AC Milan - Inter Preview: The Nerazzurri will be slight favourites at San Siro despite what Stramaccioni believes
Both sides have had their troubles on and off the pitch this season but this match offers an opportunity for the Lombardy giants to kick-start their campaigns
By Craig Turnbull
De Sciglio, Bonera, Zapata, Antonini
De Jong, Ambrosini
Nocerino, El Shaarawy, Emanuelson
Ranocchia, Samuel, Juan
Zanetti, Gargano, Guarin, Pereira, Nagatomo
It is the first Derby della Madonnina of the season and in terms of importance for either side, the stakes could not be higher. The 'San Zero' hoodoo may be over as both Milan clubs recently recorded victories against Cagliari and Fiorentina respectively, but the frustration felt by fans in recent weeks will pale in comparison to a defeat to their fiercest rivals on Sunday.
Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni has already played down his side's chances of victory insisting that the Rossoneri are favourites, but whether he is just attempting mind games with under-fire boss Massimiliano Allegri is up for debate, having steered his side to third in Serie A with a 100 per cent record away from home, while Milan lie in 11th position.
Both teams head into this fixture with morale-boosting victories in Europe as Milan saw off Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg 3-2 in the Champions League while Inter overcame Azerbaijani club Neftchi Baku 3-1 in the Europa League on Thursday.
Dutch talisman Wesley Sneijder is a major doubt for Inter having sustained a thigh injury. Rodrigo Palacio, Dejan Stankovic and McDonald Mariga are also expected to miss out while there will be a late fitness test on defender Cristian Chivu, though Inter are unlikely to change from their back three which has served them well thus far.
The Rossoneri are still likely to be without star Brazilian striker Pato, which means Giampaolo Pazzini is in contention to start upfront with in-form Stephan El Shaarawy playing in behind the Italian. Defender Didac Vila and midfielders Sulley Muntari and Rodney Strasser are also unavailable.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- AC Milan and Inter last shared the spoils 19 games ago, a record which stretches back to October 2004.
- The Rossoneri's biggest ever win against their bitter rivals was an 8-1 hammering in the Coppa Mauro back in the 1917-18 season.
- The Diavolo have the upper hand in derbies as in all competitions they have won 81 games to Inter's 76.
- Inter have had the bragging rights in the last two league clashes winning 4-2 in May as Diego Milito (pictured, right) scored a hat-trick, (the first in a Milan derby since 1953) and a 1-0 victory before that with the Argentine again being the difference.
- The Nerazzurri's biggest win against their closest opponents was a 5-0 thumping back in February 1910.
- If Inter score two or more goals against Milan on Sunday, they will have scored over 300 goals against the Rossoneri.
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Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 2-1 FC Internazionale
- 17.56 %
AC Milan 1-3 FC Internazionale
- 14.16 %
AC Milan 0-2 FC Internazionale
- 9.68 %
|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|
|2||Mattia De Sciglio||Defender|
|34||Nigel De Jong||Midfielder|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
|Stephan El Shaarawy|
The 19-year-old has been in scintillating form for the Rossoneri, showing a maturity which belies his age. While others have faltered, he has got stronger and helped his team out with some important goals. With five strikes in his last four matches, all eyes are on this young starlet to see if he can shine in one of the most intimidating atmospheres in world football.
Will have a point to prove after leaving Massimiliano Allegri's side in the summer, and has been a vitally important part of the Nerazzurri's rejuvenation in recent weeks leading the scoring charts for Inter with four goals. Milito has struggled for consistency but since Cassano has arrived, the Argentine has rediscovered his form and the pair have created a good partnership already.
This match seems impossible to predict how it will go. There is no doubt it will be a tightly contested, cagey affair with everything to play for but the Nerazzurri seem in a slightly better position with Stramaccioni somewhat steadying his side with three straight victories in all competitions. Therefore they should sneak a third consecutive victory against Allegri's men.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed