Sunday is derby day in the fashion capital of Europe, as Inter host city neighbours Milan in the Derby della Madonnina.
PERFECT START FOR THE NERAZZURRI
Two wins out of two for Roberto Mancini’s side has brought confidence flooding back to a team that seemed to have lost its way at the end of 2014-15. That the three goals scored by the team in its opening two matches have been by the same player, new summer signing Stevan Jovetić, has not detracted from the all-round improvement in the performances at the start of the new campaign (which has been reflected on the best online betting sites with Inter now priced at 2.00 to finish in a top three position). Last time out at Serie A new boys Carpi, Mancini’s side had to dig deep and just like in their opening day home win against Atalanta, their new Montenegrin striker came up with the goods in the dying minutes of the game. Now the focus turns to Sunday and the first real test of the season for Mancini’s new look side and a chance to claim early bragging rights against their city rivals.
MILAN LOOKING FOR A QUICK IMPROVEMENT
After an opening day humbling at Fiorentina, Milan got their season back on track with a less than convincing 2-1 home win against Empoli last time out. New Serbian coach Siniša Mihajlović would have been relieved rather than overjoyed at his team’s performance, but he will take heart from the impressive home debuts of strikers Carlos Bacca (favourite of many a football betting guide to end up as top Serie A goalscorer this season) and Luiz Adriano, who both got on the score sheet. During the international break, Mihajlović took his team to Mantova for a friendly game to have a look at some of the fringe players not involved with their respective countries and Mario Balotelli, newly arrived from Liverpool. If the game was meant to instill confidence in his remaining squad members then it backfired spectacularly with the coach explaining to reporters after the game that his side were nowhere near good enough at this present time. Now his first-choice players have returned from international duty, Mihajlović will hope that Sunday’s derby will see a vast improvement from their opening two outings.
Having signed four players close to transfer deadline day, it looks likely that two of them will start Sunday’s crunch encounter – Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo returns for his second spell at the club and should go straight into the heart of the midfield with former Roma player Adam Ljajić slotting straight into the forward line alongside Mauro Icardi and Jovetić. Croatian midfielder Ivan Perišić is likely to start from the substitute’s bench as is new Brazilian full-back Alex Telles.His fellow countrymen Dodô and João Miranda both look set to miss out through injury.
Milan will be without Italian international midfielder Andrea Bertolacci, who picked up a knock whilst on international duty and Italian defender Luca Antonelli, who is slowly making his way back to fitness after injury. French duo Philippe Mexès and Jérémy Ménez are also doubtful for Sunday’s clash as is young striker M’Baye Niang. Giacomo Bonaventura looks set to be preferred to Keisuke Honda once again in the number 10 role behind the strikers. Balotelli will be available if needed.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Inter (4-3-1-2) Handanovič; Santon, Ranocchia, Murillo, Juan Jesus; Guarin, Felipe Melo, Kondogbia; Ljajić; Jovetić Icardi
Milan (4-3-1-2) Diego Lopez; Abate, Zapata, Romagnoli, De Sciglio; Poli, De Jong, Kucka; Bonaventura; Bacca, Luiz Adriano
HEAD TO HEAD
The last 10 Serie A meetings between the two has Inter slightly ahead with four wins whilst Milan has three and there have been three draws. Both matches last season ended in a draw and Sunday night’s encounter (according to the best online betting sites) looks like it could be another close contest. Inter have scored over 2.5 goals in five of their last six matches league matches, Milan can boast the same but in eight of their last nine Serie A fixtures. Recent history suggests that Sunday’s clash will go against the recent form book however – The last two times this fixture ended in a victory; it was by a 1-0 scoreline.
Inter 2.20 Draw 3.30 Milan 3.40
*odds courtesy of Bet365
By Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)