The long-awaited day has finally come. This evening, AC Milan will take on their city rivals Inter at the San Siro, looking to please their fans with a derby win for the first time 2016 (in Serie A).
Gattuso’s men are enjoying a run of very good form, having won their last five Serie A games. However, tonight’s test will be one of the toughest of the season, given how much is at stake in a derby, especially in tonight’s edition.
The importance of this game certainly reflects Gattuso’s choices in the starting eleven. After the likes of Biglia, Castillejo, Conti and Laxalt got the chances from start against Chievo, Milan will now revert back to their usual line-up.
Rodriguez is back from suspension, which could prove to be key for the Rossoneri. Bakayoko was given some much-needed rest last time out, and thus he should perfectly ready for this clash.
Up front, Calhanoglu is back from start after attending the birth of his first child last week, although he did come on in the second half against Chievo, making a great impression. Hopefully, we can see more like that from the Turk, who along with Paqueta will be decisive on the left flank.
Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Calhanoglu.
Inter, on the other hand, haven’t been as good lately. A draw against Fiorentina and a loss against Cagliari cost them dearly, as Milan were able to pounce on the opportunity, overtaking the third place. Just this week, the Nerazzurri were also eliminated from the Europa League, losing to Eintracht Frankfurt at home.
Their former captain, Icardi, won’t feature in tonight’s clash as his row with the club continues. Certainly a boost for Milan, though Lautaro Martinez has proven to be a capable replacement. However, in the derbies, Icardi has always been lethal, as displayed last time out.
Likely Inter XI (4-3-3): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Skriniar, Asamoah; Gagliardini, Brozovic, Vecino; Politano, L.Martinez, Perisic.
Looking at the stats, it’s safe to say that Inter are narrow favourites to win tonight’s encounter. However, trends don’t last forever, and Gattuso’s men will be hoping to capitalize on the opportunity. Take a look at the top five stats below.
1. This will be the 170th Milan derby in Serie A; the Nerazzurri have won twice and drawn three of the meetings since the Rossoneri last won, back in January 2016 (3-0).
2. AC Milan have failed to score in their last two Milan derbies in Serie A: only twice in the history of the competition have the Rossoneri failed to find the net in three consecutive games against Inter (the last time was between 1979 and 1981).
3. In all competitions, AC Milan are unbeaten in their last six Milan derbies as host team (W3, D3); the last time they lost was back in October 2012 (0-1).
4. In 2019, Inter have picked up just 11 points in eight games in Serie A (W3 D2 L3), nine less than AC Milan have managed (20: W6, D2); only Juventus have picked up more points than the Rossoneri this calendar year (22)
5. AC Milan have won their last five Serie A games – they have not won six consecutive matches in the competition since 2006 (9).
As most of us know, it’s always tough to predict a derby, simply because form never seems to matter when the two sides face-off. However, ahead of this one, most Milan fans will feel confident enough to predict a win, and I’m one of those. With that said, it certainly won’t be easy for the Rossoneri, and we can expect them to concede at least a goal, despite their defensive form.
AC Milan 2-1 Inter