Inter Milan vs. AC Milan: Serie A Derby Preview and Opinion

Matteo BonettiContributor IFebruary 23, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 15:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan looks on before during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Parma FC at San Siro Stadium on February 15, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

It's a complete reversal of fortunes for the two Milan-based sides. Inter has floundered in the league as of late, having only won one of their last five Serie A matches. A lackluster January transfer window also added gloom, as the Nerazzurri stockpiled more mediocre players alongside unproven youth while selling experienced veterans like Wesley Sneijder for pennies. 

On the other side of the San Siro, Milan has had a massive transformation. They had the worst start in franchise history to their Serie A campaign, almost touching the lower depths of the relegation zone. Now, they sit comfortably in third place and are coming off one of the most dramatic wins of the year, as they defeated mighty Barcelona at home in the Champions League.

It'll be interesting to see how Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano are perceived by rabid faithfuls on each side of the Curva. Both of them had significant fallouts with their former clubs and are openly loathed by many of the Ultras. 

If the Rossoneri can capture a win against Inter, their fans can enjoy one of the greatest weeks in recent years. Mauling both the most formidable team in the world (Barcelona) and their bitter rivals in the span of five days would most likely catapult the squad into a mental state of temporary invincibility.

Milan would be in first place if the season started 15 games ago, and are running on all cylinders as their recent signing of Mario Balotelli has been nothing short of clinical, scoring four goals in his first three games wearing the red and black kit. 

Meanwhile, Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni is in hot water after succumbing to a 4-1 mauling by Fiorentina last week, and has begun to draw some criticism despite the backing of the players. In a league where coaching changes happen as frequent as Cassano visits Krispy Kreme, the metaphorical axe dropping on the young coach before the end of the season is not unfathomable.

In what is one of the most pivotal Serie A matches to get a hold on the third spot in the league, Inter vs. Milan should provide no shortage of drama, controversy and perhaps a Cassanata or two.