Inter Milan, fresh off their Super Cup victory, will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Serie A table when they host Juventus in the 251st Derby d’Italia on Sunday.
The Nerazzurri are currently one point ahead of the Bianconeri, and they have a game in hand. They are also in excellent form, having scored 50 goals and collected 54 points in their first 21 league games. This is their highest total at this stage of the season since 2006/07.
Inter coach Simone Inzaghi will be boosted by the return of Hakan Calhanoglu and Nicoló Barella from suspension, and his team will be keen to avenge their recent poor record against Juventus. The Nerazzurri have won just one of their last six league meetings with the Bianconeri (2D, 3L), and they have conceded the first goal in each of their last three meetings.
Juventus missed the chance to go top of the table before the derby after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to relegation-threatened Empoli. However, they did play with 10 men for over 70 minutes of the match, and this could be a mitigating factor for coach Massimiliano Allegri when he comes to selecting his team. Allegri has already had to deal with more red cards than any other coach in Serie A this season, with his team receiving seven dismissals since the start of last season.
Allegri has tried to deflect pressure away from his team by declaring Inter as the “absolute favorites for the Scudetto”, but it would be foolish to write off his team after they started the new year with 19 goals in six games (5W, 1D). They also have a good record on the road against teams in the top six, having gone unbeaten and kept three clean sheets in their last three away games against such opposition (2W, 1D).
Players to watch: Inter striker Lautaro Martínez has scored four goals in his last three Serie A appearances, including three in the opening 15 minutes. Juventus forward Dušan Vlahović scored six goals in four league games in January, including four after the break. This is the highest total of any player in the top five European leagues.
Hot stat: Only three of the last 14 Serie A meetings between Inter and Juventus have featured at least three goals.
Prediction: Inter Milan 2-1 Juventus