After a defeat at home against Spezia and a drab 0-0 draw with Juventus to follow, AC Milan will contest the derby against Inter after the two-week break knowing a win is sorely needed if their Scudetto hopes are to remain alive.
In order to win against their city rivals, certain things must improve and Milan must find their identity again, the thing that made them strong and had them atop the table with 11 wins from 12 games to begin the season.
La Gazzetta dello Sport takes a look at the things the Rossoneri must rediscover to beat the Nerazzurri starting with their style of play, given Milan haven’t had the fluidity seen at the beginning of the season for some time now. This does not necessarily mean beautiful skills or effectiveness, but more so consolidated mechanisms to take down opponents.
The defensive phase must also be fixed, because while a clean sheet arrived against Juventus, their attack is the 11th-best in the league in goals scored. The Bianconeri didn’t manage a shot on goal, but then against Spezia mistakes crept in and against Inter there will be more questions asked given they have scored 19 more than the Old Lady.
Individuals must also step up to the plate too. We are waiting to see if Fikayo Tomori can return but questions will be asked of Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and an attack that has recently struggled, plus the key names in defence like Alessio Romagnoli, Davide Calabria and Theo Hernandez and of course the midfield leader Sandro Tonali.
Then, Milan must find their scoring streak again. Between December and January, goals had rained in bursts as they scored 10 in three games against Empoli, Roma and Venezia, but followed that with just one in 180 minutes against Spezia and Juve. Milan have the second best attack in Italy, though consistency is key.
Milan’s attack has become rather predictable too so they must recover some unpredictability and variety. Ibra, Giroud, Diaz and Rebic have all been burdened by drops in form or physical problems, which has taken away a big strength and that is multiplicity of solutions going forward.
Finally, Milan must demonstrate that their character remains and their morale is still high. The loss against Spezia was a heavy blow on the enthusiasm of a team that had four consecutive victories between the league and the cup, and while the draw with Juve wasn’t terrible the game was played with the handbrake on by both teams. Against Inter they cannot do that because they will lose, and this is close to a must-win game.