It’s the San Siro clash taking place in the late night Italian football slot. It’s meaning for the Serie A table is perhaps less significant than has often been traditional, but pride, passion and the rivalry should be more than enough to make the event as disappointing seasons wind down for both sides. It’s time to give their fans something to celebrate.Inter Milan had gone five games without a win before breaking out with a convincing performance away from home beating Verona 3-0 last weekend. The run of games before that had included draws with Parma, Cesena and Napoli, and defeats against Sampdoria and Fiorentina. Losses against the best of Serie A have become largely typical for Inter, who are barely hanging onto a spot in the top half of the table.
A second straight year out of the Champions League and European football now seems inevitable and the pressure on Roberto Mancini is now growing. It was only in 2010 that Inter last won Serie A, but the absence of European football revenue will damage any re-build. Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri have both been linked with a move to re-join Mancini, but there’s little guarantee that their former manager could win a bidding war for either player based on his club’s current situation.
A win at the San Siro against their in-city rival would at least move them up one place and give them something of a cushion to avoid dropping into the Serie A’s bottom half. Eight points separates them from an unlikely Europa League place, but a place that the club desperately needs to fight for while any possibility exists of claiming it.
The same could be said for Milan who find themselves in an almost identical position just one point and one place better off. They have won two of their last three games during an unbeaten run. Even a 1-1 home draw against Sampdoria isn’t a bad result for Filippo Inzaghi’s squad right now, especially as it followed victories over Caligari and Palmero.
This isn’t the star-studded affair of years passed and AC Milan’s boardroom and coaching staff are all under scrutiny with the possibility of players being sold in the summer – rather than star acquisitions – being the club’s main story.
A pair of almost unrecognisable lineups are predicted to take the field on Sunday evening in a game that lacks the glamour of its storied history. Make no mistake about it though that there will be a level of intensity and desperation about the game that should at least make for an entertaining contest.
Betting Preview: Inter Milan 5/4, AC Milan 23/10, Draw 23/10
There’s no real home field advantage in this game, but AC Milan’s injuries with Guarin, Kuzmanovic, Dodo, and Campagnaro all missing and players like Honda, Essien and Montolivo also doubts is likely to leave them desperately short of attacking options. Inzaghi has been accused of being tentative at times as well. We see Mancini’s Inter grabbing a one goal win here.
The Pick: (bet365.com) Inter Milan 5/4