GdS: Friday night action features Milan and Inter ahead of cup derby – the status of both teams

By Oliver Fisher -

There is a big moment in the season coming on Friday as both AC Milan and Inter are in action against Udinese and Genoa respectively as the Scudetto fight continues.

La Gazzetta dello Sport talks about Milan-Udinese and Genoa-Inter tomorrow night, which will be played one after the other, and then a short three-day break will commence before the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg between the Rossoneri and the Nerazzurri next week.

Selection: Bennacer will miss the game against Udinese, then Tonali will miss the Inter cup game due to disqualification but aside from that Milan are in good shape. Kessie is therefore guaranteed of a start in both games while the defence of Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli and Hernandez should remain in place.

Messias and Saelemaekers will continue to battle for the right wing spot with Brahim Diaz and Leao completing the attack barring any injury setbacks, with Giroud forced to work overtime, unless Rebic plays up front.

Inter will play Genoa with their established starters meanwhile and the same will happen in the derby because it makes more sense to rotate on Friday 4 against Salernitana, which in turn precedes the (almost) impossible task of facing Liverpool at Anfield.

There will be space therefore for Handanovic, Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni, Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic, Dzeko and Lautaro. The only real battle is between Lautaro and Alexis Sanchez to start in both games.

Condition: Some Rossoneri players seem a little tired or out of shape. Tonali looked out of sorts in Salerno, Diaz has had a roller coaster form-wise after Covid while Saelemaekers also dropped in performance and Kessie is not back at his best levels.

Inter’s athletic condition is still good, as demonstrated by the effort shown in the second half against Sassuolo, despite the battle with Liverpool 4 days before. Some players are not performing as they did at the end of 2021 though like De Vrij, Barella, Calhanoglu and Lautaro. Correa and Gosens should return for the derby after injuries.

Mentality: Milan left the Arechi after a bitter 2-2 the bottom-placed side Salernitana why caused some to suggest that the psychological limits of the group are there to be seen.

However, Inter then lost against Sassuolo so the Rossoneri actually gained a point on their rivals. Inzaghi will have reminded his side of the fact they have always produced chances (29 shots against Sassuolo) and must gain an edge in front of goal.

Derby legacy: The 2-1 comeback win earlier in the month was a match that gave Milan excellent propulsion as the quickfire brace from Olivier Giroud gave belief to a group that badly needed a win.

For the opposite reasons, the effect of the comeback in the derby on 5 February for Inter was felt in the standings but also at the level of calmness that was partly lost, as evidenced by the nervousness of some players in their last two games at San Siro.

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