The five key battles that could win or lose the game for Milan against Inter

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will renew their hostilities with city rivals Inter in the Derby della Madonnina this evening, hoping to win and jump above them in the table early in the season.

The Rossoneri have not won a ‘home’ league derby since the 2015-16 season so will look to put that wait to bed. You can read our match preview here, while we have also picked out some of the key battles that will decide the game.

Lautaro Martínez has been involved in a goal in each of his first four league appearances so far (three goals, one assist) and that is why Pierre Kalulu will have to be at his best to stop the Argentine. Lautaro scored in the cup semi-final second leg – the last derby meeting – and so Milan know that he is one to stop.

Milan have failed to score in each of their last two games against Inter in all competitions (the two cup games) so it will be up to Olivier Giroud to end that. He will come up against Stefan De Vrij, who he got the better of in the last league derby as he scored a brace to turn the game on its head and win the match.

Inter’s three-man midfield is considered one of if not the best in the league, so the boyhood Milan fan Sandro Tonali must ensure that his compatriot Nicolo Barella is not allowed to dictate the tempo of the game given his quality. At the same time, the former Brescia star can get forward and make decisive runs, which will be his task again.

There were a lot of rumours suggesting that Milan Skriniar could have left for PSG on deadline day but he ended up remaining, and it is he who has the difficult task of keeping Rafael Leao quiet on Milan’s left. In the Rossoneri’s last home fixture, the Portuguese winger wreaked havoc and contributed to both goals against Bologna.

Finally, there will be another fascinating battle in the midfield between Ismael Bennacer – who has started the season well – and the ex-Milan man Hakan Calhanoglu. The Turk is a player who like Barella can orchestrate the tempo of a game, but Bennacer will battle with him for every ball and will try cause problems of his own in the build-up phase.

Tags AC Milan Milan Inter
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