The smooth game that followed the crushing Champions League exit helped Juventus land successfully and prevented pessimism from taking over. They did just enough to cringe at a humble but combative opponent, but the recipe for disaster was there.

the Bianconeri took care of business on the last few match days, but the Scudetto contenders aren’t backing down, so it remains a pipe dream. As suspected, having three teams vying for it works against them. Inter slowed down, but Naples and especially Milan did not. As for the Champions League race, the threat of an Atalanta leak is ever-present. Yet the five-point cushion should The Dea prevail in their makeup game, might be comfortable enough to stay relatively comfortable. The calendar is not very difficult and the Old Lady has shown remarkable consistency at the national level. Moreover, the main rivals seem very focused on the Europa League, which is commendable.

The Paulo Dybala controversy erupted at the break after having bubbled for a long time. The breakup seemed inevitable given all the rumors and bad blood that was rising on either side. It’s a shame to lose a top player for nothing. Both sides have strengths in their favor, management arguably more than the player. Joya has been unreliable for the past two seasons. He was productive when he was healthy, but availability is also a skill. The team needed him to be the main point of support after Cristiano Ronaldo’s abrupt departure, and he wasn’t. There would have been no doubting the high salaries had he been up to the task.

Given the sums circulating these days, any monetary request seems legitimate, however. His entourage will eventually succeed and find someone who will fill him. However, there is good logic behind a relatively low or short proposal. The current front office is only partly at fault, even if it certainly did not calm the situation with dubious remarks. But when this kind of situation reaches its final months, a positive resolution is unlikely. The case should have been nipped in the bud a few years ago. It seems that the Bianconeri had already started to lose faith in him some time ago as they dangled him in the transfer market.

Dybala joining Inter or another Serie A team would be part of the game. It wouldn’t take away the disappointment, considering he has always shown a major attachment to the Old Lady and will not be missed. opportunities for transfer abroad. He is free to do what he wants, but his choice will be interesting and revealing.

The timing was the worst part of the whole ordeal. There’s still a good chunk of the campaign and a lot in play. Tearing the band aid off may bring clarity and relief, but things could easily have been handled differently, and there was no need to make it official now. This would have saved the awkwardness in the locker room and the technical staff.

The infirmary emptied during the break, which is good news but also a double-edged sword, as there is a greater chance of getting the selection wrong. Massimiliano Allegri says Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro and Paulo Dybala will start, and we’ll see if that holds true. Denis Zakaria also has a good chance, as Arthur came home late. The 4-2-3-1 would return if Federico Bernardeschi or Alvaro Morata got the better of Adrien Rabiot. An offensive all-in would send quite a message.

Expected composition

Juventus (4-4-2): Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Zakaria, Locatelli, Rabiot; Dybala, Vlahovic.

Absent: Chiesa (ACL tear)McKennie (foot fracture), Kaio Jorge (patellar tendon tear)

No one would be too surprised if Inter were in this position after a relatively inconsistent campaign considering all the human capital they lost last summer. Instead, it comes after they showed dominance over the winter and then fell into a protracted slump that has yet to end and could cost them the title. There’s still time, but they’re currently in the worst shape among the top three teams in the standings.

The fact that Juventus can actually take the leap Nerazzurri, at least on paper is confusing. Multiple reasons have slowed them down over the past two months, where they have won just one out of seven Serie A games, essentially after an eight-game winning streak.

The last-minute loss to Milan in the Derby probably shook their self-esteem as they were on the verge of juggernaut status ahead of time. The two hard-fought Champions League clashes against Liverpool have taken their toll. They had a few tougher matches, for example on the Napoli turf, where they equalized despite a lackluster outing, or against Sassuolo at home, who are apparently a Titan against top-tier clubs. The stumbles against Genoa, Turin and Fiorentina, all draws, were more difficult to digest.

Marcelo Brozovic was absent in the last two, which makes all the difference. They don’t have another midfielder who can pull the strings and protect the defense so smartly. They tend to sound like a series of soloists with no real conductor when he’s not around. They have a huge range of weapons, but very few of their players actually create for others. Hakan Calhanoglu is the leader in this department, but mostly thanks to his sharp set pieces. Nicolò Barella was crushed to the ground with heavy minutes and his performance nosedived.

Their offense has mostly spat over the recent run of disappointing results. Lautaro Martinez may look like a star on his best day, but he’s not the most consistent goalscorer yet. He doesn’t contribute much when he’s not at the net. Edin Dzeko has had a renaissance on that front, but he’s not a sniper who can score 20/25 goals a season, nor is he super clinical. Alexis Sanchez has made some great outings, but he struggles to trust the entry and exit. Joaquin Correa has been out mostly through injury and is yet to return to his best form. His spark would surely benefit.

The defense hasn’t been a major issue, but it hasn’t been as watertight as it was at the peak of its power. Samir Handanovic’s issues are well documented at this stage, although major mistakes have been less frequent than at the start. While Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni have been solid, Stefan De Vrij has suffered multiple unusual lapses.

There have been no tactical developments since the two sides last faced each other in the tough Supercoppa in January. And that may be the Achilles heel of Simone Inzaghi, who is more of a peacetime CEO. He is slow to make adjustments when his plans become pear-shaped and very methodical. Denzel Dumfries continued his ascent and is now a real threat in the final third. They signed Robin Gosens in the last window, and it’ll be a scary combo once he gets going, but he didn’t knock down steady Ivan Perisic after two serious injuries.

Given Allegri’s style, and Inzaghi not far off in terms of pragmatism, it’s likely to be a stalemate, although recent evidence suggests Inter can be beaten with an aggressive approach and pinning them in their half . It will probably be a game of thumbs and, if counter-attacks become the main weapon, the Nerazzurri know this facet of the game better.

Brozovic and De Vrij are both expected to be available following calf issues but it looks like the midfielder has better starting chances than the defender. Danilo D’Ambrosio or Andrea Ranocchia would get the nod if that were the case. Matteo Darmian and Dumfries are neck and neck to play on the right flank.

Expected composition

Inter (3-5-2): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Lautaro Martinez, Dzeko.