It’s derby-day on Sunday in the fashion capital of Europe, as Milan host city rivals Inter in the “Derby della Madonnina”
MILAN DESPERATE TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT IN DERBY RETURN
Back in September, Milan lost the big city derby 1-0 in a game they deserved to take something from; now the fans want revenge and they want it on Sunday evening in part II of the “Derby della Madonnina.” Too many draws in recent weeks, despite a good showing in the capital against Roma, have again asked questions about coach Sinisa Mihajlovic’s future and he will be all too aware that a win against his team’s biggest rivals, will buy him more time in the hot seat. January is always a difficult month with the transfer window causing unwanted distractions. Milan have had their fair share, such as Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano, who headed off to China to join the soccer revolution enveloping the country, before promptly deciding it wasn’t for him and quickly hot-footing it back to Milan. A point away to Empoli last weekend and a narrow 1-0 Coppa Italia semi-final first-leg triumph over Lega Pro side Alessandria on Tuesday have not done much to stifle the criticism being aimed at Mihajlovic; a win on Sunday however, will make it safer for him to walk the streets in the short-term.
MANCINI BLAMES HIS STRIKERS AFTER CARPI DRAW
There’s not much harmony being shown by Inter fans towards their coach Roberto Mancini either, after the nerazzurri were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Carpi last weekend. A late, late goal from the visitors, courtesy of the wonderfully named Kevin Lasagne had social media going into meltdown with references to one of Italy’s most famous dishes. Mancini was not amused however, and afterwards he accused his forwards of wasting golden opportunities to score stating that despite himself being 51 years of age, he would have had no problem getting on the score-sheet. His mood will not have improved in mid-week, after Inter were taken apart by Juventus in the first-leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final in Turin. What looked two months ago like a genuine title contender, now looks like a side whose Champions League qualification is in serious doubt. The best football betting sites currently offer odds of *2.37 for them to achieve this.
After his round-the-world trip, Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano could be in the starting line-up for Milan on Sunday alongside Colombian Carlos Bacca. Young frontman M’Baye Niang, after rejecting a move to Leicester City this week, may have to settle for a place on the substitute’s bench alongside the mid-week match winner, Mario Balotelli. Mihajlovic’s other main selection headache will be in midfield where it looks to be a straight choice between Keisuke Honda and Juraj Kucka. Long term absentees remain Jeremy Menez, Diego Lopez and Rodrigo Ely.
Inter’s new signing Eder may be thrust straight into action on Sunday (subject to completing his medical) in a front-three alongside Mauro Icardi (*5.50 on the best betting websites to open the scoring on Sunday) and Adem Ljajic. Stevan Jovetic may have to settle for a starting berth on the substitute’s bench. Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic picked up an injury in last weekend’s draw with Carpi and is unlikely to be involved.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Milan (4-4-2) Donnarumma; Antonelli, Alex, Romagnoli, Abate; Buonaventura, Bertolacci, Montolivo, Kucka; Bacca, Luiz Adriano
Inter (4-3-3) Handanovic; Telles, Murillo, Miranda, D’Ambrosio; Kondogbia, Medel, Brozovic; Ljajic, Icardi, Eder
HEAD TO HEAD
Milan’s record in recent derby meetings is not good, having only won two of the last ten league encounters between the two. Inter come into Sunday’s game having won the last two meetings against their city rivals. Goals may be hard to find on Sunday also, with neither team having scored more than one goal in the last seven derby matches. This fixture has been relatively kind to the match officials in recent times, with the last four Serie A meetings failing to produce a red card.
Milan 2.40 Draw 3.30 Inter 3.00
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)