Inter look to make it five on the spin against rivals AC Milan
Club football is back in full swing after the international break; and one of the biggest games takes us to Italy for the Milan derby, as Inter host AC.
Inter have won the previous four Derby della Madonnina‘s.
Since then; Inter have won in Serie A, the Supercoppa Italiana and both legs of the Champions League semi-final between the two sides. During this time, they have scored seven goals – conceding none.
AC Milan last won this fixture in the early stages of last season, 3-2. Furthermore, Pioli’s record in the Milan derby is poor.
Milan have won only three of 14 derbies since he took over – during that time, Inter have won eight.
Going back to 2013, AC Milan have won six of 27 meetings between the two sides.
How have the two sides started this season?
Both sides have perfect records coming into this game, with three wins from three games.
Inter sit top of the league – on goal difference – with eight goals scored and none conceded. They started the season with 2-0 wins over Monza and Cagliari and then an impressive 4-0 over Fiorentina.
AC Milan started with a 2-0 over Bologna, a 4-1 victory over Torino and then a big 2-1 victory over Roma.
Results suggest there is little between the two sides, but Inter have arguably been more convincing in their performances. For example, three of Olivier Giroud’s four goals have come from the penalty spot for Milan.
However, AC Milan has been worth their nine points so far. They went down to ten men just after an hour against Roma, but were comfortable throughout. For Milan, the suspension of Fikayo Tomori will be cause for concern, as it will be the first change to their starting lineup all season.
Furthermore, Pierre Kalulu is almost certain to miss the derby, meaning Simon Kjaer is likely to start for the I Rossoneri.
Inter are likely to start the same lineup for the fourth game in a row.
Lautaro Martinez has continued his excellent form from last season into this one. The Argentine has scored five of Inter’s eight goals so far this season, with just one being a penalty.
Summer signings Marcus Thuram and Yann Sommer are the two significant changes to the starting XI from last year. However, both have settled well.
AC Milan have more changes to their side that finished fourth last year; Christian Pulisic, Tijani Reijnders and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are new signings that have come into the side.
While Rade Krunić had come into the side as a key player, due to Ismaël Bennacer’s long-term injury which was sustained against Inter Milan.
The departure of Sandro Tonali in the summer also led to Milan needing a new midfield heading into this season.
Predicted starting lineups
Internazionale XI (3-5-2): – Yann Sommer; Matteo Darmian, Stefan de Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni; Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Federico Dimarco; Marcus Thuram, Lautaro Martinez.
AC Milan XI (4-2-3-1): – Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Malick Thiaw, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernández; Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Rade Krunić, Tijani Reijnders; Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud, Rafael Leão.
Internazionale have two doubts for the game in new signings Juan Cuadrado and Alexis Sanchez.
Cuadrado was rested over the international break due to injury, and Sanchez returned late from international duty with Chile but should be available for selection.
In terms of returning players; Stefano Sensi and Francesco Acerbi could return to the Inter squad.
Acerbi will hope for a return to the starting lineup but it could come too early for him.
AC Milan’s situation is more complex.
Olivier Giroud picked up an ankle injury against Ireland, with France, but he should be fit to start.
If Giroud is injured, however, it could give a first start to new signing Noah Okafor.
Bennacer is a long-term injury issue for Milan and will play no part until November or December.
Tomori is suspended and Pierre Kalulu is likely to miss the derby through injury.
Internazionale are likely favourites heading into the Derby della Madonnina. They have a settled side that finished last season strongly, making the Champions League Final – form which has continued into this season.
Their 3-5-2 setup is very attacking, which allows constant running off the ball. The side always seems to have an extra man to overload space and progress up the field; if Thuram or Martinez drop into midfield, the wing backs and midfield always look to go beyond them.
Since Inter picked up form in the back end of last season they have been arguably the best side in Italy.
Alongside AC Milan’s poor form in this fixture, it is difficult to predict a victory for the visiting side. However, Milan have made improvements since the semi-final loss to Inter.
The additions of Reijnders and Pulisic have made Milan’s more balanced this season. As a result, Rafael Leão has less pressure on him to be a one-man attack.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has also added more pace and physicality to the midfield. Combined with his technique, it has made Milan more dynamic in Midfield.
While Milan have closed the gap with Inter, it is still difficult to look past I Nerazzurri.