nine points for his side.
But in the end, this game will probably come down to the two top scorers of this Serie A: Inter’s Romelu Lukaku (12 goals) and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo (15 goals). The Portuguese striker has scored 15 goals out of Juventus’s 35, 43% of his team’s goals in total. No player has contributed a higher % to his team goals than Ronaldo.
The pair of strikers are once again having a tremendous season. Together they’ve scored 27 goals in Serie A this campaign, 12 teams have scored fewer.
Total Goals – Serie A 2020-21:
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