Ahead of the latest rendition of the Derby D’Italia on Serie A Matchday 13, fans knew that one of Juventus or Inter would stake a claim for the title, or the two best sides until now in Serie A would show why they will likely take the Scudetto race to the wire.
For both, instead of being a must-win, it was really a case of must-not lose, which the events at the Allianz Stadium showed, as the game ended 1-1. Had the Nerazzurri won, they would have continued to pull away from AC Milan and taken a five-point lead over Juventus. For the hosts, a victory would have taken them a point ahead of their visitors, which would have tightened things up nicely.
Nonetheless, both teams displayed their qualities and reasonings as to why they are where they are. Juventus’s goal came from their key players combining after Federico Chiesa found Dusan Vlahovic in the box, who finished smartly. Inter’s equaliser was a sweeping move that started with Yann Sommer and was finished by Marcus Thuram finding Lautaro Martinez in the box.
Simone Inzaghi’s game management is exceptional
Playing Inter is never easy, but Simone Inzaghi and his squad’s ability to change a game makes it much harder. Most of the credit goes to his players, which should be the case due to their quality. However, credit also has to be given to the manager because of how versatile he has made this team.
Inzaghi’s side can, and do, switch up so regularly on their opposition. Less than 30 seconds before their equaliser, they were playing slow, patient football, waiting for the hosts to gift them an opening, and when they did not, they reworked the ball and got from A to B quickly.
Their ability to shift into different versions of themselves, in regard to tempo and style, makes them so much harder to read, making them so much harder to beat.
The Scudetto race will go to the wire
Typically, these fixtures are where a season can be and often is decided. However, Matchday 13’s Derby D’Italia made predicting the Scudetto winner much more difficult.
Defensively, the Nerazzurri allowed the Bianconeri little room for anything and vice versa. However, both sides displayed why they would take the race to the wire against strong defensive set-ups, and both managed to score. Neither were due to defensive errors, but rather just the quality of strikers.
While Inter still leading the race, Juventus showed they are more than up for the fight – and likely could go the distance required, should Inter slip up.
Inter and Juventus’ strike partnerships shine
It is not a secret that Juventus and Inter possess quality forwards, but the derby performances displayed it perfectly.
It is not just individual forwards that deserve praise from the two sides, it is the way that they work with one another, Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic for Juventus, Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram for Inter. Both goals showed this – as have the majority of both teams’ goals have all season – with both partnerships combining regularly.
Vlahovic and Martinez knew when to make their run, and then Chiesa and Thuram knew when, and arguably more importantly, how, to release the ball to create the best scoring opportunity.
The idea of these two sides leading the way for much, if not all of the season, was backed up by their victories on Matchday 14. Perhaps fittingly when it comes to style, Inter put three past Napoli, whilst Juventus narrowly beat Monza with a late winner.
With 24 games to go, these two sides could remain very close to one another. The next Derby d’Italia should be in early February, currently listed as February 4. Mark your calendars.