Inter To Edge Out Milanese Rivals
AC Milan v Inter Milan
With both sides badly underperforming this season Sunday night’s Milan derby offers two giants of the Italian game an opportunity to make a statement of intent.
Milan have picked up just two wins in nine games after a promising start to the season which saw them earn maximum points from their opening two Serie A games. Filippo Inzaghi’s charges have now failed to claim victory in any of their last four games and scored just four times in the process, and only six at the San Siro in five home games since the beginning of the season. The Rossoneri lie seventh going into the weekend’s fixtures, eleven points adrift of leaders Juventus and struggling to hang onto the coat tails of Napoli, four points ahead in the final Champions League spot.
Keisuke Honda has struck six times for club in the league this term to lead their goalscoring charts although the Japanese international has failed to register in any of his last four.
The Nerazzurri languish in ninth place in the table having picked up just four wins and 16 points from eleven outings, with just two victories in eight and none in their last three. Their hugely underwhelming start saw boss Walter Mazzarri sacked following a 2-2 draw with Verona in their last game, with former boss Roberto Mancini quickly re-installed as manager at the club he led to a couple of Coppa Italia triumphs and three successive league titles from 2006 before leaving in 2008.
Only Carlos Tevez and Jose Callejon have scored more Serie A goals than Inter’s Mauro Icardi this season, with seven goals for the Italian striker to date.
Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong and Italian full-back Ignazio Abate are doubtful for Milan who are without Daniele Bonera following the defender’s red card in the 2-2 draw at Sampdoria a fortnight ago. Fernando Torres is expected to be on the bench as the Chelsea loanee has failed to make an impression since moving to Northern Italy in the summer, scoring just once in nine appearances.
Another former Premier League star, Nemanja Vidic, has also struggled in Milan since leaving Manchester United for Inter and could be demoted from the starting XI. Ex-Cardiff midfielder Gary Medel is suspended after the Chilean’s sending off against Verona while Yann M’Vila is a doubt with defenders Danilo D’Ambrosio and Hugo Campagnaro expected to miss out through injury.
Head to Head
The Milanese derbies of the past two years have largely reflected the greater fates of the protagonists with the drab, insipid and hugely forgettable encounters typical of so many matches involving average teams. There have been only five goals scored in the past four clashes while each club stuttered to a 1-0 win apiece in last season’s games in which they were nominally the home side, although Inter have come out on top in four of the past six. A 1-1 draw in February 2013 is the only occasion in the past 21 meetings between the clubs that has ended in stalemate while much of the drama come courtesy of indiscipline in recent years with 11 dismissals in the last 12 matches.
With so little to choose between the sides in terms of performances, points or discernible quality it’s no surprise to see them so close together in the match betting market either with Milan edging it at 8/5 and Inter out at 7/4.
The value is all with the Nerazzurri then as there’s no home advantage to speak of and they should be boosted by Mancini’s return, however briefly the novelty lasts.
Icardi stands out like a sore thumb in the goalscorers market at 5/1 to net first and 31/20 at any stage but I wouldn’t put anyone off the 23/10 on Honda to get on the scoresheet at any point either.