7/10 draw 27/10 38/10
The Serie A title race continues to look entertaining as Juventus, Napoli and Inter all won their respective matches last weekend to pull away from the chasing bunch. This weekend serves up a vital clash as league champions Juventus host Inter Milan. At the time of writing, both teams have home matches to play on Wednesday.
After a controversial win to maintain their Serie A unbeaten run, Juventus extended that streak to 48 games with a 1-0 away win against Catania last weekend. Catania had a goal ruled out before Juventus took the lead with a strike from Chilean Arturo Vidal that should have been disallowed for offside. That win made it eight wins from nine matches this season to take them to 25 points, three clear of Napoli and four ahead of their opponents this weekend. Juventus’s dominance has been mainly due to their excellent defensive play. They play with three centre-backs and two capable wing-backs which has resulted in them conceding just one goal at home this season in four matches while managing to score 10 goals. They have conceded just 4 goals overall in nine matches and scored 20, four more than the second highest scoring team, Inter. Andrea Pirlo continues to dictate play in the Serie A for Juventus and was recently nominated in a 23-man shortlist for 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or award (World Player of the Year). Left wing-back Kwadwo Asamoah has also been a stand out player for Juve since signing at the beginning of the season. He has given Juve stability down the left flank while offering some great attacking play in the final third.
Inter stretched their Serie A winning streak to five matches, seven including their Europa victories, as they showed their clinical side to beat Bologna 3-1 and move above Lazio into third on the table. Goals from Andrea Ranocchia and Esteban Cambiasso added to Diego Milito’s effort as the Argentine marked his 100th league appearance for the San Siro outfit with his fourth goal of the campaign. Coach Andrea Stramaccioni is expected to keep faith with an attacking 3-4-3 formation with Diego Milito spearheading the attack and Antonio Cassano playing alongside him. After an inconsistent start to the campaign the relatively new Inter side are now playing as a unit. They have conceded just one goal in their last four matches. Their away form has been better than their home form notching up five wins in five matches, scoring 11 goals and conceding just one. Antonio Cassano, who turned down Juventus to join Inter from rivals AC Milan, has been scintillating, scoring five goals in his eight appearances for the Nerazzurri in the league this season. He has produced the most goal-scoring opportunities for Inter in the Serie A with 18, four more than playmaker Wesley Sneijder. As opposed to having little spark when Sneijder is out injured, which was the case for parts of last season, they can now rely on the experienced 30-year-old Cassano to produce something out of nothing when the Dutchman isn’t at his best or out injured.
Juventus have beaten Inter in the last three encounters and have conceded just one goal in the last five. In the last 20 matches at the Juventus Stadium, Juve have lost just four times to Inter, drawing four times and winning 12. Back them to continue their sterling home form against the big teams in recent times.