The Milan Derby | or The derby della Madonnina has always been regarded as the greatest spectacle in Italian football. Let’s face the truth though: Over the past 3 years the Derby della Madonnina has lost its shine as Juventus and Roma have overtaken as the dominant forces in Italy.
However, no matter what the occasion is, the Milan derby is one of the most awaited games when the schedules are out at the beginning of the season. This Sunday night as Milan host Inter in a sold out San Siro, both teams will fight for a similar cause. A win for either team would invigorate either team to finally kick-start their campaign for a Champions league berth for next season.
The Milan Derby: Five key talking points
Lack of glamour but win-win situation for both teams: Well, lets face it, the encounter will lack glamour but the 90 minutes will deliver tension and drama. Milan had a good start to the season but their recent slump in form has seen them stand seventh in the standings with 17 points from 11 games. Inter are a point behind at ninth, but both the teams are in touching distance of third placed. A win for either side will see their confidence running sky high as they can build on the result to finish the upcoming busy year end schedule on a high. Thus in a no hold barred clash, expect both teams to go for the full three points.
Return of Mancini against the still learning Filippo Inzaghi: Mancini’s arrival surely means that Inter will change from their 3-5-2 formation to a more compact 4-3-1-2 diamond. The Milan derby might not be the greatest of stage to take charge but, expect Mancini to get the best out of the occasion. A tactical battle is set to commence as Inzaghi is expected to ask Giacomo Bonaventura to drop a little deep and field a midfield four rather than a 4-3-3 setup. This will aid Milan controlling possession and not leave the defense exposed to counter attacks.
A young midfield duel to shape result: Nigel De Jong and Keisuke Honda would be the crux of the Milan team in midfield beside Sulley Muntari or Giacomo Bonaventura but Marco Van Ginkel could make a real impact in the big clash. The on loan Chelsea youngster is brilliant at manipulating spaces and we might see him in the starting eleven for a more creative blend in play. On the other side, Inter will hold their aces with Kovacic playing the trequartista role just behind the the anticipates two strikers up front. Expect either of the two youngsters to make a telling impact.
Milan can count on El Shaarawy and Alex: The 22-year-old Stephan El Shaarawy is set to be Inzaghi’s first name on the team-sheet. The youngster is fit and would be raring to go to make an impact. Milan will have an advantage with the Pharaoh making direct runs towards the Inter defense. If that isn’t enough Brazilian defender Alex is fit again and will be in line for contention for a starting eleven spot.
Will past history come into effect: In the last five Milan derbies, the Rossoneri have only won once and drawn twice. Inter however will be looking to seek revenge on Milan’s 1-0 win in May. Nigel De Jong scored the solitary goal in the encounter and by the look of things we expect a cagey encounter, with not so much of a free flowing football. However, fans would pray its doesn’t get scrappy but one question remains. Will we see an Italian scoring the winner?
As Nemanja Vidic says, “Win Milan Derby, no matter how.” Who will grab the headlines on Monday morning?