Preview – Inter vs AC Milan: Eccoci Qua, Noi Della Nord
The first high-profile derby between the Milanese cousins takes place immediately after a critical international break for the plethora of international players on both sides. Kick-off on Sunday at 20:45 CET.
It has been years since the Derby Della Madonnina has taken place with such high expectations from both sides. Both sides have gone into the season expecting at least a top four finish, albeit that recent declarations by Milan’s CEO Marco Fassone seem to show some newfound restraint with regards to season’s anticipations.
Tactically, Vincenzo Montella doesn’t appear to have settled on neither a preferred formation nor a starting eleven. While recent weeks seem have seen Montella try and accommodate Leonardo Bonucci’s ostensible preference of playing in a three-man defense, two back-to-back losses against Sampdoria and Roma might temper the young tactician’s appetite to further experiment with a back three. Questions will continue as to who will start in attack for the Rossoneri. Recent weeks have shown a preference for Nikola Kalinic, but Portuguese international Andre Silva was his country’s protagonist during the international break and it might be seen as a shame to let his good form go unused.
Despite rumors that Luciano Spaletti might be thinking of a shake-up in the Nerazzurri’s attacking module, signs still point to the opposite. Expect Inter to start with the trio of Ivan Perisic, Joao Mario and Antonio Candreva behind Argentine talisman Mauro Icardi. The midfield duo of Borja Valero and Matias Vecino will be likely to start, however, Italy’s Robergto Gagliardini might be selected ahead of the Uruguayan Vecino who’s trip back from South America might have taken its toll on his recovery.
Inter will look to start the match strongly and effectively and will hope to capitalize on what’s been their most impressive segment of the match so far this season. Spaletti will have worked on intensity of output with the players during the break and will be hoping that the side does not experience the usual mid-match drop in performance.
Thankfully, aside from Marcelo Brozovic’s muscular troubles with Croatia, Spaletti has not lost any players due to injury while on international duty. Another piece of good news is the fact that Joao Cancelo will finally be available for selection. It is unlikely that the Portuguese wide-man will be part of the starting 11 but he may be a useful addition to the right flank especially if Antonio Candreva or Danilo D’Ambrosio exhibit fatigue in the second half.
Probable Inter line-up (subject to change): (4-2-3-1) Handanovic; Dalbert, Miranda, Skriniar, D’Ambrosio; Valero, Vecino; Perisic, Joao Mario, Candreva; Icardi (C)
Last Season: Inter 2 – 2 Milan
Last 10 Head to Head: It’s been pretty much even-Stevens between the two poles of Milanese football in the last ten matches; There have been 5 draws and Inter slightly edge our Milan with 3 victories to the Rossoneri’s 2.
Keep an Eye on
Antonio Candreva: The Italian winger has made it a bit of a habit to score against Milan, and having just scored Italy’s only goal against Albania during the break, he’ll be in high spirits and up for it. While no one doubts Candreva’s work ethic or heart, his final product has been disappointing this season. A strong performance in the derby will go a long way in rebooting his season.
Refereree: Paolo Tagliavento
Assistants: Di Fiore, Vuoto
Fourth Official: Doveri
Additional Assistants: Orsato, Chiffi
Prediction & Authors Note
Prediction & scorers: Inter 2 – 1 Milan with Icardi and Candreva scoring.
Author’s Note: A return from an international break is never easy, thankfully, all of the internationals had a positive break with their respective national teams and hopefully they can carry this positivity into the derby preparations. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Inter’s best performances are when they’re playing fast, high impact football which means that a motivated “happy” Inter probably has much more chances of dominating the game.