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SE SALTELLI, MUORE BALOTELLI: It's Derby Time!

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It's derby time.

I've been looking forward to this match all week.....yet at the same time, I have been dreading it. On one hand, it is the Derby d'Italia; the battle against our most despised enemies, the South American evil known as Interazionale Milano FC. Twice a year, all that bitterness and hatred we feel for Inter, that team that schemed to send us to Serie B, all of it gets released in 90 minutes. Of course, few Juventini can look at the upcoming match and feel secure about the result, given our recent form compared to Inter's, the Nerazzurri should be confident about this game. But win, draw, or lose....our honor is on the line. Full preview of Serie A's biggest grudge match after the jump.

juventus

CONNECTIONS:
The Portuguese Relationship- Tiago was one of Jose's big signings at Chelsea, and then shipped him out a year later to Lyon after being replaced by Essien in midfield. He had a great first season under Mourinho...the second, not so much.
ItalInter- In recent years, ItalFabio both wore Nerazzurro, both with relatively unsatisfying results. Cannavaro had a relatively successful first stint at Juve, before betraying the squad. Grosso decided he was in the mood for some souffle, and decided to meet up with Tiago in France.
The Zingaro- Shockingly, he betrayed Inter in the summer after some epic waffling that would make John Kerry blush. Raise your hands, who saw that coming? Everyone? Yeah.

RECENT ENCOUNTERS: It's the Derby d'Italia, it's always memorable. In the last post, you expressed your favorite memories. Last season in Turin, we played a decent game, conceding to a controversial Balotelli goal, before we equalizing in stoppage time with a Grygera header off a corner. The game was notable for Tiago playing well, then flattening Balotelli, twice, to earn a red card and the respect of millions of tifosi. The season before that also finished 1-1, after Julio Cruz opened the scoring, Camoranesi equalized and made a phone symbol, mocking Inter's role in spying during Calciopoli.

ITALY SOCCER CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Like kids at Christmas time...

RECENT FORM:
Juventus- Shit- (LLWWW)- We got thumped this week. We were completely outplayed in France, and while we didn't play that poorly in Sardinia, Juve still fell 2-0 to excellent Nene and Matri goals.
Inter- Good- (WLWDW)- Alright, so they are garbage in the Champion's League, but what's new? Besides, this isn't the Champion's League. They were a bit lucky to beat Fiorentina last week (did you see that Gila chance...amazing!) though otherwise, have generally rolled through Serie A.

FORMATIONS AND LINEUPS
Juventus: Everyone has been called up except for Salihamidzic and Iaquinta, though Tiago, Chiellini, Melo, Grosso, and Trezeguet are recently recovered and may not all play a part, though Chiellini will almost certainly play. Why? Because he's a beast. In defense, assuming Grosso manages to fully recover, except Caceres-Chiellini-Cannavaro-Grosso, which seems to be our starting defense these days.

Midfield and strikeforce is a conundrum, and it all depends on whether Ferrara sticks with the 4-2-3-1. We started with the 4-3-1-2, but we had issues scoring, which came with the 4-2-3-1. The problem, of course, was it was a leakier formation and when the goals dried up...we lost. Another reason for the switch to the 4-2-3-1 was the fact that our center-midfielders: Sissoko, Melo, Tiago, Marchisio, each were suffering injuries that would take them out. Will he switch the formation to try and maintain the midfield? It would provide a bit more stability, though obviously would create less chances. I'm predicting a return to the 4-3-1-2, with our CMs and ADP back.

Predicted lineup- (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Caceres, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Grosso; Marchisio, Melo, Sissoko; Diego; Del Piero, TREZEGUET

Yes. I hope Trez gets the nod, however fit he is, over Amauri. Do I expect it? Probably not.

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Inter- Linesman said Maicon told him "F*** you." Maicon says he said "Go away." Maicon is suspended. Santon, Quaresma, and Sneidjer miss out due to injury. Check out the Inter Offside for more detailed information. The defense is easy to predict, Zanetti-Lucio-Samuel-Chivu, with, without Maicon, is their starting defense. Midfield will likely be Motta, Cambiasso, Muntari, and Stankovic taking Sneidjer's place at trequartista. Their strikeforce is the scary part- Milito and Eto'o are world class strikers.

Predicted lineup- (4-3-1-2): Julio Cesar; Zanetti, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu; Motta, Cambiasso, Muntari; Stankovic; Milito, Eto'o

That's a pretty good lineup.

KEY PLAYER TO WATCH
David Trezeguet- Quando gioca, sempre segna Trezegol! Amauri sucks. Trez does not.
Diego Milito- We were linked with him earlier, but he's Argentine, so naturally he would go to Inter. But he's a class striker.

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PREVIEWS, LIVEBLOGS AND PREDICTIONS:
Football Italia
Football Italiano
Goal.com
Inter Offside
Eurosport Liveblog
Juventus.com

It's gonna be a tough battle, and a very tactical one. I give Inter the edge coming into this match, but we won't capitulate like Milan. Of course I want us to win...but I'm expecting, like the last two years in Turin, a 1-1 draw. Make no mistake about it, ragazzi, a loss here will all but end Scudetto hopes for us, barring an epic Inter collapse. And with Bayern Munich on the horizon, this week is a crucial one. Let's hope, regardless of the result, that as Ferrara requested, we have 11 Nedved's on the pitch. FORZAAAAAAAAAA JUVEEEEEEE!!