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Inter host Juventus as both teams present an opportunity to assess their ambitions for the season ahead

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By Andrew Harding

Saturday 29 October 2011

This Saturday night see Inter host Juventus in the game known as Derby D’Italia thanks to a man synonymous with the culture of calcio, Gianni Brera. The form the two teams take into this game is surprisingly distant in recent terms and as it is Juventus who appear to be making genuine strides to the Scudetto while Inter are struggling for consistency as they look to reclaim their standing in Serie A.

On the pitch, the two teams couldn’t be further apart in terms of where they stand as a collective. Juventus are rebuilding and with no possible distraction from European competition, they can concentrate solely on league matters. They have a Coach in Antonio Conte whose progressive nature and status as a symbol of Juventus’ past glories has led to early positive signals for the future. Juve’s identity is being rebuilt into a similar manner as their past with reference to modern developments in the sport and certainly appear to be on the right path to potential success.

Meanwhile, their hosts this Saturday find themselves in a quandary as they are under another new Coach, Claudio Ranieri. Ranieri appears willing to sculpt the team according to the system which was utilised to great success under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho. Unfortunately, time and loss of form have combined to illustrate a perceived lack of pace in Inter’s ranks. While younger players are starting to break through, the squad doesn’t seem to have quite the correct blend as has been evident by their erratic form.

Juventus’ confidence for a positive result will be bolstered by the Nerazzurri’s poor home form where they’ve managed just the solitary goal in all competitions at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. In the build-up to the game, Conte has gone against the signals of form and insisted that Inter are still favourites not just for this game but also the Scudetto.

Such a tactic would appear to be an attempt to increase pressure on the hosts. Ranieri has instead opted to downplay the importance of the game citing the points that would be available over the rest of the campaign. Such negative words only add to the intrigue of the tie as Conte appears determined to refuse Juventus’ position in contention quite possibly in fear of undermining the good progress that has been made so far this season. Ranieri on the other hand needs patience and obviously trying to counteract any attempts Juventus may make to apply more pressure to the struggling Nerazzurri.

This game could be used as an important barometer in judging just what the season may hold for both teams. For Inter, it resembles an opportunity to finally make an impression on a rival and could revitalise a team in desperate need of points. For Juventus, this game can really solidify what many believe to be a strong challenge for the championship. The pathological rivalry that Massimo Moratti speaks about will surely provide sufficient entertainment regardless of the outcome of this latest instalment.

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