It wouldn’t be a real Derby d’Italia if accusations of match-fixing weren’t widespread among one group of fans. On this occasion, it was Juventus who thought that the authorities were working against them since every major decision seemed to favour Inter Milan. Lautaro Martinez avoided a second yellow card, Denzel Dumfries was given an easy penalty, and Alessandro Bastoni clearly fouled Denis Zakaria inside the area, right?!
Nonetheless, while the defeat was painful and Irrati’s performance made Juventini look bad, the Bianconeri showed a lot of character. Here are three takeaways from the Derby d’Italia.
1) Juve’s work without possession
Without the ball, Juventus was outstanding, particularly in the first half. The first 15-20 minutes of the game featured some of the most daring and entertaining football we’ve seen from Juventus this season. Their ferocity was unrivalled. Inter, who are so skilled in the build-up, was absolutely baffled by a suffocating Bianconeri push. Allegri attempted to engage the visitors high, frequently in a man-oriented manner, and they rarely dropped into their typical 4-4-2 mid-block.The visitors simply couldn’t keep up as every successful Bianconeri action was met with a cacophony of utter raucousness. The enthusiasm from the crowd spilt onto the pitch as Juve delivered their most consistent pressing display of the season.
2)RabiotAdrien Rabiot, on his 27th birthday, was a surprise inclusion in Sunday’s starting XI, with Denis Zakaria back in action.
The Frenchman is a player who few have grown to like in Turin, but there’s no denying that he’s endowed with some helpful characteristics, which he put to great use in this one, producing what some may say was his best performance in Bianconeri colours. Rabiot excelled with Rodrigo Bentancur in Andrea Pirlo’s double pivot at the conclusion of last season, but he’s taken on a more advanced role under Allegri this season. When Juventus has the ball, he generally operates in the left half-space before transitioning into a wide midfield position. On this occasion, though, he teamed up with Manuel Locatelli, then Zakaria, in a double pivot. The birthday boy was crucial in Juve’s dazzling showing, particularly in the early exchanges.
The big midfielder, who seldom utilize his bulk to his advantage, physically overpowered the diminutive but sprightly Barella on at least three occasions to properly dispossess the Italian. While Zakaria moved forward, the Frenchman sat deeper to play a more metronomic position, yet it was he who completed the most dribbles in the Juve ranks (three) as well as the best pass completion (95.5%).
3)No more Scudetto dream“The benefit from today’s setback is that you will stop claiming ‘Juventus can win the Scudetto,’” Allegri stated after the game. The Bianconeri’s 16-game undefeated run in Serie A had the media speculating about a late Scudetto push from the recent Calcio subjugators, but defeat to Inter has all but ruined their weak aspirations. In the end, Juventus’ historically terrible start to the season left them with much too much to accomplish. To have a chance of chasing Milan and Napoli, they needed a near-perfect ending. Meanwhile, Inter’s valiant victory has catapulted them back into contention.
Juve will finish the season with a winless record against the top four, but their performance on Sunday will give them a lot of confidence coming into the last few games of the domestic season. This was the most aggressive and proactive performance by Juventus this season, and they crushed Inter on xG. (where it truly matters). Except for Hakan Calhanoglu’s penalty, the visitors could only generate 0.29 expected goals compared to Juve’s 1.9 — their highest xG haul against Serie A’s top-five this season.Following Sunday’s defeat, Juventus will almost certainly finish the Serie A season on a high note. There’s no title, but there is a comfortable top-four finish.