Highly-anticipated Derby della Madonnina between city rivals Inter Milan and AC Milan opens the Saturday’s match programme in Serie A with two great rivals heading into the clash in contrasting forms.
Inter looking to bounce back
Inter Milan’s gradual dip in form resulted in Stefano Pioli’s men recording an eventful 2-2 draw at Torino, before succumbing to back-to-back defeats, which saw them surrender their sixth place in the standings exactly to city rivals AC Milan. Having been beaten 2-1 at home by Sampdoria, Nerazzurri went on to record a disappointing 2-1 defeat at the hands of lowly Crotone. Relegations strugglers fired two quick first-half goals to frustrate the favourites, who were unable to get back in the match despite cutting the deficit through Ambrosio. The forthcoming fixture against city rivals holds great importance as Inter look to bounce back from their most recent slump, but it will be easier said than done considering that Inter are running low on confidence. Derby della Madonnina can also be one of the last games for Stefano Pioli who is at serious risk of losing his job. The new owners have already started compiling an ambitious list of possible names which includes Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, but Hull City boss Marco Silva as well.
Stefano Pioli will be able to field his strongest team against AC Milan as there are no absentees ahead of this highly-anticipated clash. Midfielder Roberto Gagliardini’s involvement in the clash is under doubt due to his ankle injury.
AC Milan continues European pursuit
As Rossoneri still wait for the big news regarding the club sale, which is reported to be drawing to a close with the head of the investment group already in the city of Milano to conclude a deal, Vincenzo Montella’s men need to focus on their own agenda as pursuit of European places continues. AC Milan have been somewhat inconsistent over the past few months in the league, but they have nevertheless managed to bounce back from the three-match losing run back in January and improve their chances of making it into top 4. Milan are currently sitting in sixth place in the standings, two points behind Atalanta in fifth and three points adrift from Lazio in fourth. Champions League is an unachievable ideal for Rossoneri, who are going through a transitional period and will be more than happy to settle for the consolation prize. A possible win over city rivals would provide AC Milan with important three points and a massive morale boost for Montella’s young side at a crucial period of the season. AC Milan’s chances in the derby will be put to a stern test as Rossoneri are having several key selection issues.
Montella will be without Ignazio Abate who is suffering from a head injury, whereas Andrea Bertolacci is ruled out with a thigh problem. Additionally, Giacomo Bonaventura is having muscle problems while Mario Pasalic is suspended for the occasion.
Rossoneri have an upper hand on the city rivals as they have recorded three consecutive Derby della Madonnina wins that will have provided them with an important morale boost. Montella’s men are enjoying a more successful run of form and should be able to inflict another huge blow to under-pressure Stefano Pioli.
Top pick: AC Milan 3.75 (11/4) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Under 2.5 goals 2.30 (13/10) @Betfair
Alternative pick 2: Draw/AC Milan 8.00 (7/1) @Betvictor