2. Dusan Vlahovic vs ?
While Inter have been handed a boost with Brozovic, stalwart centre-half Stefan de Vrij is unlikely to start. That leaves Inzaghi with a problem and a predicament.
In the Dutchman’s place, either Danilo D’Ambrosio or Andrea Ranocchia will get the nod. If it’s the latter, Inzaghi’s trusting the veteran’s height and savvy against Juve’s Vlahovic, but should D’Ambrosio get the call, he’ll play on the right of a three with Milan Skriniar shifting infield.
I suspect Inzaghi will opt for D’Ambrosio and place his faith in the excellent Skriniar to keep Vlahovic quiet. The Slovakian can match the Serb physically and is a pesky man-marker. However, he can be beaten in the air. Skriniar’s 58% aerial duel success rate in Serie A this season is the worst among Inter’s usual three starting centre-halves.
Sunday’s bout is a litmus test for Vlahovic against a borderline elite defender. If Juve are going to be pragmatic by attempting to contain the visitors before hitting them on the counter, they desperately need Vlahovic to offer them some respite. His hold-up play is excellent, but Skriniar, who excels at dispossessing opponents with the utmost subtlety, will use all of his nous to subdue and compromise the 22-year-old hitman.
This is a key battle not only in Juve’s attacking third, but in the home side’s build-up phase as well. It’s a massive game for Vlahovic, who needs to step up, by Skriniar, presuming he starts in the middle of the three, won’t make it easy.
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