One topic that has been debated throughout the Scudetto battle over the past few months is whether it is an advantage to play before or after your rival.
La Gazzetta dello Sport give the example of the upcoming round 37 when Stefano Pioli’s side will take to the field to face Hellas Verona over 48 hours after Inter’s home game against San Siro, and he already addressed such a situation on the eve of the match against Torino when Inter had already beaten Verona: “It would be correct if we all played at the same time in the season finale.”
It works the other way too because Milan’s win against Fiorentina to move five points clear could have made all the difference in the world, but Inter then beat Udinese to close the gap against. If the Nerazzurri win on Friday against Empoli, they would be one point ahead for two nights, with the Rossoneri on the pitch on Sunday evening in Verona.
Due to their Champions League knockout commitments and Coppa Italia games, Inzaghi’s team played several times before their rivals in this second round. In the second half of the season, Inter have played first on nine occasions, with Milan playing first five times.
On six occasions the gap has remained unchanged: three times with the Rossoneri on the pitch before, and the same for the reverse. An interesting fact is that Inzaghi’s team never gained points by playing after, while they did gain points four times by taking the field before Milan.
It is also true that the Rossoneri, despite taking the field later, did better on two occasions such as on matchday 25 (Napoli 1-1 Inter before Milan 1-0 Sampdoria) and on matchday 30 (Inter 1-1 Fiorentina and Milan 1-0 Cagliari).
To summarise, Inter dropped points three times in the second round playing before Milan and the Rossoneri took advantage twice, failing against Spezia. The Nerazzurri have won on six occasions taking the field before their rivals, with the Rossoneri drawing three of them.