Inter looking to end Juve run
A look ahead to the weekend's action in the Italian Serie A, including the first Derby d'Italia of the season.
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The first Derby d'Italia of the Serie A season has more at stake than usual as second-placed Inter Milan bid to end Juventus' incredible unbeaten run on Saturday night.
A simple draw against Andrea Stramaccioni's Nerazzurri would see the reigning champions go an astonishing 50 league games without defeat, but Juve's opponents arrive in ominous form.
An eighth consecutive win in all competitions saw Inter go second in the league table this week, with the Beneamata now sitting just four points shy of Antonio Conte's Juve, who had Paul Pogba to thank as his last-gasp goal downed Bologna.
But 36-year-old Stramaccioni believes all three points will be there for the taking at a sold-out Juventus Stadium.
Following victory over Sampdoria, he told the Gazzetta dello Sport: "We need to work game to game and that's the right mentality to have.
"But we're starting to feel more and more prepared for each game that comes along - and Saturday is just another game.
"Maybe I'm lucky that it's in my character, but I will be able to stay totally cool.
"We always set out to win, because we are Inter, but we do realise we are playing against the champions of Italy."
Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli is a staunch admirer of Inter's young tactician, but insists the destiny of the Scudetto will not be determined on Saturday night, no matter what happens.
"It won't be decisive, it's too early, but the Nerazzurri will challenge for the Scudetto," he told Gazzetta.it
"I like Stramaccioni because he's brought new ideas to the game. Inter are a great team.
"Even if they've had to overhaul their playing squad this year, there are still a few champions remaining from their treble-winning season.
"They've brought in some great new players, so obviously they have a very competitive squad and that shows.
"We know what we're capable of but we'll keep our feet on the ground."
Troubled AC Milan will hope to climb into the top half of the table with victory over Chievo in Saturday's early game.
Stephan El Shaarawy proved the hero once again as his late goal salvaged a point at plucky Palermo.
But Rossoneri head coach Massimiliano Allegri wants Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato, who has returned from injury, to lighten the young Italy international's workload.
He told Gazzetta.it: "He needs to regain his confidence after being out for so long.
"He still needs to improve and I've tasked him with doing so."
Sunday's early game sees Pescara boss Giovanni Stroppa bid to keep his job with a positive result against resurgent Parma.
"I'm sorry to have returned home with no points, but we must roll up our sleeves," the Delfini boss said after a 2-0 loss at Chievo.
Napoli will want to get back on track against Torino after slipping to third with defeat at Atalanta, who visit injury-plagued Sampdoria.
Zdenek Zeman's Roma have the leakiest defence in the league - shipping 19 goals in 10 games - and the veteran Czech will hope to make amends when struggling Palermo visit the Eternal City.
Cagliari are plotting an unlikely fifth league win on their trip to Fiorentina, with Bologna just hoping to escape the bottom three with a result against Udinese.
Lazio are in action at Catania while basement boys Siena scheme for a third win of the season against Genoa.