Juventus’ newfound strength will be put to the test on Sunday when they face Serie A champions Inter Milan at San Siro in the “Italian Derby”, traditionally the biggest domestic game of the season.
Inter dethroned their fierce rivals Juve last season, prompting the ‘old lady’ of Italian football to bring Massimiliano Allegri back as manager in hopes of returning to the top after a disappointing campaign under Andrea Pirlo.
After a miserable start to the season that began Cristiano Ronaldo’s sudden departure, Juventus are at their cynical best, recording a string of results that have moved them one point from Champions League spots and three from the third place. Inter.
Wednesday’s 1-0 win at Zenit St. Petersburg, which brought Juve closer to the knockout stages of the Champions League, was their fourth straight win from a single goal in all competitions, a streak started with their shock defeat against European champions Chelsea last. month.
However, despite a six-game winning streak, the performances were more fierce than exciting, with Allegri and match winner Dejan Kulusevski calling their own performance in Russia “very poor”.
Now Juve have possibly their toughest game of the season yet at San Siro against tenant Inter, who relaunched their own Champions League campaign with an impressive 3-1 win over the surprise package. Cherif Tiraspol Tuesday.
This is the first real test of their credentials because although they were beaten by league leaders Napoli – which they are still 10 points behind – at the start of last month a host of players were missing who are late return from international duty.
This time around they are hoping for the return of Paulo Dybala, who provides much of Juve’s offensive spark and who Allegri said on Tuesday could play a role at Inter after nearly a month of absence due to from a thigh injury.
Simone Inzaghi, meanwhile, has an almost complete squad and will stick with a top offense who has scored 23 goals in eight games.
An exceptional Sunday begins with Roma welcoming Napoli, Jose Mourinho’s side looking to bounce back from their loss to Juve last weekend.
Napoli will defend their perfect record of eight wins in as many games at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, aiming for another victory that would give them a club-winning streak since the start of a season.
Meanwhile, on Saturday night, runner-up AC Milan travel to Bologna after suffering a loss in Porto, leaving their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.
Player to watch: Victor Osimhen
Nigerian striker Osimhen has been in great shape this season, scoring five times in his seven Serie A appearances and scoring the only one but at the end of last weekend’s 1-0 home win over frenzied Turin its 100% record.
The 22-year-old is at his best after battling injuries last season and will be key to Napoli’s chances at Rome, who need a win over direct rivals after painful losses to Lazio and Juve these last weeks.
10 – The record number of consecutive wins at the start of the season, achieved by Roma in 2013/14.
5 – Juve’s clean sheets so far this season in all competitions, with four to come in their last four games.