MILAN (AP) It’s no secret, Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi has played some outstanding football against Juventus.
Icardi has scored six goals in five matches against Juventus, making him the one to watch on Sunday in the Derby d’Italia.
”I don’t know if they’re scared of me in Turin,” said the 22-year-old Icardi, who has scored in every official match he has played against Juventus – both for Inter and Sampdoria. ”But certainly this is a special match, five games and six goals is not a joke.
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”I started as a kid and I never stopped. Why should I do so now?”
Icardi, who is also Inter’s captain, scored 22 goals last season to finish at the top of the Serie A list along with Luca Toni.
Inter started the season with five straight wins but then lost to Fiorentina 4-1 and drew 1-1 at Sampdoria. A win on Sunday would put Inter 11 points clear of four-time defending champion Juventus.
”No one in Italy expected such a start for Juventus,” Icardi said. ”They changed the spine of their team, (Andrea) Pirlo, (Carlos) Tevez and (Arturo) Vidal. But it’s always best to weight things up at the end.”
Serie A leader Fiorentina will visit Napoli, and Lazio, which is three points behind Fiorentina and one below Inter, travels to Sassuolo.
Also Sunday, it’s: Bologna vs. Palermo; Atalanta vs. Carpi; Frosinone vs. Sampdoria; Genoa vs. Chievo Verona; and Hellas Verona vs. Udinese. On Saturday, Roma hosts Empoli and AC Milan visits Torino.
Here are some things to know about this weekend’s Italian league matches:
Juventus is slowly climbing up the Serie A table.
There has been a noticeable difference since the return of Sami Khedira from injury, with Juventus winning both the matches in which the German has played. However, Inter has twice as many points as Juventus.
”The match against Inter is definitely fundamental, especially for us as we have to try to get a result,” Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli said. ”At the same time we’re still at the beginning, it’s still early days, but an eight-point advantage for Inter is big enough and if they get a result it would be a problem for us.”
Inter hasn’t beaten Juventus at San Siro since Jose Mourinho was in charge.
PIPITA VS. PEPITO
Fiorentina is bubbling with confidence.
The Tuscan team moved into first place for the first time since 1999 with a victory over Inter and then moved two points clear with a 3-0 win over Atalanta. Fiorentina has scored 11 goals in its past three matches in all competitions and will be looking for more offensive output from Giuseppe Rossi.
”Pepito” Rossi scored his first goal since returning from injury in Fiorentina’s 4-0 win over Belenenses and the American-born Italy forward has used the international break to continue his recovery.
Fiorentina also faces a formidable attack as Napoli boasts Gonzalo ”Pipita” Higuain, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon.
Higuain and Insigne have both scored five league goals this season.
In a rare show of unity, hard-core fans from Roma and Lazio are planning to boycott the upcoming derby match.
The fans are disgruntled at new security measures which have split the Stadio Olimpico curve – the ends of the stadium where the ultras sit – and are planning to protest at the Nov. 8 match.
It is not the first time the fans have protested against the measures. Lazio supporters did so in the club’s first home match against Bologna, as did their Roma counterparts in games against Barcelona, Sassuolo and Carpi.