2. Keep hold of Nicolò Barella
When discussing a Max Allegri team, the concept of defending comes first. It is now clear to all that the 4-4-2 is the team formation preferred mainly by the five-time Scudetto winner with the Bianconeri. And in terms of personnel, Manuel Locatelli and Rodrigo Bentancur are the two trusted with sealing the central area and moving the ball down the heart of the pitch.
A pattern has become apparent in the recent games, with Locatelli lying deep to dictate the flow of the play and Bentancur working ahead of him as a box-to-box midfielder. While it is fair to say that both players have somewhat cemented their respective positions in Allegri’s starting XI, there will be awaiting a different sort of challenge for the two in Sunday’s Derby d’Italia.
Everything will be reliant upon whether they can eliminate Nicolò Barella’s impact on the game from midfield. Named as the best midfielder in Serie A last season, Barella is now mentioned among the best midfielders in the world. His energy is relentless.
For Roberto Mancini’s Euro-winning Italian side, Barella was a fundamental cog in the midfield, making forward runs in an attempt to penetrate the opposing defence. After performing well in Serie A last season and in the summer’s European Championship with Italy, Barella’s quest for stardom has only escalated in the new domestic campaign, logging one goal and five assists from eight matches for Inter thus far.
Keeping Nicolo Barella under control reduces Inter’s chances going forward. The 24-year-old’s tendency to drift into the right-wing channel has posed several dilemmas for opposition defences. Allegri might put a marker on Barella and use someone to track down the forward runs of the Inter superstar. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you do it, but for Juventus to thrive on Sunday, Barella must be stopped.