For the third time this season, the Derby della Madonnina is upon us. AC Milan have been in terrible form lately and need to claim all three points against Inter tomorrow, but it won’t be an easy clash.
Stefano Pioli’s men are in a dire situation, to be completely honest, and they really need a win after six consecutive games without one. However, it won’t be easy against Inter, who won the last encounter 3-0 in the Suppercoppa final.
The manager made it clear during his press conference earlier today that it was a very good week of training at Milanello. They have a clear plan for the game and will do their best to bounce back, as he stated.
Just when you thought the worst injuries were behind us, Ismael Bennacer and Fikayo Tomori were ruled out of action. Both will miss the game tomorrow and the hope is that they will be back at least for the first Tottenham game.
Mike Maignan is still recovering from his calf injury and Zlatan Ibrahimovic hasn’t made a full recovery yet. The latter did, however, take part in the first 10 minutes of Friday’s training session and that is some positive news.
Given the poor form lately, Pioli is expected to change formation and field a three-man midfield instead. This was reported by all of the newspapers this morning and the manager also hinted at it during his press conference.
Tommaso Pobega is currently the favourite to replace the injured Ismael Bennacer in the midfield. Junior Messias was tested in that role in training and could thus be a last-minute wildcard, but everything points towards Pobega for now (or possibly Aster Vranckx).
Sandro Tonali and Rade Krunic will complete the midfield, as expected, and Alexis Saelemaekers should get the nod on the right wing. Olivier Giroud broke his goalscoring drought last time out and will start up front, but Divock Origi is ready off the bench after also getting on the scoresheet against Sassuolo.
Probable Milan XI (4-3-3): Tatarusanu; Calabria, Kjaer, Kalulu, Theo; Pobega, Tonali, Krunic; Saelemaekers, Giroud, Leao.
Inter have had their fair share of struggles this season but they have managed to avoid a huge drop in form, unlike their city rivals. After losing 0-1 to Empoli, they immediately bounced back with a 2-1 win against Cremonese last time out.
As such, they are now in second place with 40 points, two points ahead of Milan. While it’s unlikely that anyone will be able to catch up with Napoli, Inter are closest as thing stand and will thus fight for it tomorrow.
Marcelo Brozovic, who is regarded as perhaps the most important player for Inter, has recently recovered from an injury and has been included in the squad for the game. However, he will not play from the first minute.
Simone Inzaghi has a full squad to rely on, in other words, and this is obviously beneficial since he will have the likes of Dumfries, Correa and Dzeko to throw on from the bench. Compared to Milan, this is certainly one of Inter’s strengths.
The former Milan man Hakan Calhanoglu will replace Brozovic in the deep-lying role, just like he did in the Supercoppa, and it remains to be seen how he will cope against Milan’s three-man midfield.
Probable Inter XI (3-5-2): Onana; Skriniar, Acerbi, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Lukaku, Lautaro.
Head to head
As mentioned early, this is the third fixture between the two sides this season and as things stand, they are level on one win each. Milan prevailed 3-2 in the league game and Inter won 3-0 in the Supercoppa Italiana final.
The last meeting with Inter as the designated home team, however, is one that the Rossoneri fans remember with fondness. After failing to impose themselves in the game, Olivier Giroud stepped up twice in the space of just a few minutes and secured a 2-1 win for Milan.
It’s a game that completely changed the momentum in the Scudetto race and also gave the Rossoneri H2H advantage. It’s not exactly strange that Milan fans remember that gave with happiness, in other words.
➤ This will be the 178th Serie A derby between Inter and Milan. Inter have won 67, Milan 54 (D56) – against no other side have the Rossoneri lost more top-flight matches (67, level with Juventus), whilst Inter have drawn their most games against a single side versus Milan in the competition (56)
➤ Milan have won their last two Serie A derbies against Inter, and could win three in a row for the first time since between November 2002 and February 2004 (four in a row).
➤ After their 3-2 victory in the reverse fixture, Milan could win both of their Serie A meetings against Inter in a season for the first time since the 2010/11 campaign under Massimiliano Allegri.
➤ Inter have lost their last two Serie A home derbies against Milan (both 1-2), as many defeats as they had in their previous 16 such games beforehand (W11 D3).
➤ No side has conceded fewer home goals than Inter in Serie A this season (five, level with Roma). In addition, only Napoli (28) have gained more points than Inter in home matches so far in the 2022/23 competition (24 in 10 games).
➤ Milan have lost their last three matches in all competitions; they last lost four games in a row between January and February 2017 under Vincenzo Montella.
➤ Milan conceded 18 goals in January 2023, the most they have ever conceded in a single month of a year in their history in all competitions (since 1929/30).
➤ No side has scored more Serie A goals than Inter in the last 30 minutes of play this season (14, level with Lazio). Meanwhile, only Cremonese (14) and Sampdoria (12) have conceded more goals than Milan (11) in the opening 30 minutes so far in the competition this term.
➤ Lautaro Martínez has scored six goals against Milan in all competitions; only against Cagliari (eight) has he scored more since he joined Inter. Should he score in this game, he will become the second-highest foreign scorer in the history of this fixture for Inter, only behind Stefano Nyers (11).
➤ Olivier Giroud has found the net in both his first two Serie A derbies against Inter (three goals); no Milan player has scored in their first three meetings against Inter in the competition in the three points-for-a-win era (since 1994/95).
Ones to watch
Rafael Leao needs to take it up a gear and find the form he had in the first half of the season. This is the perfect opportunity for him to show his qualities and given how well he did in the reverse fixture, he could be absolutely crucial for Milan.
Sandro Tonali will play as the deep-lying midfielder in Milan’s three-man midfield tomorrow and it will be very interesting to see him in that regista role. He played there as Brescia and the Rossoneri need him to direct the play.
As for Inter, Lautaro Martinez certainly won the battle against Milan’s centre-backs in the Supercoppa Italiana and he will be just as important for Inter tomorrow. The Rossoneri, therefore, need to find a way to stop him.
Another man that needs to be stopped is Hakan Calhanoglu. As said, he currently has the ‘Brozovic role’ and stopping his building from the back could give Milan a big advantage, even though it won’t be easy to pull off.
It won’t be an easy game for Milan and, unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine that they will be able to break the negative trend. Perhaps a draw is possible, but Inter have a clear mental advantage and will probably make the most of it.
Inter 2-1 Milan
That’s just weird colour choice tbh.
😂😂😂😂😂 krunic tonali pobega midfield I’m gonna die
Man, even most of their bench is better than most of our starters…
Why not try 4,3,1,2 formation
I just don’t see us getting anything out of this. I hope it’s not a complete route