A rejuvenated Gennaro Gattuso-led AC Milan would be looking to cut the gap between themselves and Inter Milan in Serie A in the Milan derby on Sunday.
What a turnaround we have seen at Milan. It was doom and gloom after a brilliant summer transfer window as players failed to replicate their form in the Rossoneri jersey. But, Gennaro Gattuso’s arrival has changed things and how. The hard-hitting midfielder seems to have made the defence a bit more sturdy, which has been the main proponent of their current undefeated streak.
On the other hand, Inter Milan has had quite a downturn in their fortunes. In the lead at one point in the league, the Nerazzurri have now taken a backseat, with the club now in danger of losing out on a top four spot in Serie A. Their goal difference is the only positive going into the derby on Sunday.
AC Milan and Gattuso would be motivated by the prospect of cutting the gap between themselves and Inter Milan to just 4 points and give them a wholesome boost in their pursuit of a top-four finish in Serie A.
Inter Milan are fresh off a defeat from AC Milan in Coppa Italia and the home side will be looking to score, and this time win in regulation time itself. Ahead of their latest matchup, we take a closer look at the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Gennaro Gattuso has the pick of the lot to choose from, with no player sidelined with either injuries or suspensions. The main bone of contention will be whether the manager continues his chase for the top four or rests his players, keeping the UEFA Europa League tie against Arsenal in mind.
Nevertheless, Gianluigi Donnarumma is an automatic selection in goal and the defence should not see any changes, even if the manager does intend to rest some players. The Rossoneri defence has been very diligent in their job in recent weeks and it would be up to Leonardo Bonucci to rally his troops for the Milan derby.
Nikola Kalinic should start upfront ahead of Patrick Cutrone and other options, with Hakan Calhanoglu and Suso the likely players to complete the front three.
AC Milan have, in Gattuso, a manager who is no stranger to playing in derbies and high-octane games like these. And, the boss would hope to instil some of his confidence and gathered wisdom before the Sunday match.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Bonaventura, Biglia, Kessie; Suso, Kalinic, Calhanoglu
Inter have no injury or suspension issues either, making the tie a very interesting one. Martin Skriniar will have to be at his utmost best at the back on Sunday. Borja Valera, arguably, the best midfielder at Luciano Spalletti’s disposal could once again have to settle with a spot on the bench, thanks in large to the form of Matias Vecino.
Antonio Candreva has impressed in a central attacking role and the Italian could once again be deployed in the same position, freeing up space for Yann Karamoh to come into the lineup. The explosive winger has a lot to prove and his pace could be one of the major factors leading to Inter’s win on Sunday.
Mauro Icardi will lead the Nerazzuri line in the Milan derby, hoping to add to his goal tally so far this season.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Handanovic; Cancelo, Miranda, Skriniar, D’Ambrosio; Gagliardini, Vecino; Karamoh, Candreva, Perisic, Icardi
1. Inter Milan are undefeated in 25 of their last 28 Serie A games while AC Milan have won 6 of their last 7 games in the league.
2. Inter Milan have failed to score in 3 of their last 4 away Milan derbies.
3. Inter have just one win in their last six Milan derbies in all competitions.
4. Gennaro Gattuso had a brilliant record against Inter Milan during his playing career, losing just 9 of the 31 games he featured in.
5. There have been 2 or fewer goals scored in 8 of the last 10 home games for AC Milan.
Player to Watch
The veteran had come under fire a bit during the start of his AC Milan career this summer. But, Gennaro Gattuso’s appointment seems to have done wonders for the player’s confidence, with Bonucci now showcasing the kind of form that made him one of the best quarterback-like central defender in world football at Juventus.
The Milan derby would be an important match to display his defensive prowess and ability to spray balls left, right and centre with ease.
AC Milan 0-0 Inter Milan
As much as people want derbies to be a goal glut and a mouth-watering display, the Milan derby will mostly be decided within the midfield. And, given AC Milan’s recent defensive record, Inter will find it hard to break through.
On the other hand, AC Milan are also unlikely to be much of a threat going forward and while it will be an interesting matchup, it looks set to end in a dull draw.