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Derby d’Italia: Juventus v Inter Milan

The Derby d’Italia is a a game drenched in history ands the bitter rivalry between two of Serie A’s greatest clubs continues on Friday night.

Juventus will be out to end hope that Inter have of challenging for the Scudetto this season. The gap between the sides already stands 11 points. A Juve win on Friday would make it an almost insurmountable chasm for Inter.

Inter make this short trip in search of a huge victory, slowing their old enemy’s title charge in the process. Recent results and performances have been largely strong from Luciano Spalletti’s side, but they would certainly erase all doubt with three points at the Juventus Stadium. Locking up a leaky away defense is Inter’s main priority, having conceded six-goals in their last two games on the road, as many as they had surrendered in their previous 12 away from San Siro.

Despite inconsistent performances, the Nerazzurri have a knack of keeping themselves in matches. Their disciplined physical team is complemented by a clinical edge in the final third, epitomized by their predator striker Mauro Icardi.

Inter have no fresh injuries to contend with, but Spalletti does have a couple of important decisions to make with regards to his starting XI. Matias Vecino and Matteo Politano are likely to be restored to the starting line-up after taking a place on the bench against Roma.

Croatian Sime Vrsaljko is available again, but Danilo D’Ambrosio is expected to maintain his place at right-back. The remaining dilemma is the third man in midfield, with doubts over Radja Nainggolan’s fitness, so the options for Spalletti are the technical Borja Valero or the energetic Joao Mario.

Kwadwo Asamoah will return to Turin for the first time since switching the black and white of Juve for the blue and black of Inter. It remains to be seen what kind of reception the six-time Serie A champion will get from the home fans.

As for Juve, Max Allegri’s team are in imperious form and could set another record with a win in this one. A Juve victory would mean they have amassed 43 points from their first 15 league games, matching the tally set by PSG last week for the top five European leagues in the three-point era.

The Bianconeri’s key injury concern ahead of this game is to flying left-back Alex Sandro. The Brazilian sat out last week’s trip to Florence and is in serious doubt of missing this top of the table clash. Joao Cancelo was shifted to left-back in Alex Sandro’s absence with the improving Mattia De Sciglio coming in on the opposite side and may well face his former club.

Emre Can will return to the squad for the first time since earlier October, but Sami Khedira is still working his way back to fitness. There was bad news for veteran defender Andrea Barzagli at the beginning of this week, as he was ruled out until 2019 with a thigh injury.

Form Guide: Juventus (W W W W W) Inter (D W L W W)

Last season: Juventus 0-0 Inter

Stat fact: In the last 13 league matches between Juventus and Inter, the same result has not been repeated in two consecutive games. There have been seven Bianconeri victories, two Nerazzurri wins and four draws. The last three meetings in Turin have been tight affairs with just three goals scored, all by the home side. Inter last hit the net at the Juventus Stadium in 2015.

Juventus (probable): Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Cancelo; Bentancur, Pjanic Matuidi; Ronaldo, Mandzukic, Dybala

Inter (probable): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, De Vrij, Asamoah; Joao Mario, Brozovic, Vecino; Perisic, Icardi, Politano

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