The 295th edition of the storied Derby della Madonnina between AC Milan and Inter Milan kicks off on the evening of September 22nd. Inter are looking to stand firm at the top of the league. Milan, on the other hand, are still trying to climb up after their poor performance and loss on the opening day. The last meeting, on March 17th earlier this year, was a shoot-out in a 3-2 Inter victory. The Derby della Madonnina always bring the fireworks and expect no less this weekend.
Derby della Madonnina Preview
Inter enter the game in great form in Serie A. They’ve won all three of their matches and have only conceded one goal. They haven’t played a truly noteworthy opponent and it hasn’t been the prettiest, but they’re getting the job done in that they’re securing three points.
This week, however, saw a disappointment in the Champions League. Inter were heavy favourites in a match at home versus Slavia Prague. Instead, the Czech side played a very even game where Inter needed a stoppage-time goal from Nicolò Barella to secure a draw. Slavia Prague managed to maintain 45 per cent of ball possession throughout the match, and registered twelve total shots including five on target. Perhaps it was a bump on the road, or an indication that Inter has been cruising versus lower-shelf opposition.
Milan have won two matches in a row. It still seems like it’s doom and gloom surrounding the Rossoneri side, however. They barely clawed their way past two newly promoted sides, Brescia and Hellas Verona, in their last two matches. The last match versus Verona was also won through a penalty decision.
Wins are still wins, however. The team can come into the game with some confidence, knowing they’ve (barely) done the job the last couple weeks. Krzysztof Piątek also ended his goal-scoring drought with the penalty last week, indicating that he might be on his way to returning to form.
Players to watch
Inter’s break out star thus far has been midfielder Stefano Sensi. The Italian is the ideal player for manager Antonio Conte’s system and will look to pull the strings versus a currently subpar Milan midfield. Romelu Lukaku should also be excited for his first city derby with his new squad. A goal-scoring performance will have his name back in world football’s headlines. Lastly, Milan Škriniar will have his hands full with Piątek. Inter’s success rides on the Slovakian’s performances.
On the other side of the San Siro, Piątek will be the most important player. Milan is starving for goals this season, and Piątek’s track-record in Italy shows that he should fix this. A goal in the derby is just what he needs to get his season really started. Suso is another major factor. Everything Milan does going forward runs through Suso, so ultimately he indicates the team’s success. The Spaniard tends to save some of his best performances for the derby. Lastly, like Škriniar for Inter, Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli will be tasked with handling the opposition’s main goal threat in Lukaku. Romagnoli bleeds red and black and will hope to be ready for his biggest challenge of the season yet.
Derby della Madonnina prediction
Milan still haven’t figured out their identity under new manager Marco Giampaolo. This, in addition to big summer signings like Ismaël Bennacer and Ante Rebić still not being fully integrated into the squad, creates a shadow of doubt surrounding the derby.
Inter, on the other hand, are showing signs of perfecting Conte’s approach of results over style. Sure, there was this week’s bump in the road, but this could be attributed to Inter looking ahead to the weekend. Anything can happen during a derby, but I Nerazzurri should come out on top.
Prediction: 2-1 Inter Milan.