The power balance in Italy could again take on some form of transformation this weekend, with the Milan derby headlining the Serie A action.
Although Inter and Milan are by no means in their most powerful forms when compared to sides of years gone past, Sunday's San Siro clash will nonetheless be considered one of the most essential fixtures in the clubs' schedules.
Ahead of the Milanese encounter, we've gazed into our crystal ball and produced a collection of bold predictions for the mega matchup, some of which promise to shake up the Serie A structure.
Inter's Argentinian Contingent Provide The Difference
While Rodrigo Palacio has shone for Inter in front of goal this season, Walter Mazzarri also happens to have one key Argentinian presence in each area of his squad.
Football Italia report Milan defender Daniele Bonera as saying that Palacio requires extra attention:
Daniele Bonera has singled out Rodrigo Palacio as a player his Milan side must be aware of in the derby against Inter http://t.co/Wr9E0gOrhJ— footballitalia (@footballitalia) December 20, 2013
With Palacio taking care of matters up top, Esteban Cambiasso is as ever likely to do his job of sealing matters in midfield, with Nigel De Jong, Sulley Muntari and Andrea Poli the midfield trio he's probably going to be coming up against.
Alongside Fredy Guarin and whoever will replace the suspended Ricardo Alvarez, Inter's midfield is certainly in the kind of form capable of surmounting their local rivals with Cambiasso reigning as the most reliable staple of the playmaking ranks.
Closer to home, Hugo Campagnaro will again help in shoring things up in defence and never has a clean sheet looked so plausible against a struggling Milan.
The former Napoli talisman has now gotten over his injury woes and will continue repairing his side's back line, getting it back to the kind of form that conceded just three goals in the seven games prior to his injury.
Milan Firing Blanks
Massimiliano Allegri's aforementioned attack is in an unfortunate state right now, injury having hit the Milan squad hard in recent weeks.
How many goals will Milan score on Sunday?
Although Mario Balotelli is one of the most threatening strikers in the world on his day, there will be too many components missing in the context for Milan to register a goal against the Nerazzurri.
Stephan El Shaarawy, Robinho and Valter Birsa are all attackers whose presence will be missed going forward, while the absences of Riccardo Montolivo and Ignazio Abate will also contribute to the overall lack of forward motivation in the squad.
Giampaolo Pazzini could feature in a match that sorely needs his impetus in attack, but it looks as though Alessandro Matri could start for the Rossoneri.
In summary, however, things aren't ship shape for Allegri's offensive ranks and bad luck will merely be typified by Milan's failure to get on the scoresheet this Sunday.
Inter Make It Fifth Time's The Charm
Inter have gone unbeaten in their last four Serie A meetings against Milan, three of which have been victories and the most recent result being a 1-1 draw back in February.
Mazzarri's men will extend that streak to five this weekend, the first time they will have recorded such an achievement in this millennium.
All the on-paper criteria are in place for Inter to go and get an encouraging result against their bitter rivals, pushing themselves further into contention for a return to European football as a result.