Milan will look to bounce back from their 1-3 loss against Juventus in the postponed Derby della Madonnina, with the encounter being one of the keys to potential Champions League qualification.
The Rossoneri were unbeaten in Serie A this year until the match in Turin, but did very well against the Italian champions for the large majority of the match.
It will be a decisive match-up for Gennaro Gattuso’s men in the race for a Champions League spot. With a loss on Wednesday, Milan would be 11 points away from the dream goal.
In goal, as usual this season, Gianluigi Donnarumma is set to start and will look to register a clean sheet after conceding five goals in the last two Serie A matches.
Bonucci and Romagnoli 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 Candreva and Perisic.
Milan’s midfield will have to deal with the absence of Lucas Biglia, who received a yellow card in Turin and is thus suspended for the derby. Riccardo Montolivo will replace the Argentinian in the regista role, with Bonaventura and Kessie accompanying the Italian in the trio.
In the attack, Suso is a certain starter on the right wing, while Hakan Calhanoglu has earned his spot on the left with his quality performances. In between the two, Nikola Kalinic will most likely earn a starting spot and will be looking to end his goal drought lasting since the match against Benevento in December.
Probable AC Milan XI vs. Inter: G. Donnarumma; Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Montolivo, Bonaventura; Suso, Kalinic, Calhanoglu.
Our city rivals started the season very well and were unbeaten until December. After that came a dull period for Luciano Spalletti’s men, but now the team seems to have once again improved. They have won three out of their last four Serie A games.
Despite this slight dip in form at the beginning of 2018, the Nerazzurri sit fourth in the Serie A table with 58 points. Captain Mauro Icardi is also second in the goalscoring table with 24 goals, only behind Ciro Immobile.
Inter have also regained some stability and continuity with their starting lineup. January reinforcement Rafinha has been in good form and is showing to be a good addition, while summer signing Joao Cancelo has also earned a starting spot for the team.
Probable Inter XI: Handanovic; Cancelo, Miranda, Skriniar, D’Ambrosio; Gagliardini, Brozovic; Candreva, Rafinha, Perisic; Icardi.
LAST TIME OUT
As mentioned, Milan’s last match was at the Allianz Stadium against Juventus on Saturday. The Bianconeri prevailed as victors from the game due to their experience and squad depth.
Meanwhile, Inter won comfortably 3-0 at the San Siro against Hellas Verona. Considering the difficulties of both matches, Milan will presumably be the slightly more jaded team on Wednesday evening.
The most recent derbies have been more positive for Milan. Out of the last five 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 three derby goals and registered two assists in his last four 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 hat-trick 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.
As of now, Inter probably have more momentum as well as better physical shape. But as mentioned, it is difficult to predict a derby, because both teams will be extremely fired up and looking to win precious points in the battle for Champions League football.