Saturday, 17 October 2020
Inter Milan face Milan in the first Derby della Madonnina of the season on Saturday in what promises to be an exciting clash in the biggest game of the season so far.
The historic clash will however be without its fair share of pomp and colour that have made it a must watch fixture. Due to Covid-19 restrictions and safety measures, only 1000 fans will be allowed at the San Siro to watch the greats of Italian football.
To see the game reduced to such will be a sad sight for millions of fans. The derby is usually more than a fixture. It is a rivalry par excellence despite them being overthrown off the top of the league in recent years by rampant Juventus.
On paper, Milan look the better of the two sides having started the leagues on a high with three straight wins against modest opposition to sit top of the Serie A table in its early days. They have also progressed to the next Europa League round albeit nervously against Portuguese side Rio Ave.
Few however consider Milan as true title contenders despite emerging as brilliant since football resumed after the lockdown in Italy.
The Nerazzurri on the other hand have been wracked by the virus with several key players missing out after testing positive including defender Ashley Young. The club is also sweating on the availability of Alessandro Bastoni, one of Antonio Conte’s defensive pillars, to be cleared to play.
Their preparations have further been thrown in disarray with late arrivals of their South American stars Alexis Sanchez, Lautaro Martinez and new arrival Arturo Vidal from international duty in the two week break.
Conte will however comfort themselves with the evergreen attacking duo of Romelu Lukaku and Martinez expected to find the net no matter what.
Inter have had two wins from two with a still perfect record. Conte was handed a major boost after Lukaku was reported to have recovered from a muscle injury.
The hosts have added to their midfield prowess with the acquisition of Arturo Vidal and the returns of Radja Nainggolan and Ivan Perisic who comes from a treble winning campaing at European champions Bayern Munich .
They also have on their flanks Achraf Hakimi, a much anticipated arrival from Real Madrid.
The visitors have talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic on their ranks as he looks to compound misery on his former employer on the path to making it four straight victories. He recently became the oldest player in Serie A history to reach double figures of goals within 6 months.
The Rossoneri however have significant defensive issues at hand with Leo Duarte, Mateo Musacchio, Andrea Conti and Matteo Gabbia all expected to miss.
We expect to see a defence of Donnarumma, Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli and Hernandez to keep Lukaki and co at bay in this fiery derby.
Head to Head:
Inter have won 18 of 34 past meetings, losing 10 and drawing six.