Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Italy
Sunday, May 6, 2012 – 1845 GMT
Inter have been down in the doldrums for some time now. In this amazing season, they have appointed as many as 3 managers – with Ranieri lasting the most among the three. Present coach, Stramaccioni has been promoted from the Primavera squad and in his brief tenure, has impressed everyone. However, with only two games remaining, Inter have to try and qualify for Europe.
After dramatically conceding the top position in the league to Juventus, Milan have the opportunity to take the title to the last day of the season. A similar situation arose in the 1998-99 Serie A, when Milan pipped Lazio to the top by 1 point on the final day of the League. With everything to play for, Milan have to go all out, ignoring what happens in the match involving Juventus.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Inter will be missing the likes of Nagatomo, Castaignos and Chivu for this match through injury. Inter’s resurgence under new coach Stramaccioni has been going pretty well, but it took a turn for the worse in the previous match against Parma. Leading via Sneijder’s strike, Inter first conceded and then trailed Parma as Marques, Giovincio and finally Biabiany scored to push Inter further away from Europe for the next season. Whatever happens in the next two matches, Stramaccioni has made it clear that he will not go back to being the Primavera coach.
Inter will field a 4-3-1-2 formation in this match with Julio Cesar manning the posts. The backline consists of Maicon, Lucio, Samuel and Inter legend, Zanetti. The back four represent the old guard and all of these players have weathered enough to be considered as being on top of their profession. Inter’s affinity of scoring from long range is well documented as is their ability to steal the ball from the opposition and score from set-pieces. However, Inter are very weak in stopping through balls, an area which Milan will surely look to attack. They are also weak in defending a fast break. Inter like to spread the players wide in an effort to stretch the opposition and their right back, Maicon sometimes behaves as a right midfielder, leaving a huge gap at the back.
Stankovic will start as the central midfielder for this game and he will be flanked by Guarin on the right and Cambiasso on the left. With such experienced players as Stankovic and Cambiasso, Inter are sure to be well protected in the midfield area and their forwards can count on a constant supply of balls. Sneijder starts as the trequartista in this match and his long range shooting will be one thing which Inter players will be looking forward to. The forward line sees the pairing of Milito and Zarate. Possible substitutions for Inter might include Forlan or Pazzini.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Cesar (GK); Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Zanetti; Guarin, Stankovic, Cambiasso; Sneijder; Milito, Zarate
Milan will be missing Roma, Inzaghi, Pato, Thiago Silva and Seedorf for this match. The importance of the match in Milan’s season cannot be underestimated at any cost. With the present standing in the League, this might prove to be the most important game of the season. Injuries have continued to hamper Milan and there was one instance where Allegri had to field a team without 13 first-team players missing. The depth of this squad has been thoroughly tested this season, and if Milan do come out as Champions this year, Allegri’s player rotation will have played a humongous role in the success.
Milan will field a 4-3-1-2 formation, which has been the omnipresent formation under Allegri. The back four will consist of Abate, Nesta, Bonera and Antonini. Mexes and Mesbah are likely to start from the bench for this encounter as Milan will look to minimize the errors committed at the back. A strong defense will see Milan attacking Inter on a fast break. Milan’s strength lies in their ability in finishing scoring chances, in scoring from distance, in coming back from losing positions and defending from set-pieces. A possession-based football favors Milan greatly as they look to attack down the middle and from the left side of the pitch. Winning aerial duels will be an important factor in this match, as Milan will look to play to their leading man upfront, Ibrahimovic. However, Milan are susceptible to conceding individual errors and their players are often caught in an offside position.
Mark van Bommel starts this match just in front of the defense as a defensive screen. With talks of his possible transfer looming all over, van Bommel will once again try to prove why he is one of the most important cogs in Allegri’s line-up. Accompanying him will be Nocerino on the right and Muntari on the left. According to recent statistics, Nocerino has played 3040 minutes for Milan this season, making him the most used player on the pitch. Nocerino will be helpful in both creating chances and destroying opposition passing on the right alongwith Abate. Muntari, who till last January was employed by Inter, will be looking to make a strong impression on his former employers.
Boateng returns to the Milan set-up and with him, a much-needed source of energy has returned to Milan. His constant running, tackling and long-range efforts is sure to give enough problems to Inter, who also has to contend with the two strikers – Ibrahimovic and Robinho. If the attacking trident prove to be ineffective, Milan always have Cassano to fall back upon. Hampered by a life-threatening injury at the start of the season, Cassano’s recent performance goes to show what Milan were missing all season.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2): Abbiati (GK); Abate, Nesta, Bonera, Antonini; Nocerino, van Bommel, Muntari; Boateng; Ibrahimovic, Robinho
Key Match Facts
- In the last 6 meetings between these two teams, both Milan and Inter have won 3 matches each.
- Inter are most susceptible to concede during the 46-60th minute of a match.
- Milan are most likely to score during the 16-30th and 76-90th minute of a match.
TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For
Diego Milito (Internazionale)
The Argentine has had his up-and-down moments this season, but inspite of those, he has scored as many as 20 goals and has 3 assists to his name. In the upcoming match, Milito will be looking to be the deciding factor, and with Sneijder playing behind him, he can be assured of a constant supply of balls.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan)
The League’s leading goal-scorer has been pretty quiet of late, which can only mean one thing. Inter might be in for one of those nights, where everything that Ibrahimovic touches, turns to gold. Faced against his former employers, Ibrahimovic will take every opportunity to score and score big on the night. With Boateng playing behind him, the chances of playing 1-2 passes increases which will help Robinho too.
Internazionale 0-1 AC Milan
It’s all or nothing for Milan now. With only two matches to go, Milan simply cannot afford to drop any more points if they hope to retain the hard-earned Scudetto last year. Inter have been troubled by their own demons this season and after a managerial merry-go-round, they are looking to finish the season with some semblance of respect. However, Milan might have too much passion in them to come on top in this encounter and take the title to the last day of the season.
TheHardTackle’s Blast From The Past
Read THT’s exclusive feature on how Inter hold the title fortunes for both Milan and Juventus through the derby here.