This match looks set to be the battle for the Scudetto, the rivalry that will define the race for the title in Italy for the rest of the season. Juventus v Inter, the Derby d’Italia, set to unfold this evening (19:45 UK Time) in Turin. Recently, Juventus beat Bologna at home and stayed on top of the league, four points ahead of the Nerazzurri, who themselves beat Sampdoria at the San Siro, with a typical “Jose Mourinho formula” in tactical terms.

Juventus – Style of play and expected line-up

With Antonio Conte at the helm, Juventus have always played with a three-man backline. In front of Gianluigi Buffon, there is usually Leonardo Bonucci on the right, Andrea Barzagli in the centre and Giorgio Chiellini on the left. These were big players in last year’s title win and also performed well at Euro 2012 for Italy. Barzagli is especially important as the leader of the defensive line, cutting a calm and tough figure, and he is essential for Juventus.

In midfield, the Bianconeri boast Andrea Pirlo as their regista (playmaker). Juventus have reason to thank AC Milan, who released Piro on a free transfer two years ago. He usually starts from a deep position, just in front of the defence, but with complete freedom to move up the pitch and provide well-timed passes to the attackers. Piro is an intelligent player and one of the candidates to win the 2012 Ballon d’Or. The playmaker has two players to protect him in the middle of the park, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio. The former, a Chilean international, is aggressive and combative and likes to take the role of attacking the opposition’s playmaker, to try to win back possession. Marchisio meanwhile is more technical and deadly in front of goal, with his raids forward proving effective.

In a 3-5-2 system, the roles of the right and left backs are essential and Juventus usually hand these to Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah or Paolo De Ceglie. These players must charge up and down the flanks.

Up front, Juventus have many options. Against Inter, Conte will probably play with Sebastian Giovinco as the link between midfield and attack, with Mirko Vucinic as the most forward striker.

Inter – Style of play and expected line-up

When the young Andrea Stramaccioni was appointed Inter manager at the end of last season, fans were dubious about his capacity to take control of a team as complicated as the Nerazzurri. However, already the coach born in Rome has shown his skills and now Inter are serious contenders for the Scudetto.

In the match against Juventus, Stramaccioni will deploy a back three, in a 3-5-2 system, very similar to the opposition’s formation.

In front of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, Inter play Andrea Ranocchia, Walter Samuel and the Brazilian Juan Jesus as pure defenders. In front of the trio sits a midfield of four or five men, depending on the match and the opponents. Against Juventus, Stramaccioni will most certainly field a very aggressive and combative formation on the pitch. Esteban Cambiasso, who last year was out of sorts, this season looks the key man in midfield, and has sometimes played also at the centre of the defensive line. Beside him are, long term captain Javier Zanetti and Walter Gargano, with Yuto Nagatomo on the left. But there could be space too for Colombian international Fredy Guarin, who is now more confident in Stramaccioni's formation.

The young manager, in absence of trequartistas like Wesley Snejider and Philippe Coutinho, wants to field three attackers, such as Antonio Cassano (who also likes the trequartista role), Rodrigo Palacio and Diego Milito. On Wednesday, in the home match against Sampdoria, Inter played with a 4-3-3, and it would not be a huge surprise if Stramaccioni opts for a change of formation just before the match.

Key battles

Esteban Cambiasso and Walter Gargano vs Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio

The two Nerazzurri players will try to limit the time Pirlo enjoys in the midfield zone. Cambiasso and Gargano will press and try to control the midfield area, with the assistance of Zanetti and Guarin. Inter’s midfield need to restrict the opportunities for Pirlo and Marchisio to dictate the game, while at the same time moving the ball quickly when they have it, to provide chances for Cassano, Milito and Palacio.

Andrea Barzagli vs Rodrigo Palacio

Like Mourinho’s Inter, Stramaccioni’s side are deadly on the counter attack. This was clear to see in midweek against Sampdoria when in just a few seconds the ball went from Cambiasso to Cassano and then rapidly to Palacio, who shot at goal. Usually Juventus play with a high defensive line when attacking and the Bianconeri will need to recover quickly from counter attacks launched. Palacio could be a key player for this, as a superb link between midfield and attack.

Stephan Lichsteiner vs Juto Nagatomo

Lichtsteiner has been a standout performer this season, good defensively, he also plays a key role when Juventus are attacking. Usually, Lichtsteiner is played in by Pirlo, with his superb vision and the Swiss rampages down the right to put crosses in for the attackers. Nagatomo will have a big job on his hands trying to stop him and will need the assistance of Cambiasso, Guarin and Juan Jesus.

Tactical Prediction

Juventus have won all their games at home in Serie A this season and Inter all their away matches. Much will depend on how the Nerazzurri are able to limit Juventus in central midfield. If Pirlo has space he can open up Inter to provide chances for Vucinic and Alessandro Matri. Inter will try to launch dangerous counter attacks, but this match may end in a draw. Juventus 1-1 Inter.