Fierce rivals Inter and AC Milan meet for the first time this season on Sunday with both sides in need of a win.
Inter head into the game on the back of a poor run of form, which has seen them fall off the pace in the battle for Champions League qualification.
Indeed, Walter Mazzarri’s men are winless in their last four league games, a run that dates back to November 9.
Inter will aim to arrest that slide against their greatest foes, who have tasted victory only four times in 16 league games this term.
Massimiliano Allegri’s men sit 10th and can take little confidence from boasting an unbeaten run of five matches in Serie A given that four of those have ended in draws.
Defender Daniele Bonera remains hopeful that Milan can end 2013 on a high by winning their final game before the mid-season break.
“It could mean a Merry Christmas for us giving us a few more points on the table and helping (us) towards 2014 in a calmer frame of mind,” Bonera said.
“It’ll be a tough game on Sunday evening from a technical point of view as Inter remain a strong team even if they haven’t had such great results in the past few matches.
“We’re doing everything we can to prepare the match in the best manner possible.”
Inter have a number of absentees for the game, with Cristian Chivu (toe), Diego Milito and Walter Samuel (both thigh) all unavailable and Ricky Alvarez suspended.
Milan’s injury problems are even worse, however, as an array of first-team players are set to miss out once again.
Striker Stephan El Shaarawy remains absent with a foot injury, and is joined on the sidelines by suspended captain Ricardo Montolivo.
Robinho (shoulder) and Ignazio Abate (ankle) are also unavailable, along with Valter Birsa (thigh) and Matias Silvestre (calf).
A number of Inter supporters were set to be banned from the Curva Nord section of the ground as a result of offensive chants aimed at Napoli fans during the 4-2 defeat last week, but will now be allowed to attend the game after lodging successful appeals against the sanction.