How AC Milan Will Line Up Against Inter Milan

Matteo Bonetti@@TheCalcioGuyContributor IDecember 20, 2013

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan (L) and Javier Zanetti of FC Inter Milan speak during the Serie A match FC Internazionale Milano and AC Milan at San Siro Stadium on February 24, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Marco Amelia, Matias Silvestre, Stephan El Shaarawy, Robinho, Valter Birsa, Ignazio Abate, Urby Emanuelson and Riccardo Montolivo.

No, this isn't the squad list for Milan—these are the players that won't be able to play against Inter either because of injury or suspension.

Of course, this injury crisis has become a perennial problem for the Rossoneri, and it's hard to remember the last time the squad was fully fit and actually able to field their strongest XI.

The atmosphere is always tense when Milan and Inter face each other in this historic derby
The atmosphere is always tense when Milan and Inter face each other in this historic derbyClaudio Villa/Getty Images

With the Derby della Madonnina approaching over the weekend, coach Massimiliano Allegri will once again have to tinker with his formation to find the ultimate key to success in what has been an abysmal domestic season for his club.

Inter supporters show their support
Inter supporters show their supportClaudio Villa/Getty Images

Milan have only managed 19 points in their first 16 games, putting them only six points above relegation zone. Inter, on the other hand, have actually impressed under Walter Mazzarri. The new coach has kept them in the top five, which would get them into the Europa League if the season finished right now.

Here's the expected lineup for the Rossoneri as they take on Inter in the famed Derby della Madonnina:

Milan are once again expected to field a narrow 4-3-1-2 with Mattia De Sciglio and Kevin Constant providing the width as the two starting fullbacks. Christian Abbiati will start once again in between the pipes, rightfully sending Gabriel to the bench after his abysmal outing against Roma.

Ezequiel Schelotto scored the last time these two sides met in Serie A
Ezequiel Schelotto scored the last time these two sides met in Serie AMarco Luzzani/Getty Images

The center of defense should see the defensive partnership of Cristian Zapata and Daniele Bonera. Since coming back from injury, it seems that Allegri has preferred Bonera to the inconsistent Philippe Mexes.

With Riccardo Montolivo out due to suspension, the Rossoneri will be lacking a true playmaker in the midfield, and will have to rely on the box-to-box energy of Andrea Poli and Sulley Muntari. Both of these midfielders like getting forward and can score as well. Most recently, Muntari scored a fantastic goal against Roma.

How will Balotelli perform against his old team?
How will Balotelli perform against his old team?Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Nigel de Jong will once again be slotted into that defensive midfielder position. As has been the case for quite some time this season, de Jong will shift back into the center of defense, briefly turning the formation into a 3-5-2. This allows the fullbacks to provide the much-needed width in the 4-3-1-2 formation.

Derby Della Madonnina Statistics
TEAMSWinsDrawsGoals Scored

Kaka will have the duties of linking midfield with attack in his regular trequartista position where he has done well so far.

Here's the bad news—Alessandro Matri is expected to start alongside Mario Balotelli up front. This tactical scheme essentially means Milan will voluntarily field 10 men from the first minute. You'd expect Balotelli to be more fired up than usual, as he's facing the team that sent him packing years ago.

His tumultuous breakup with the Nerazzurri should propel him to give another positive performance, as he's done much better in recent weeks than in the beginning of the season.