Milan have been in fantastic form so far this year and have yet to feel the bitterness of defeat in 2018. Gennaro Gattuso’s men will look to extend the positive run in the Derby della Madonnina against Inter.
The Rossoneri are unbeaten since December 27. Since then, they have won 9 games across all competitions and drawn 4 (including a penalty shoot-out win against Lazio).
During the same period, Gennaro Gattuso’s team has conceded just 4 goals and registered 9 clean sheets, with Alessio Romagnoli and Leonardo Bonucci forming a solid defensive partnership at the back.
There is a saying “Don’t change the winning team” and coach Gattuso is expected to follow it. In goal, as usual this season, Gianluigi Donnarumma is set to start and will look to register another clean sheet.
As mentioned, Bonucci and Romagnoli are looking extremely solid together and will guide the backline in the derby. On the flanks, Davide Calabria and Ricardo Rodriguez have won over the coach and will be tasked with neutralizing threats from Inter’s Karamoh and Perisic.
The midfield trio, that has been working extremely well in the last weeks, will consist of Kessie, Biglia in the regista role and Bonaventura on the left side, looking to add flexibility and the element of surprise.
The attacking trio is where the only doubt lies. Suso is a certain starter on the right wing, while Hakan Calhanoglu has earned his spot on the left with his performances this year. In between the two, it will be either the youngster Patrick Cutrone or the Croatian Nikola Kalinic.
Probable AC Milan XI vs. Inter: G. Donnarumma; Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura; Suso, Cutrone (Kalinic), Calhanoglu.
Our city rivals started the season very well and were unbeaten until December. Luciano Spalletti’s team has won just two matches this year against Bologna and Benevento both at home.
Despite this poor run of form, the Nerazzurri sit fourth in the Serie A table with 51 points. Captain Mauro Icardi is also second in the goalscoring table with 18 goals, only behind Ciro Immobile.
Inter will also recover several players for the derby, including Icardi, who will return to the starting lineup after missing the club’s last four games. Joao Miranda will also be back after suffering an adductor injury. On the other hand, Borja Valero is in doubt for the match and it looks like Antonio Candreva will replace him in the trequartista role.
Probable Inter XI: Handanovic; Cancelo, Miranda, Skriniar, D’Ambrosio; Gagliardini, Vecino; Karamoh, Candreva, Perisic; Icardi.
LAST TIME OUT
Milan’s last match in a very busy schedule was against Lazio in the Coppa Italia semi-final on Wednesday. The match went to penalties, with the Rossoneri prevailing, but the 120 minutes could have a negative effect on the teams fitness.
Meanwhile, Inter had a week-long rest after beating Benevento 2-0 at home, with defenders Skriniar and Ranocchia guaranteeing three points for the team.
The last derbies have been more positive for Milan. Out of the last 5 matches against Inter, Milan have lost just one (in the first half of this season). Two encounters ended with a 2-2 draw, while Milan prevailed on two occasions, with the most recent one being the Coppa Italia quarter-final in December.
There are two men to keep an eye on Sunday evening. From Milan’s team it is definitely Suso, who has scored 3 derby goals and registered 2 assists in his last 4 appearances. Gennaro Gattuso will look to see some much needed magic from the Spaniard against one of his favorite opponents.
On Inter’s side, the main point of reference will be captain Mauro Icardi. The Argentinian scored a hattrick in the last derby showdown in Serie A and a total of 4 goals in his last 3 matches against Milan.
The derby is always almost impossible to predict. Previous matches, form and many other aspects need to be neglected in this historical match-up.
It is true, that Milan currently have an advantage especially mentally, as the team has not lost for some time. On the other hand, physically, Inter should be in better shape, considering that they play only Serie A matches, unlike Milan, who are still competing on three fronts. What is certain, however, is that it will be another thrilling match in front of a full San Siro.