AC Milan enters this fixture in third place and just one point above rivals Inter Milan with both teams vying for the Champions League spots.
The two giants of Milan square off for the Derby della Madonnia at the San Siro on March 18. Hosts AC Milan enter this fixture in third place and just one point above rivals Inter Milan, with both teams vying for the Champions League spots.
In the reverse fixture, Inter emerged as winners, thanks to a stoppage time goal from talisman Mauro Icardi on October 22. However, much has changed since then with Icardi not playing for over a month due to a standoff with the owners over a contract renewal.
AC Milan on the other hand have made a great start to 2019 by picking up 23 points from a possible 30, which reignites their hopes of making it into next season’s Champions League.
The signing of Krzysztof Piatek from Genoa is one of the major reasons for the spectacular turnaround for Milan. The Polish striker has already matched Gonzalo Higuain’s Serie A tally of 6 goals which were scored in the first-half of the season, and is expected to double that total by the end of the season. The 23-year-old has definitely proven to be the lethal finisher that Milan were lacking all season.
Inter on the other hand have been struggling, picking up just 11 points from their previous 8 matches in the Serie A. They were even dumped out of the Europa League in midweek following a 1-0 defeat to minnows Eintracht Frankfurt.
Off the pitch, things aren’t looking good for Inter with reports suggesting that manager Luciano Spalleti will be axed by the end of the season. The long-standing rift with their star player Icardi isn’t helping matters too. Icardi has been out of action with complaints of a knee problem despite the team doctors giving him the all clear. The Argentinean has five goals in 10 Milan derbies including scoring the winner in two of the last three derby ties.
A win for AC Milan will keep them within touching distance of Napoli in second position while a defeat will see rivals Inter Milan leapfrog them to occupy third spot by a two point margin. A defeat for Inter Milan however, could see them level on points with Roma, who are very much in contention for the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot on the table.
Tiemoue Bakayoko missed AC Milan’s 2-1 win over Chievo last weekend but could return to face Inter. Ricardo Rodriguez is also available for selection after missing the last game due to suspension and will most likely replace Diego Laxalt in the starting XI.
Winger Hakan Calhanoglu missed the match against Chievo as he flew to Germany to witness the birth of his child but will be expected to be in the starting XI against Inter.
For Inter Milan, it seems unlikely that Icardi will return for the derby tie. Marcelo Brozovic has been out with a muscular problem, but is expected to return along with Matias Vecino, who was serving a one-match suspension. Radja Nainggolan remains out over an injury.
AC Milan (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Bakayoko, Paqueta; Suso, Piatek, Calhanoglu.
Inter Milan (4-2-3-1): Handanovic; D'Ambrosio, Skriniar, De Vrij, Asamoah; Brozovic, Vecino; Politano, Joao Mario, Perisic; Martinez
Players to watch out for:
The Pole has transformed the fortunes of the club since completing his 30 million pounds signing in January. He has 8 goals in 8 starts for Milan and will be expected to pounce on any opportunity provided to him in his very first Milan derby.
The Croatian midfielder will be fit again to join the squad and Inter will be pleased to have him running the show from midfield. Inter haven’t lost a Serie A derby for the past 3 years, and will be hoping to maintain that record with Brozovic providing some much-needed solidity on midfield.
Form Guide: (all competitions – most recent first)
AC Milan: W W D W W
Inter Milan: L W D L D
Betting Odds: (Bet365)
AC Milan: 11/8
Inter Milan: 11/5
Other popular odds can be viewed on Oddschecker.
Where to watch:
The match will be beamed live on the Sony Pictures Sports Network, and will begin at 1.00 AM IST on March 18. Online users can catch the action live on the SonyLIV app.
Prediction:With Inter struggling for form in their recent games, we can expect them to sit back and absorb the pressure from AC Milan. However, Piatek has been in great form for the hosts and will be expected to make a strong impact in his first derby. A 2-0 win for AC Milan seems likely.