Juventus host Serie A leaders Inter Milan in the Derby d’Italia on Saturday evening.
The reigning champions will hope to follow up last week’s victory at second-placed Napoli by downing Inter to reclaim top spot.
Here, Press Association Sport identifies five talking points before the clash at Allianz Stadium.
On Sunday, Inter hammered Chievo 5-0 to occupy first place at the end of a round of fixtures for the first time since January 2016. Under new head coach Luciano Spalletti they are still unbeaten in the league, despite twice rescuing nervy draws against Bologna and Torino. Saturday’s away game is the biggest test of their resolve yet – survive the trip to Turin and they really are title contenders.
Old Lady rejuvenated
Following six Scudetto wins on the spin the wheels appeared to be coming off for Juve as defeats to Lazio and Sampdoria allowed Inter and Napoli to take control. Results in the Champions League were not great either, but the Bianconeri are through. Massimiliano Allegri has now addressed several failings and Juve beat Chievo 3-0 before keeping another clean sheet as they clinched a vital victory at Napoli last week. Giving Inter the same treatment would confirm their re-entry to the title race.
Icardi in fine form
While Juve have spread the goals around the team this term, with Paulo Dybala top-scoring with 12, Inter are being propelled by their own Argentinian hitman, Mauro Icardi. The captain bagged braces against Atalanta and Cagliari before making it five goals from four games with an effort against Chievo. Icardi loves scoring against Juve, too, notching against them at San Siro last season and in both meetings during the 2014-15 campaign.
Big test for Szczesny
Bianconeri boss Allegri expects his veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, 39, to miss the Derby d’Italia following his absence from the midweek win at Olympiacos due to a calf strain. Former Arsenal stopper Wojciech Szczesny was brought to Turin as Buffon’s long-term successor but has been inconsistent when called to deputise for the Italian great. He shipped three goals in the loss at Samp and conceded against minnows SPAL and Benevento, too. The Pole will hope to pass this audition.
Napoli lying in wait
A draw at Allianz Stadium would not only frustrate the mutual ambitions of Juve and Inter but it would open the door to Napoli, who are looking for a confidence boost after losing to the Bianconeri and then Feyenoord in the Champions League on Wednesday. Should the spoils be shared in Turin, Maurizio Sarri’s men can take advantage and go top by beating Fiorentina on Sunday.
Source: By James Cann