Best Odds: 11/5
Bookmakers: Bet 365
The Milan clubs will do battle in one of the fiercest derbies in world football on Sunday evening, but the contest will not likely decide who could run out as Serie A champions as it has done in some previous seasons. In this campaign it is Inter who are looking superior, and they hold a seven-point lead over their eternal rivals as they push for a Champions League spot. Milan meanwhile have been in stunning form recently, but still find themselves well off the pace down in seventh.
Many people saw sleeping giants AC Milan as a team that would finally undergo a resurgence and get back to challenging at the very top once again this season. The Rossoneri pulled off quite the coup by signing Juventus’ veteran central defender Leonardo Bonucci, as well as a whole host of other names including Andre Silva, Hakan Calhanoglu and Ricardo Rodriguez. Their new star-studded squad looked set to take the Serie A by storm, but it hasn’t really happened for Milan so far.
They currently sit seventh in the table, a whopping 25 points behind leaders Napoli, and, perhaps more importantly at this stage, seven points behind rivals Inter who occupy the last of the Champions League qualification spots. Milan have netted significantly fewer goals than all of the teams above them, with 37 so far in this campaign, and their 30 conceded puts them behind four of the top six in a defensive standpoint.
The Rossoneri’s struggles seem to have come as a result of the new players’ failure to gel, or find any good runs of form. Andre Silva for instance, their marquee forward signing, is still without a goal in the league this season, despite making 16 appearances. Admittedly 11 of those have come from the bench, but you would expect a striker of his quality to be bagging at least a few goals. Calhanoglu is another example as the Turskish international has just two goals and two assists in 21 Serie A appearances. Until their summer signings can find their feet, Milan will struggle to ascend the table.
Milan have a fully fit squad, aside from fullback Andrea Conti who likely won’t have recovered from his long-term cruciate ligament injury in time for this game
Compared to their eternal city rivals, Inter were slightly more restrained in the summer transfer window, but they have been far more successful in this Serie A campaign. The Nerazzurri currently occupy fourth spot, which puts them in position to grab qualification for next season’s Champions League, but they only have a narrow one-point lead over fifth place Roma.
With 42 goals scored and 21 conceded, Inter are statistically a much better side than Milan this season, but their goals scored tally pales in comparison to the top three teams. This is perhaps what has contributed to their tally of nine draws, which is more than any other team in the top eight, and five of their last eight Serie A games have ended level.
Inter do also have a tendency to lean on Mauro Icardi for their goals, which is by no means a bad thing when the talented marksman is fit. The Argentine hasn’t featured in their last four games however, and it is perhaps little surprise that they have won only two of those, losing one and drawing the other. Luciano Spalletti will be pleased to welcome Icardi back, not least because he has netted 18 league goals this season, but also because Inter now head into games against Milan, Napoli and Sampdoria, all of which will have a big impact on their race for a top four finish.
Inter also have very few absentees, with Tommaso Berni and Assane Gnoukouri the only players likely to miss out. Mauro Icardi will return for this high-profile clash.
Key Factors to Consider
- Milan are unbeaten in their last 13 games across all competitions.
- The Rossoneri have only scored 19 times in that stretch of games however, and four have been draws.
- Inter have lost just one of their last eight games in the Serie A.
- Five of those eight games have been draws however, including four 1-1 results.
- The previous meeting between the sides ended in a 1-0 win for Milan in the Coppa Italia quarter-final.
Milan were the winners in this game last time the two teams met, and it was a narrow victory, but with the success of Inter this season it is hard to rule them out of any game. With all to play for in the race for Champions League and Europa League places, I can see this being a hard-fought draw that won’t really help either side.
Best Odds: 11/5
Bookmakers: Bet 365
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