San Siro, Milan
Sunday 19th April, 2015, 18:45 GMT
The Milan derby is traditionally one of the most revered contests in world football due to the prestige and history the two Serie A giants boast. However, this weekend’s contest at San Siro has a somewhat underwhelming feel considering the struggles of both teams in the league this season. Much was expected of Filippo Inzaghi’s first season in charge of Milan, but they are seven points adrift of the UEFA Europa League places and some 28 off the pace of leaders Juventus. Roberto Mancini’s return to Inter has also as yet failed to yield a turnaround in fortunes and they are two spots and one point below their rivals in 10th.When AC Milan and fierce rivals Inter Milan renew hostilities inside the San Siro in Sundaya s Derby della Madonnina, you can be sure that the two passionate managers, 22 committed players and both sets of fanatical and engrossed supporters, will all be striving to secure maximum points in front of a captivated global media, whatever the cost.
The world class players have all but gone. The idea that the Rossoneri and Nerazzurri could challenge for the league title in the forthcoming years, borders on fantasy. And yet, separated by a single point thanks to virtually identical league form, the Milan derby still manages to retain some of its past significance, if only to grant one set of supporters bragging rights when positions are confirmed come the end of the season.
Team news and tactics
Inter Milan are currently 10th in the league and just a point below their city rivals after a frustrating campaign and unless they put together a drastically improved run of form over the next few weeks, then they will be without European football next season. They will at least come into the Derby della Madonnina with a win under their belts, as last weekend they recorded a 3-0 victory away to Hellas Verona. Rodrigo Palacio and Mauro Icardi both scored and laid on an assist for each other in that match, but it remains to be seen whether the former will stay at the club if they fail to secure a Europa League berth, with Chelsea rumored to be among the many clubs interested.
With Roma, Lazio and Juventus all to play in the final eight games of the season, it will be hard for Inter to finish much higher up the table and there will surely be a summer of rebuilding for Roberto Mancini to oversee as the club tries to regain its place as one of Europe’s most feared clubs. Inter will be forced into making a couple of changes, as Marcelo Brozovic and Fredy Guarin are both suspended. Mateo Kovacic and Joel Obi will be fighting for the vacant spots in the midfield, while Davide Santon should return to the defecne. Despite the availability of Yuto Nagatomo, Roberto Mancini is thinking of fielding Juan Jesus at left-back, making room for Nemanja Vidic in the centre.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-1-2):Handanovic(Gk); Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Santon, Vidic; Medel, Hernanes, Obi; Shaqiri; Palacio, Icardi
It has also been a largely forgettable season for Milan, but there have been a few signs in recent weeks that the club are on the road to recovery. They have lost just one of their previous seven games in the league and are unbeaten in their last three outings since a late collapse at Fioretina. Victories against Cagliari and Palermo helped restore their confidence and they showed grit and determination to come from behind and hold Sampdoria to a 1-1 draw last weekend. The Rossoneri still have a long way to go to match their past glories, but Filippo Inzaghi seems to have the players on his side, despite the uncertainty surrounding his own future at the club.
They do have a kind fixture list over the remaining weeks of the campaign and although a top-six finish looks unlikely, a winning run would certainly boost their confidence and give the manager some hope for mounting a real challenge next season.Mattia Destro is an injury doubt for Milan, after sustaining heavy bruising to his tibia during last weekend’s game against Sampdoria. The striker’s absence means that Giacomo Bonaventura may be played in a more advanced role, although Suso staked his claims for a start with a positive appearance from the bench. Jeremy Menez will start in the false nine position, with Alessio Cerci like to start over Keisuke Honda on the right.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3):Diego Lopez(Gk); Abate, Paletta, Mexes, Antonelli; Van Ginkel, Poli, De Jong; Bonaventura, Cerci, Menez
- This will be the 162nd derby between Inter and AC Milan in Serie A: the Nerazzurri lead by 60 wins to 50.
- Neither side has managed to score more than a single goal in the last five Serie A Milan derbies.
- The last time a team did score more than once in a Serie A Milan derby was in May 2012 (4-2 for the Nerazzurri).
Players to Watch Out For
Jeremy Menez and Mauro Icardi
Both Mauro Icardi and Jeremy Menez go into the match with 16 goals to their names so far this season, and with both likely to begin in a central role for their respective sides, will be looking to add to that tally.
Inter Milan 2a 2 AC Milan
Inter closed in on Milan in the table by beating Verona in the last round, but the overall performances of the team both under Walter Mazzarri and Roberto Mancini have been unconvincing at best. Filippo Inzaghi has only obtained one point more than Milan’s cross-town rivals, and European qualification seems unlikely as Milan lack the necessary strength to gain 7 points on Sampdoria. The average position of Milan and Inter is very close to the seasonal record low of 1941/42, and the best-ranked team from Milano in 9th position is a tie for their worst ever performance. Furthermore, it has never happened in the history of Serie A that both Milan and Inter have finished below the six teams from Genova, Torino and Roma. This is how bad it has been this season for the two sides that will play to determine who has been worse, and which side will be granted some more time to try and grasp higher positions before the end of the season. Inter have just been unpredictable of late, while Milan are lacking a precise footballing style.
Blast From the Past
Rodrigo Palacio’s late goal sealed a 1-0 victory for Inter in the Derby della Madonnina in 2013.