Juventus will head into their upcoming home game against Inter Milan with one thing on their mind – claiming top spot in the Serie A standings.
Inter heads into the match with a two-point lead over Juventus and a victory at the Allianz Stadium would make them overwhelming favourites to win the title.
The best bookmakers for Serie A rate Inter as 4/6 shots to end the campaign on top of the pile, but Juve will be eager to throw a spanner in the works when they meet on November 26.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side are a best-priced 5/1 to win their first title since 2019/20, but those odds will vanish if they record a victory over Inter.
Juventus briefly led the standings during the latest round of matches, with a 2-1 win over Cagliari moving them one point in front of their title rivals.
Inter quickly regained their advantage courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Frosinone, setting up what promises to be an epic encounter at the end of this month.
With AC Milan and Napoli currently struggling for consistency, Inter and Juventus have been handed a useful advantage at the top of Serie A.
Milan are eight points adrift of their city rivals in third place, while Napoli are a further two points behind in fourth position.
Atalanta and Fiorentina are next in the standings, but neither team has been producing the type of performance that suggests they will mount a title challenge.
By contrast, Inter and Juventus have been in excellent form for most of the campaign, with each side losing just one of their opening 12 league matches this term.
Intriguingly, both those defeats were dished out by Sassuolo towards the end of September – a team that has since failed to win another game in Serie A.
Juventus have been in excellent nick since their solitary defeat, winning six and drawing one of their subsequent seven outings. They have conceded just one goal during that run.
Inter have rattled off six straight victories since losing at home to Sassuolo, with only Bologna and Atalanta breaching their defence in those matches.
Simone Inzaghi’s side has also had the Champions League group stage to contend with, although they have booked their place in the last 16 with two games to spare.
Juve will believe that Inter’s participation in Europe could give them an edge, particularly if their title rivals make another deep run in the competition.
The Turin outfit has been banned from UEFA’s club tournaments this year, leaving them with a free run to concentrate fully on their Serie A title bid.
Picking a winner of the upcoming clash between Juventus and Inter is no easy task, with recent form suggesting there will be little to choose between them at the Allianz Stadium.
Both teams are strong at the back and are unlikely to give too much away in a game neither of them will want to lose.
Juve are perhaps a little more defensively-minded – a point evidenced by a tally of just eight goals scored in their last seven matches.
Inter are more prolific in front of goal, although it will be interesting to see if they take an attacking approach given what is at stake.
Juventus had the upper hand over Inter last term, recording a 2-0 home victory in December before adding a 1-0 win at the San Siro in March.
Inter gained a modicum of revenge later in the season, claiming a 2-1 aggregate victory in the Coppa Italia semi-finals. They went on to win the trophy by beating Fiorentina.
While both teams would love to take three points from their latest encounter, a draw would be a satisfactory result for each side.
Juve have a reasonably favourable schedule in December, with home games against Napoli and Roma undoubtedly the toughest tests they face.
However, it is not unthinkable to imagine they could collect 15 points from their five league games during the month, which would send them into 2024 in a buoyant mood.
By contrast, Inter’s schedule is tougher on paper, with visits to Napoli and Lazio headlining what could be a troublesome month.
If Juventus can secure a victory over their title rivals, it would put them in pole position to mount a sustained challenge for the Serie A title.
Although there are still plenty of games remaining, Juve can ill-afford to hand Inter a five-point advantage at this stage of the season.
With that in mind, backing the teams to grind their way to a hard-fought draw at odds of 5/2 may well be the way to play this one.