Who clinches the points in the "Derby Della Madonina"?
Once again, the Giuseppe Meazza/San Siro (to appease both sets of fans) will witness a massive Milan derby between "Il Nerrazzurri" and "Il Rossonerri". With 4 points between them at the table, this is definitely a title decider, in the sense that the win for either side will change the complexion of how the race will shape.
AC Milan - This might be the last chance for Pioli
Starting with the nominal guests in this one, this is undoubtedly Milan's last chance. Their form has been decent, albeit some results could have made this game even tighter if it has gone their way. Mainly, the loss against Spezia and the goalless draw against Juventus just put the brakes on their chase. However this match is a perfect opportunity to gain serious ground on their opponents.
Milan's record as of late against Inter doesn't read well though, since they have only won once in the last 10 meetings, lost 6 and failed to keep more than a single clean sheet dating back to a 0-0 draw in April 2018. This record is subjectively awful, yet as usual per these games previous form is thrown out of the window.
Generally speaking, AC Milan's season has been very good so far, considering the bumps they had to go through. A very tough Champions League group had its toll on the red side of the Lombardia district, as well as (now normal) other circumstances like COVID and all weakened the squad and affected their performances. Overall, AC Milan have a decent squad albeit yet below Inter's, but they managed to get the best out of it and form a solid system that is very collective and youth-driven with the likes of Salamaekers, Leao, Diaz and Co. showing their skills and craft when needed.
Statistically speaking, AC Milan boast good records on both sides. Offensively, they are the second strongest attack right behind Saturday's opponents, scoring 47 goals against 53 for Inter. The good thing about it (in a way), is that goals come from everywhere, with Zlatan, Kessie, Leao, Giroud, and the others contributing immensely. Defensively though, they are a bit flawed, easily due to missing several defenders throughout the season and also a lack of defensive cohesion between midfield and defense at times.
Playing style wise, Milan will definitely try and sting their opponents on the counter. They have enough quick and skillful players to execute that plan. Hopefully for them they don't break quickly since the likeliest scenario is Inter dominating the game and pinning Milan in their own box.
Inter - "Don't fix something that is not broken"
On the blue side of the fence, stands Inter Milan, favorites and clear leaders for a 2nd scudetto in a row. Aside from the draw against Atalanta, Inter Milan have been going smoothly about their season racking up points and advantage in the title race.
Just like mentioned before, Inter come with a very positive H2H record against Milan, which while it asserts some sense of superiority it can also creep a sense of arrogance and complacency. That doesn't mean of course that Inter will be complacent, because that will be very costly for Simone Inzaghi.
Most people predicted for Inter to fade even a little, as Lukaku, Hakimi, and crucially, Antonio Conte all left the club after winning the scudetto last season. Simone Inzaghi took the charge at the club afterwards under initial skepticism (me included) of how he will handle this job, but he was certainly up to the task. He kept the same shape, unsurprisingly, since it was his same setup at Lazio before. He, similar to Nagelsmann with Bayern, added more pragmatism to what Conte was offering before him, and implemented more discipline and game managment skills to that side.
Their stats speak of domination, strongest attack as well as 2nd strongest defense. They might not have the top scorer, but they still scored an impressive 53 goals. They seem to have the deepest and most complete squad, that was bolstered by the brilliant signing of Robin Gosens from Atalanta. Add that to the array of options they have, the dynamic midfield trio with former Milan man Calhanoglu being the creator flanked by Barella and Brozovic, and leading the line with Dzeko who didn't make the fans miss Lukaku at all.
Expectedly, Inter Milan would try to dominate possession and pin AC Milan to their defense, and not allow them any counter attacking opportunities in any case of committing a big number forward. They will rely in a big way on the speed of their wing backs, as well as the big work-ethic and creativity in their midfield.
Inter : Robin Gosens and Joaquin Correa are the only two players missing for Inter and they will return soon but not before the first leg of their UCL tie against Liverpool. Brozovic and Lautaro Martinez are facing riskof suspension as both on 4 yellow cards.
AC Milan : Simon Kjaer and Fikayo Tomori are long term misses for Pioli, as well as Zlatan with tendon Issues , Rebic with ankle issues, and Fode Ballo Toure who still on AFCON duties with Senegal. Theo Hernandez is on 4 yellows and could be suspended if he picks up another booking on Saturday.
Inter: Handanovic (GK) (C) - De Vrij - Bastoni - Skriniar - Brozovic - Barella - Calhanoglu - Perisic - Darmian - Dzeko - Martinez.
AC Milan: Maignan (GK) - Gabbia - Kalulu - Florenzi - T.Hernandez (C) - Kessie - Bennacer - Diaz - Salamaekers - Leao - Giroud.
My Prediction: It will be a tense and tight game as all derbies tend to be, but I feel that Inter's depth and qualities give them a slight advantage, thus i predict a 2-1 Inter win.
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