The first international break of the season has finally ended, and a return to club football beckons for the best footballers across the planet. The first 3 games of the season saw some lukewarm performances from most of the giants, but now that World Cup qualification is sealed for many of the players, and the season is well under way, we should see the intensity being upped.
The return of club football has been marked by the return of one of the fiercest rivalries across football, and especially in the Serie A– the Derby D’ Italia. Aside from being 2 of the 3 most successful sides in the peninsula, the rivalry that Inter and Juve share is about much more than just trophies. The Calciopoli scandal, and all its aftermath has left a very bitter taste in the mouth of both parties. Fans, and even board members sometimes descend into squabbles, claims and counter-claims relating to the controversy that rocked Italian football in 2006.
Focusing on today, Inter and Juve are coming off the back of very different performances last season. The Nerazzuri finished a lowly 9th last season, their worst league performance in the new millennium. The dominance that marked the second half of last decade has long gone, and the team are currently re-building. This season though, has seen a totally different Inter side to the one that finished last season. Walter Mazzari has taken charge, and worked the team very hard in pre-season, and the results are showing now. Two hard fought victories in their 2 opening games with comfortable margins show that the team seems to be coming together, though it may be a little early to draw conclusions. Mazzari has built from the back, and the team is yet to concede a goal this season. The squad is deceptively deep as well, with the Branca and Moratti probably learning the lessons from last season.
The champions, on the other hand, have also made a perfect start to the season. A tough win away at Sampdoria was followed by a 4-1 thrashing of Lazio. Star signing Carlos Tevez has found the back of the net in both games and looks in good touch. Juventus base their play around ball possession in midfield, and with an engine of Pirlo, Pogba and Vidal, they have managed to average 66% possession in their 2 games so far.
Tactically speaking, both teams have played with wing backs this season, with the likes of Nagatomo and Jonathan forming an important part of Inter’s attacking strategy, whereas Lichtsteiner and Asamoah are used more to stretch the opposition. A lot will depend on how well Inter’s defence, led by the impressive Hugo Campagnaro can cope with the twin threats of Tevez and Vucinic. The ability or otherwise of Ricky Alvarez to impact the game will also be crucial, with the Argentine having shown some good form in this season.
Inter vs Juve
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