A Preview Of Sunday’s Derby Between Inter And AC Milan

No sporting event in Milan is as emotionally captivating as the derby between Serie A giants Inter and AC Milan.

On Sunday night, Stadio San Siro will be filled with over 75 thousand Nerazzurri and Rossoneri fans, who are known for taking enormous pride in celebrating the derby victory in the face of their city rivals.

The game will coincidentally take place on the same day as last year’s derby, when the two Milan sides were neck-and-neck on top of the Serie A table.

That clash, which saw AC Milan triumph thanks to a brace by French center-forward Olivier Giroud, played a key role in the 2021/22 Scudetto race, which was eventually won by the Rossoneri.

The two sides have had to readjust their goals this season, as they are realistically too far to close the two-digit gap that separates them from league leaders Napoli.

Now, they must watch themselves from fierce competition for a top-four finish, which grants direct access to next year’s UEFA Champions League edition – and to its lucrative prize money. Inter, Lazio, Roma, Atalanta and AC Milan are currently standing within two points in the Serie A table, and all of these rosters are equipped to fight until the end of the season for a spot in Europe’s most prestigious tournament.

Inter have enjoyed better form than AC Milan leading up to this Serie A derby.

No longer than three weeks ago, they were crowned Italian Supercup champions after thrashing AC Milan with a sweeping 3-0 victory. They have also won both of their last two games, including the Coppa Italia knock-out tie that gave them access to the competition’s semi final.

The only upsetting news for the Nerazzurri is that their center-back and captain, Milan Skriniar, has agreed to join Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season. Because Skriniar’s contract is set to expire on June 30, 2023, Inter will have to painfully watch him leave without pocketing any transfer fee.

The Slovakia international will take charge of Infer’s defense on Sunday night in Simone Inzaghi’s three-man back line. Nicoló Barella and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will occupy the mezzala roles, while Edin Dzeko and 2022 FIFA World Cup winner Lautaro Martinez should form the offensive duo.

A win on Sunday would lift Inter five points over AC Milan in the Serie A table, thus pushing their city rivals down to sixth place and complicating their chances to finish among the league’s top four.

AC Milan are currently enduring one of their worst spells since head coach Stefano Pioli took over in 2019.

Their defense, which last season conceded a total of 31 goals, has already been beaten 29 times so far this year. Meanwhile, the team has been struggling to produce offensive threats, as some of AC Milan’s most representative players – including the 2021/22 Serie A MVP Rafael Leao – have shown a lack of sharpness in the final third.

Pioli has been the target of harsh criticism for AC Milan’s poor displays, which is why the derby represents an incredible opportunity to shift the team’s momentum and restore the confidence that recent games have eroded.

The AC Milan manager might switch the team system by discarding their trademarked 4-2-3-1 formation and opting for a 4-3-3 in which three midfielders should guarantee more defensive coverage. Sandro Tonali will occupy the regista position, with Junior Messias and Rade Krunic lining up on either side of the Italy international.

A full crowd will attend the highly-anticipated Milan derby at Stadio San Siro, as over 75 thousand spectators are ready to chant and animate the matchday atmosphere.

Inter will be the home side, meaning they are entitled to collect the largest chunk of the event’s revenue, including proceeds from ticketing and hospitality.

The high turnout should generate €5.8 million ($6.3m), Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport writes, and it will be Inter’s largest matchday income in Serie A since they battled Juventus in a pre-pandemic league fixture back in 2019.

Kick-0ff is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 5 at 8:45 p.m. local time, or 2:45 p.m. EST.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danieleproch/2023/02/04/a-preview-of-sundays-derby-between-inter-and-ac-milan/