With approximately 80,000 spectators at the San Siro, an electrifying atmosphere is to be expected as one of the world’s most prestigious derbies gets underway.
AC Milan welcome archrivals Inter Milan in tonight’s highly expected "Derby della Madonnina," as the two sides go head-to-head for the desirable Scudetto.
While the Nerazzurri have won back-to-back Scudetti since the season of 2005/2006, the Rossoneri are in the race for their first league title since 2004—a Scudetto that would even out the numbers to 18 Serie A titles each.
Only two points separate the Milan clubs, and as always, pride, prestige and points are on the table.
However, this time there’s more at stake. This time it’s more decisive. This time it’s more personal.
Let the game begin.
Having secured the services of former Inter icon, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Rossoneri needed mere weeks to be comfortably perched atop the Italian summit.
However, with the Swede’s growing fatigue during the second half of the season, the team’s fortunes have followed along the same path. With Ibrahimovic’s dismissal and the following suspension, the Milan outfit has only collected a single point from their last two outings against Bari and Palermo.
With the team’s dipping form at this crucial stage of the campaign, the Rossoneri risk throwing the title away. However, facing Leonardo—former coach and club icon—serves as extra motivation for the players to beat their rivals.
However, they shouldn’t underestimate the Brazilian’s diplomatic answers regarding his switch to Inter, as he would certainly love to get one over Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi.
Massimilano Allegri will be without the services of the suspended Ibrahimovic and that of Massimo Ambrosini who still remain on the sidelines. On top of that, both Alexandre Pato and January arrival Antonio Cassano are still not a 100 percent fit.
Possible line-up: Abbiati; Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Gattuso, Van Bommel, Seedorf; Boateng; Pato, Robinho
Having spent 13 years representing the red and black jersey of Milan, Leonardo did the unthinkable when he crossed the derby divide by replacing Rafael Benitez at Inter Milan.
Since the Brazilian’s arrival, the Nerazzurri has secured a total of 37 points of a possible 45. During that process, the side has closed the eight-point gap to a mere two and now lie second in the standings
The former Milan tactician have transformed his former rivals by his gentle approach and overturned their fortunes by recreating the winning mentality that went lost during his predecessor’s tenure.
While the Diavoli may be struggling with their offense, the Beneamata are facing problems at the back. As Lucio is due to sit out a ban, wingback Cristian Chivu and centre back Andrea Ranocchia still remain a big doubt for tonight’s all-important clash. On top of that, Walter Samuel continues to be a long-term absentee.
In last year’s corresponding fixture, Wesley Sneijder’s explosive performance in his debut game for Inter saw his side seal an impressive 4-0 victory.
The Beneamata, who are more used to being chased as opposed to chasing, are hoping for something similar in tonight’s derby. Especially considering that 37-year-old team captain Javier Zanetti—who has featured in all Milan derbies since 1998—is set to play his 39th Derby della Madonnina.
Possible line-up: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Ranocchia, Cordoba, Zanetti; Thiago Motta, Cambiasso, Stankovic; Sneijder; Pazzini, Eto’o