There isn't too much doubt that under-fire AC manager Clarence Seedorf is in more urgent need of the points with the Rossoneri trailing their city rivals by five places and six points.
Five wins in the last six, per WhoScored.com, has seen the heat on Seedorf cool slightly, and a win over the Nerazzurri will underscore a great end to a poor season.
Date: Sunday, May 4
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET
Live Stream: BT Sport app (UK only)
TV Info: BT Sport 1 (UK), RAI (US)
Which Mario Balotelli will turn up?
On his day, Mario Balotelli is a world-beater. Infuriatingly for a player of such talent, those days are few and far between, and that's probably the only reason why we can't label the youngster as truly world class just yet.
He's certainly not short on confidence, noting at the start of the season in an interview with the Daily Mirror via Declan Warrington of the Daily Mail:
I want to be the best player in Europe and I want to prove that this season.
His performances in the latter part of the season have evidenced a maturity not previously associated with the firebrand, and much of the credit for that should go to Seedorf.
The trickery of Adel Taarabt and Keisuke Honda should open up the channels and create space for Balotelli to get right in amongst it against the ageing Walter Samuel.
The old Internazionale war horse won't give an inch, but Balotelli, if he "turns up," has more than enough about him to cause Samuel problems throughout.
Attack vs. Defence
There is likely to be quite a significant difference in tactics from each manager in this game.
WhoScored.com predicts Mazzarri will field an ultra-defensive 3-5-2 formation, which, for a team that is chasing fourth spot, isn't particularly adventurous.
Seedorf's flowing 4-2-3-1 has a lot more intent about it, and the movement from the front four is what will hold the key to winning this game.
Inter are likely to want to keep things narrow, with a middle three of Esteban Cambiasso, Mateo Kovacic and Hernanes, hunting in packs, shutting down the space through which Kaka will try to penetrate and attempt to feed Honda, Taraabt and Balotelli .
It's vital that the Rossoneri keep switching the point of attack as often as practicable and force Inter to play rather than just sit.
AC will need to dictate the pace of the game, keep a high tempo throughout and put constant pressure on the full-backs when possible. Allowing Inter to slow proceedings and regroup hands them the advantage.
Nigel de Jong and Riccardo Montolivo have worked extremely well in protecting the defence, and just three goals conceded in the last six, per WhoScored.com, is testament to the job they are doing.
Mauro Icardi or Rodrigo Palacio will have his work cut out bypassing that formidable barrier before even a goalscoring chance might present itself.
A loss for Inter could be fatal for their chances of qualifying for Europe, as there are five teams, including AC Milan, that are within five points.
A defensive setup, therefore, does them no favours whatsoever. Inter simply have to win the game to give themselves the best chance to secure fifth or even fourth place.
Seedorf will surely want to see his team's excellent form continue until the end of the campaign. Their late run has given them hope of something that seemed impossible just a few short weeks ago.
AC striker Giampaolo Pazzini spoke of the "satisfaction" a win would bring. During an interview with the Milan Channel via Football Italia, he said:
We also want to give the joy of victory to our fans with a good result in the derby, particularly during this difficult year when we haven’t held the positions Milan are accustomed to.
This derby can be an opportunity to bring satisfaction to us, the fans and the club.
Fortune favours the brave.
Prediction: AC Milan 2-1 Internazionale
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