Serie A Preview: AC Milan - Inter
The Derby della Madonnina looks set to be a spectacular affair with both sides showing excellent form going into the clash at San Siro
By Adam Scime
Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta
Seedorf, Van Bommel, Nocerino
Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Nagatomo
Zanetti, T. Motta, Cambiasso, Alvarez
AC Milan will welcome Alessandro Nesta back to partner Thiago Silva in the centre of defence after the veteran recently recovered from a hip problem and was on the bench for the 2-0 win over Atalanta last week.
Right-back Ignazio Abate and midfielder Clarence Seedorf should also return to the starting XI after both missed the clash in Bergamo due to injury. Gennaro Gattuso, having been diagnosed with ocular myasthenia, and Alberto Aquilani, who is out for a month with an ankle problem, will definitely miss the match.
After his failed move to Paris Saint-Germain and recent poor form, Alexandre Pato may be dropped to a substitute role as Robinho partners Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front.
Meanwhile, despite the return of some star players, Inter boss Claudio Ranieri is likely to stick with the same XI that defeated Parma 5-0.
Striker Diego Forlan has recovered from the ankle knock that saw him miss that convincing win and playmaker Wesley Sneijder is available again after missing the last two months with a muscular injury, but both World Cup 2010 heroes will seemingly have to settle for a place on the bench and will not be risked from the start as Giampaolo Pazzini and Diego Milito continue together in attack with the creative duties falling on summer signing Ricardo Alvarez.
Brazilian defender Maicon is expected to play despite suffering an adductor muscle strain during last weekend's victory at San Siro.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- AC Milan have been more successful since the first city derby in the early part of the previous century, leading the all-time record over 276 meetings (W109 D72 L95).
- The champions have the most potent attack in Serie A, having scored 37 times in 17 matches, nine more than second-best goalscorers Juventus.
- Ibrahimovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A alongside Udinese's Antonio Di Natale and Atalanta's German Denis with 12 goals; conversely, his team-mate Pato only has one goal in nine appearances this season.
- Allegri's side have won the last three derbies in official competitions: The two Serie A encounters from last season (1-0 and 3-0) as well as the Supercoppa Italiana (2-1) this past August.
- Inter have won five Serie A matches in a row going into Sunday's clash and seven of their last eight league encounters.
- Throughout that run of eight games, Inter have conceded only three times but during the same period Milan have let in just two goals despite picking up one less point.
- Milito has found the net five times against the Rossoneri since signing for the Nerazzurri, scoring against them during pre-season matches in 2009 and 2011, as well as the two Serie A derbies during Inter's treble winning campaign of 2009-10.
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Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 0-9 FC Internazionale
- 76.69 %
AC Milan 4-0 FC Internazionale
- 8.7 %
AC Milan 2-0 FC Internazionale
- 1.61 %
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Feb 24, 2013||FC Internazionale 1 - AC Milan 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Oct 7, 2012||AC Milan 0 - FC Internazionale 1|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||May 6, 2012||FC Internazionale 4 - AC Milan 2|
|Italy - Serie A (ITA1)||Jan 15, 2012||AC Milan 0 - FC Internazionale 1|
|Club Friendlies (FR)||Aug 18, 2011||AC Milan 0 - FC Internazionale 1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Catania 1 - AC Milan 3||ITA1|
|Nov 26, 2013||Celtic 0 - AC Milan 3||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||AC Milan 1 - Genoa 1||ITA1|
|Nov 10, 2013||Chievo 0 - AC Milan 0||ITA1|
|Nov 6, 2013||FC Barcelona 3 - AC Milan 1||UCL|
|17||Mark van Bommel||Midfielder|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
'Big Bang Boateng' has been excellent pushing forward from midfield all season, adding more power and guile than creativity in the trequartista role. His explosive runs to join the attack and ability to provide pressure in opposition territory will certainly test an ageing Inter defence.
It is no coincidence that Inter's form and ability to keep clean sheets improved dramatically with the return of the former Bayern Munich star from a leg injury that saw him miss most of November. Despite being 33 years of age, Lucio remains one of the best centre-backs in Serie A and his battle with in-form Ibrahimovic may be a decisive factor in the match.
There has not been a draw in this fixture since 2004 and with plenty on the line for both sides it is unlikely anyone will settle for a stalemate. Form typically goes out the window in a derby, but expect a hard-fought battle and close match until the final whistle. Anything can happen, but Milan may well show that Inter still have some minor issues to iron out.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed