Milano’s rivaling clubs clash on Sunday evening for the marquee matchup of Serie A Round 28 as Milan square off with Inter at the San Siro.
Last October, Nerazzurri captain Mauro Icardi headed home a very late winner to deal the Rossoneri a 1-0 defeat, but Gennaro Gattuso’s in-form group will look to exact revenge and expand on their one-point lead in third place over their struggling rivals.
Here is what you should be watching for in the latest installment of the Derby della Madonnina:
Piątek, Paquetá make Derby debut: Milan’s raved about January signings have made immediate impacts on the club’s UCL objective, with Piątek already scoring 6 goals in 7 league appearances and Paquetá’s dynamic play adding an element the XI had lacked since Giacomo Bonaventura went down. The €70m-combined duo will make their Derby della Madonnina debuts on Sunday with intentions of announcing themselves by turning in big time performances.
Donnarumma seeks redemption: No longer a ‘teenage sensation’ after turning 20 last month, Gianluigi Donnarumma has long awaited the opportunity to step between the pipes and redeem himself from the 1-0 derby defeat earlier in the campaign where his poor positioning left him exposed for Icardi to steal the win in the 92nd minute. Since that match, the Italian has been in sensational form and largely to credit for Milan’s stellar defensive record. Look for Gigio to come up big with a key save or two, and earn redemption.
Spotlight on Martínez: Much has been made about the ongoing drama surrounding Icardi who is not only absent from the squad, but could perhaps be watching his final Milan Derby as an Inter player. Argentine striker Lautaro Martínez will once again spearhead the attack with the chance to mirror the controversial Icardi’s exploits as he makes his debut in this fixture. Sunday is Inter’s most important match of the season, and the spotlight turns on the 21-year old who could stake his claim as the replacement longterm.
Romagnoli vs Škriniar: Widely considered two of the top central defenders in Italy, and all of Europe for that matter, Alessio Romagnoli and Milan Škriniar will meet again. Both have highly-defensive fanbases (no pun intended) who continue to make their arguments for why one is better than the other. Although the two won’t have many head-to-head battles tomorrow night, Romagnoli and Škriniar will be indirectly fighting for bragging rights and Serie A supremacy as the league’s top young defender.
Spalletti’s job hangs in the balance: Luciano Spalletti is largely to blame for Inter spiraling out of control and down the table, as the performances have left much to be desired since the turn of the calendar year. The Tuscan tactician not only had his side eliminated from the Europa League midweek, but now confronts a rejuvenated Milan who would love nothing more than to administer a crushing blow and turn the temperature up on his hot seat. With rumors of a Jose Mourinho return swirling about Italian media, the outcome of Sunday’s derby could ultimately decide Spalletti’s fate moving forward.
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