This Sunday 31 January 2016 throws up the second Derby della Madonnina of the season between Milan and Inter at the San Siro (kick off 20:45CET) in matchday 22 of the 2015/16 Serie A season.
Inter come into this game low in confidence as they continued their mini-slump since returning to action after the Winter break.
Against Carpi last week the Nerazzurri dominated and were 1-0 to the good but failed to get the second goal to seal the three points and were punished in stoppages with an equaliser.
In midweek Roberto Mancini took his side to the Juventus Stadium and got comprehensively beaten 3-0 in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final where individual errors and a questionable game plan seen to it that the Nerazzurri will not win any silverware this season barring a miracle.
Since returning after the Winter break Inter have only gained 5 points from matches against Empoli, Sassuolo, Atalanta and Carpi, a run of form that has seen the Nerazzurri slide from first place to fourth, six points behind leaders Napoli and putting into jeopardy their qualification for next season’s Champions League.
Indeed the only positives of the week have come in the transfer window for Inter who have finally sold Fredy Guarin to Shanghai Shenhua and sent Dodo along with Andrea Ranocchia on loan to Sampdoria with the Nerazzurri using the money from the Guarin sale to bring in Sampdoria’s Italian international forward Eder who will be available for this game.
Sinisa Mihajlovic’s Milan come into this game on the back of a decent week after drawing 2-2 away at a tricky Empoli last weekend before beating Alessandria 0-1 in the Coppa italia semi-final first leg in midweek.
A lot has been said about Milan under Mihajlovic this season ie their performances but their main problem has been drawing matches against lesser opposition this season as they have drew against Empoli(2-2), Roma(1-1), Hellas Verona(1-1), Carpi(0-0), Atalanta(0-0) and Torino(1-1).
Milan have suffered six defeats in their 21 matches in Serie A with losses against Bologna(0-1), Juventus(1-0), Napoli(0-4), Genoa(1-0), Inter(1-0) and Fiorentina(2-0) but nine wins against Fiorentina(2-0) two weeks ago, Frosinone(2-4), Sampdoria(4-1), Lazio(1-3), Chievo(1-0), Sassuolo(2-1), Udinese(2-3), Palermo(3-2) and Empoli(2-1), sees the Rossoneri in sixth place in the Serie A table with 33 points, 8 points behind Inter and looking comfortable for Europa League qualification.
Here is the Inter team news and probable line-up as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport at the time of writing:
Samir Handanovic starts in goal with Danilo D’Ambrosio expected to start at right back alongside the usual central defensive partnership of Joao Miranda and Jeison Murillo with Alex Telles expected at left back.
In a midfield three Gary Medel and Felipe Melo are expected to start alongside Marcelo Brozovic, who is expected to replace Geoffrey Kondogbia.
New Inter signing Eder is expected to make his debut on the right ahead of Ivan Perisic who is likely to be on the bench after an ankle injury. On the left Adem Ljajic is expected to keep his place with captain Mauro Icardi favoured over Stevan Jovetic in the central striking role.
Probable Inter line-up (subject to change): (4-3-3) Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Miranda, Murillo, Telles; Melo, Medel, Brozovic; Eder, Icardi(c), Ljajic
Bench: Carrizo, Berni, Nagatomo, Santon, Juan Jesus, Kondogbia, Gnoukouri, Perisic, Palacio, Jovetic, Biabiany, Manaj
Inter have faced AC Milan at the San Siro as the designated away team 92 times in the Serie A records with the Nerazzurri leading the stats with 35 wins to Milan’s 32 wins with 25 matches drawn.
In the overall Serie A records (home & away), Inter continue to lead the stats with 69 wins to Milan’s 61 wins with 55 of the 185 matches ending in a draw.
In the earlier meeting between the sides this season on 13 September 2015 with Inter designated as the home team, the Nerazzurri won 1-0 thanks to a Fredy Guarin goal.
Last season’s corresponding fixture between the sides on 23 November 2014 with Milan as the designated home team, ended in a 1-1 draw with goals from Menez and Joel Obi.
Inter and Milan have both won 20 points from their home matches this season.
Player to Watch: Eder – All eyes will be on Inter’s new signing from Sampdoria. The Italian international has 13 goals in 21 appearances this season in all competitions.
My Prediction: Milan 1-2 Inter
Scorers: Bacca(Milan), Eder, Icardi(Inter)
Officials: Referee: Antonio Damato Assistants: Di Liberatore, Dobosz
Fourth Official: Preti Additional Assistants: Mazzoleni, Calvarese
Author’s Note: This is a critical game for Inter if they are to keep up their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. I expect an end to end game against a Milan side unbeaten in 3 Serie A games but I wholeheartedly believe we have enough quality to win this. I don’t care how Inter win as long as they win and end this slump.