The unpredictable nature of the derby makes it special. Regardless of how the two teams are doing in the league or performing, anything can happen. AC Milan, the reigning Italian champions, are looking to record a home victory over Inter, something they haven't achieved for a while now and which would provide the team with a real boost going forward. A spectacular showdown awaits, and we’re now taking a closer look at where the game could be won.
Mentioning the two teams' attacks is an obvious place to start. There will be one notable absence in the Nerazzurri ranks: Lukaku. The Belgian has scored against the Rossoneri in five different derbies, so it seems like good news that he won't be involved. However, Correa is the man who could take his place, and the Argentine has a good record against AC Milan: while at Lazio, he scored four times against the Rossoneri, more than against any other side. And then there's Lautaro Martínez, who has bagged derby braces in both the league (February 2021) and the Coppa Italia (April 2022) in recent times. However, the Rossoneri have their own dangermen, including Giroud, who memorably found the net twice the last time the two teams met in Serie A. It was one of the most important results on the way to realising the Scudetto dream. Olivier, who has netted some crucial goals in the biggest matches, is hoping for a repeat at San Siro, where he regularly scored last season and recently bagged against Bologna. The outcome of the match will depend heavily on attacking performances and, in general, what the teams do in the final third.
ONE TRACK, TWO TRAINS
Shifting the focus from the goals and penalty areas to the flanks. On AC Milan's left will be Hernández; on Inter's right will be Dumfries. It has all the ingredients to be one of the crucial individual duels of the match. Theo is a lethal weapon, Denzel a trump card. They'll once again come up against each other in a battle of power, speed and nerves. In the derby decided by Giroud, the Dutchman had a goal ruled out and then missed a big chance, while the Frenchman saw red in stoppage time for a foul on his direct counterpart. They're widemen that possess both physical and technical qualities, and both have already found the net this season. Inzaghi and, to an even greater extent, Pioli would struggle to do without them because they're just so important. Their runs and crosses for the forwards are something to watch out for, and this applies to the other side of the pitch, too, where Calabria, Messias, Saelemaekers, Dimarco and Gosens are all hoping to play and have an impact.
AC Milan will be aiming to limit Inter's opportunities from dead ball situations. The Nerazzurri are a taller side than the Rossoneri and are dangerous from set-pieces, combining height with heading ability on corners and free-kicks. Dumfries in Lecce and Martínez are just two examples of the threat they pose. On the other hand, the Rossoneri sometimes struggle with dead ball situations: Becao's goal and also Perišić's finish in the 2022 derby came about in this manner. However, the reverse cross-city showdown in 2021/22 saw AC Milan equalise from a Tonali free-kick, with de Vrij challenging Tomori for the ball and diverting into his own net. The goalkeepers will also play a big role in this regard as they look to protect their respective goals, Maignan (a decisive penalty save in Reggio Emilia) at one end and Handanovič at the other.
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