WE'VE sealed another stellar signing for the season with Serie A don Paolo Bandini bringing his expertise to the site thanks to our partner Unibet.
Paolo is an Anglo-Italian sportswriter who pens a superb weekly Serie A column for the Guardian and his other credits include ESPN, the BBC and TalkSport as well as making regular appearances on the Football Weekly podcast.
He's a Trevi Fountain of knowledge and we're delighted to have him on board. Here he previews the big Saturday showdown.
Juventus v Inter (Sat 7.45pm)
It was Juventus’s victory away to Napoli last weekend that paved the way for Inter to go top of Serie A. But now the Nerazzurri must defend that position against the reigning champs themselves. For the first time in a long time, the Derby d’Italia feels like a showdown between genuine title rivals.
Juventus, as usual, are the favourites. They have not lost at home to Inter since 2012, and Massimiliano Allegri has a knack for getting the big games right. His decision to flood centre of the park against Napoli was well-judged, denying the Partenopei the space to build from deep as they typically would. The Bianconeri have now kept four consecutive clean sheets – and they faced Barcelona in that stretch, too.
A different gameplan might be required against Inter, however. Luciano Spalletti’s team are most dangerous down the flanks, with Ivan Perisic and Antonio Candreva each adept at picking out Mauro Icardi or cutting inside to go it alone. On paper, at least, the matchup does not look ideal for Juventus, whose greatest defensive questions are at full-back.
Mattia De Sciglio is expected to start just his third league game this season on the right of defence, while Kwadwo Asamoah – impressive against Napoli – will likely continue in place of an out-of-form Alex Sandro on the opposite side. Giorgio Chiellini and Mehdi Benatia have been excellent lately in the centre, but might they be affected by the expected absence of Gigi Buffon behind them?
Wojciech Szczesny is an able keeper who has played with them several times already, but it is still a leap to suggest that he commands his area as confidently as the world’s greatest ever No.1. Inter, without European football to worry about, have had a full week to prepare for this fixture. I would not underestimate the value of fresh legs and clear heads.
- Juventus 2, Inter 2 (14-1, Unibet)
- Icardi to score first (6-1, Unibet)
- Inter double chance (117-100, Unibet)
Anglo-Italian Paolo Bandini writes about Italian football for the Guardian and his tips appear here thanks to our football partner at MrFixitsTips, Unibet. They're making a big splash in the UK betting scene and if you join them today you can claim up to £30 in Welcome Bonuses when you deposit and place your first bet.