Matri on the rise as Juventus face Inter in the Derby d’Italia

Netting the winner in Tuesday’s victory over Fiorentina, Juventus striker Alessandro Matri is beginning to find his feet for the season with a string of fine performances. Scoring a commendable four goals in five starts, the Bianconeri forward is making an impression on Juve and calcio fans alike – recently earning comparisons to ex-Juventus star David Trezeguet. His biggest test yet comes against Inter on Saturday in the Derby d’Italia.

Matri was signed on loan from Calgiari in January as a direct replacement for the also-on-loan but injured Fabio Quagliarella. With Quagliarella out for the rest of the season, Matri capitalised on the opportunity and earned a regular spot leading the Juve front-line – scoring a total of nine goals in 16 appearances. Sporting director Beppe Marotta decided to sign both forwards on full-time contracts during the summer transfer window, splashing out a lavish £23m between the two. Matri has so far been winning the battle of teamsheet selection, with Antonio Conte telling Quagliarella this week to improve in training if he wants to be considered for selection. The choice seems to be paying off for the new Bianconeri boss, finding his team amongst the frontrunners for the Scudetto already.

What Matri brings to Conte’s game-plan is great positional awareness leading the front line, as well as a ruthless ability to find the back of the net. He gave Fiorentina problems throughout the midweek game, threatening to score on more than one occasion and was lethal in the Genoa match three days before. He may not possess the pace of a Milos Krasic or the creativity of an Alessandro Del Piero but he makes up for that with goals – much like David Trezeguet. Earlier in the season he seemed to struggle when playing as the lone forward in a 4-3-3 system but Conte has started to find success pairing him with Montenegrin forward Mirko Vucinic.

The four goals Matri has scored so far have been vital to the Bianconeri’s campaign, with all of them helping the team pick up points. He bagged the only goal against Siena in a 1-0 victory, scored an important brace against Genoa to help earn a 2-2 draw as well as finding the winning goal for the Old Lady in their 2-1 win in Florence. The ex-Cagliari man’s record this season stands at a goal every 108 minutes, which is close to a goal per game.

On Sunday, Matri will return to the home of the club he played his very first professional game for – the San Siro in Milan. However, Juventus will arrive to take on Inter rather than the Lombard’s first club, Milan. If he keeps up his run of form, Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli will have to start considering the Juventus striker over opposition counterpart Giampaolo Pazzini and other Azzurri strikers. But the striker isn’t letting the recent praise go to his head just yet. Speaking on his comparisons in the press to David Trezeguet, Matri said: “Trezeguet wrote a chapter in the history of this club, whereas I haven’t even picked up a pen yet.”

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