Spalletti battling for survival as Inter try to save face against Milan

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“The derby is always the derby, it makes you feel strong emotions even if I was even more motivated for games against Juventus. All of the wins against Milan were good, even the 4-0 which I spent on the bench. The Rossoneri have toughened up because Gattuso snarls on the bench and makes it look like they’re playing with 12. Piątek fights for every ball but he scores as part of the team thanks to everyone. Our guys will know what to do.” Those were the words of former Nerazzurri defender Marco Materazzi, who spoke to Inter TV about what it meant for him to feature in the Derby Milano during his playing career. Continue reading

Spalletti in defiant mood ahead of Derby Milano

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Luciano Spalletti held his traditional pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s Derby della Madonnina between AC Milan and Inter. Here is what the Nerazzurri coach said to the journalists who gathered at the Suning Training Centre yesterday afternoon: Continue reading

Spalletti demanding great Inter performance versus Frankfurt

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Luciano Spalletti held his traditional pre-match press conference ahead of Inter’s UEFA Europa League last 16 match against Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow night. Here is what the 60-year-old tactician had to say: “We must focus on this game in front of us rather than the league. It’s a knockout tie, therefore, I expect something great, with that added bit extra on an individual level. The players are aware that this is a crucial moment.” Continue reading

Marotta non-committal on Icardi’s Inter future

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Beppe Marotta was interviewed by Sky Sport prior to Inter’s 2-0 victory over SPAL this afternoon. Inevitably, the Nerazzurri’s CEO sport was asked about Mauro Icardi’s future at the club, with the Argentine refusing to train despite being given the all-clear by medical staff at Appiano Gentile. Here is what the former Sampdoria and Juventus transfer guru had to say on the matter: Continue reading

Professional Inter display should set tone for Frankfurt and Milan

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“There aren’t many games left and every result is vital as we pursue our goals. Could this week be a turning point? I expect the team to adapt to every situation. As we’ve said before, a number of players allow us to always put out the best Inter team and that’s how it will be in the upcoming games. We need to understand what we have to do and where we need to go. At some points this season, we could have done better but we did very well at other points and the team has always shown that it has the desire to move forward.” Continue reading

Spalletti delighted by Inter’s second half performance against SPAL

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Luciano Spalletti spoke to the media in the aftermath of Inter’s comfortable 2-0 victory over SPAL this afternoon. Here is what he had to say: “Despite our absences, 11 players worthy of Inter headed out onto the pitch today. We struggled a bit with the emotions at the start and this must not happen. We knew we had to win and once our fire started to burn inside then we broke the deadlock and went on to win. We were a bit timid and insecure during the first half. The lads had a different conviction after our second goal and we were back in possession of our characteristics. In the second half, I could see what we were really about. Continue reading

Chievo vs. AC Milan: Team news, match facts and prediction

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On Saturday evening, Chievo will host third-placed AC Milan at the Stadio Bentegodi, with the guests looking to grab what should be considered as a routine win, given the record between the two teams. 

However, with Gattuso’s men being under pressure to keep their spot in third place, there will no longer be any easy games this season, at least so it seems. The Champions League race is incredibly tight, which Inter got first-hand experience of last week, dropping from third to fourth place after their away loss to Cagliari.

With that said, tomorrow’s game will be crucial for AC Milan, considering that the derby is up next. Only one point separates the two sides, making the coming weeks interesting from a neutral perspective, though it will be nerve-wracking for the respective fans.

Team News

Gattuso is expected to make four changes to the starting eleven, starting with two changes at the back. Conti will replace Calabria on the right flank, while Rodriguez is out due to suspension. In his place, Laxalt will start from the first minute.

Bakayoko will also be given some much-needed rest, following several weeks of intense matching. Biglia, who’s recently returned from injury, will replace the Frenchman. Other than that, the midfield will stay intact, with Kessie and Paqueta completing the trio.

Up front, the last change will be made. Suso and Piatek will, of course, play from start, but Calhanoglu is expected to be on the bench, having been in Germany earlier this week to see his new-born baby. The Turk will most likely be replaced by Castillejo, although Borini remains an alternative.

Likely AC Milan XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Conti, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Laxalt; Kessie, Biglia, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Castillejo.

Likely Chievo XI (4-3-1-2): Sorrentino; Depaoli, Bani, Barba, Jaroszynski; Leris, Diousse, Hetemaj; Giacherini; Stepinski, Meggiorini.

Match Facts

Looking at the stats and facts ahead of the game, Milan are clear favourites, having won 21 of their last 24 games against Chievo. Down below are the top five facts.

1. Milan have won 21 of their last 24 Serie A games against Chievo (three draws) and have not lost a league match with the Gialloblu since December 2005 (2-1 at the Bentegodi).
2. During the first 13 games in Serie A this season, Milan faced, on average, 12.5 shots per match (17 goals conceded), while over the last 13 matches, the average number of shots faced has been 12.1 (only five goals conceded).
3. Chievo (85 mins) have lead for the fewest number of minutes at home in Serie A this season, while Milan (73 mins) have trailed for the fewest in away matches in the competition in 2018-19.
4. Milan sit third in Serie A after 26 matches; the last time they held such a high position in the table during the second half of the season was back in 2012-13.
5. Milan have won each of their last five Serie A games against Chievo, scoring at least three goals each time, but have never kept a clean sheet either.

Prediction

As mentioned previously, this shouldn’t be a tough game for Milan. As long as they don’t underestimate Chievo, then they should be in the clear, although the performance will have to be significantly better than the one we saw against Sassuolo. If they can recover from that narrow win, then 3-1 (in Milan’s favour) is likely.

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What to Watch For: Chievo vs Milan

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On Saturday, Gennaro Gattuso’s flaming hot Milan side pay last place Chievo a visit at the Bentegodi with the goal of keeping the win streak alive and maintaining momentum heading into next weekend’s Derby della Madonnina.

The Rossoneri enter the tie having won four in a row during an overall nine-match unbeaten run, while the Flying Donkeys just look to play spoiler down the stretch here sitting in 20th.

Here is what you should be watching for in Chievo vs Milan: Continue reading

Spalletti more than satisfied by Inter’s performance in Frankfurt

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Luciano Spalletti spoke to Sky Sport in the aftermath of Inter’s goalless draw against Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League last 16 tie. Here is what he had to say: “I must praise the guys because they played with authority and personality, making an impact on the game. It wasn’t easy here. In these types of matches, qualification is fought for over 180 minutes. Only the second leg result will determine if this 0-0 is a positive result. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Predictions – Round 27

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Juventus-Udinese: despite being under siege for the whole second half, the Bianconeri survived in Napoli and further broaden their lead atop of the standings. Despite the results in the domestic league, where they have won four in a row and seven in the last eight and are still undefeated, the squad seems to be trending down in the last couple of weeks. The Zebrette are coming off two massive wins over Chievo and Bologna, which allowed them to jump to the 15th position and move seven points clear of the final three spots. Miralem Pjanic and Joao Cancelo are suspended and coach Massimiliano Allegri is expected to heavily rotate the squad ahead of the second leg with Atletico Madrid, but they are not particularly deep. Continue reading