8 confirmed absentees for Milan derby

The Derby della Madonnina, otherwise known as the Milan Derby, is scheduled for Saturday evening as domestic football is set to return after the international break.

One of the biggest fixtures on the Italian football calendar, both Milan clubs have made a good start to the 2020-21 campaign - Stefano Pioli’s side joint top of Serie A with a maximum nine points, whilst Inter have only dropped points in their 1-1 draw away to Lazio.

However, both clubs have been hit with positive tests for COVID-19 over the past couple of days. Although it is understood that a postponement of the fixture is not at threat currently, neither club will want to lose any more players between now and the weekend.

AC Milan will be without Matteo Gabbia for the next two weeks after the centre-back tested positive whilst away with the Italian under-21 side. The 20-year-old had started all three league games this season, as Milan have yet to concede a single goal at the beginning of the 2020-21 campaign.

Leo Duarte is the only player who will be missing for Piole’s side this weekend due to self-isolation. Whilst the Brazilian has played just 18 minutes of football this season in one substitute appearance, he could have been a straight swap for Gabbia.

Internazionale are having a tough time over the past week as Ashley Young became the latest victim of the virus on Sunday. The former England international is now the sixth Inter player over the past five days to test positive.

However, Antonio Conte’s side can only request a postponement of a league fixture if 10 players test positive over a seven day period. Their first case dates back to 7 October.

That was Alessandro Bastoni, whilst fellow centre-back Milan Skriniar has also tested positive, which will be a huge blow to Conte’s back three. All three of the aforementioned Inter players have already made two league starts this season.

Stefan de Vrij currently remains available to the head coach, whilst summer signing Aleksandar Kolarov could be drafted into central defence for this weekend’s derby. We could even see a return of Andrea Ranocchia, such are a lack of options now available.

Central midfielders Roberto Gagliardini and Radja Nainggolan have also tested positive over the past couple of days, with backup goalkeeper Andrei Radu being the final name.

Conte has a wealth of central midfielders available to him, but Gagliardini in particular had made an excellent start to the new campaign. As a result, we could see Christian Eriksen in the starting lineup this weekend with the Dane having failed to hit the heights so far since his move from Tottenham Hotspur in January.

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