Milan v Inter

Milan v Inter Match Preview, scouting and predictions


The only question heading into the Derby della Madonnina is whether Milan will be able to prevent Inter from sealing the title in the head-to-head clash.

  Serie A Week 33 – Monday 22 April  2024 – Stadio San Siro | Preview by Enrico Passarella


The Rossoneri’s season hasn’t been too shabby given the premises and where they’ll end up in the standings. Still, it’s hard to call it a success since they never seriously competed for the title and were eliminated early in the Champions League, yet not unceremoniously as they put up a decent fight in a challenging group, and they left something on the table after the continental relegation, although Roma simply outplayed them throughout the two legs.

The turn of events is likely to doom Stefano Pioli, although the call isn’t so easy for intangible factors they’ll have to weigh carefully. The biggest knock against him is that there’s no plan B if the main strategy doesn’t work, even though he has tried to mix things up as of late. Somehow, he has managed to develop the reputation of somebody who can’t win the big one despite actually taking home one Scudetto.

Domestically, they ultimately paid the price for their slow start, which mostly stemmed from a necessarily busy summer window during which they significantly improved their squad, especially in the roles where they were lacking. Almost every purchase paid off, so they can’t place the blame on that. The natural consequence of changing a lot is that it requires an adjustment period. Instead, the Nerazzurri left almost everybody in the dust early and never let go of the bone.

Their coach has long seemed like a dead man walking, but a strong run to start 2024 revived his chances of staying put.  Keeping him and signing a pair of pricey players would be the best pathway to seriously compete in the next campaign. Instead, hiring a new manager, even the most accomplished one, could potentially help them open a new cycle and be more successful eventually but it could easily lead to this exact same outcome in 2024/2025. It’s always a thorny choice between shot and long-term perspective. The names linked to them, at least so far, aren’t too convincing for different reasons if Thiago Motta isn’t an option.

Unless something shocking like the Sandro Tonali deal happens, and it’s quite crazy that they aren’t facing more scrutiny after what transpired, they are in a perfect position to shore up their squad with a few select additions. Olivier Giroud has been sometimes great and occasionally lackluster due to excessive playing time. Since they have a sizeable budget, it shouldn’t be too hard to find somebody young who can perform at the same, or preferably better, level.

They are headed for a fascinating window. They are numerically fine pretty much everywhere, other than a proper Theo Hernandez deputy, but he can handle the heavy load. They’ll be after clear upgrades, which come at a premium. Malick Thiaw and Pierre Kalulu have had tough seasons due to multiple injuries and haven’t been as good as in the past when healthy. It wouldn’t be surprising if they cashed in on one of the two and brought in a stud. Their midfield isn’t perfectly assorted, but it’s not always easy to find players that fit well together in 4-2-3-1.

The call about the coach obviously comes first, as there could be some small tactical adjustments originating from it. Given their backbone, it’s hard to imagine they could divert from it too dramatically, nor should they.

The motivations are inherent in matches like this one, but it’ll be intriguing to see whether the player will have an extra gear and pep in his step and play for the gaffer. He has his flaws, but his empathy and connection with the squad have never been doubted. If the decision hasn’t been made already, a loss, especially an embarrassing one, would be the nail in the coffin. Their search seems so all over the place already that perhaps they will go back to square one at some point.

They are reportedly going with a very experimental lineup with Rafael Leao as a false-nine and Yunus Musah on the right wing. If confirmed, it signals that the coach is grasping at straws at this point.

Expected XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Gabbia, Tomori, Hernandez; Reijnders, Adli; Musah, Loftus-Cheek, Pulisic; Leao. 

Doubts:  Adli/Bennacer, Pulisic/Chukwueze, Giroud/Okafor

Injury Report:

Pobega (hip injury) – Questionable;

Kalulu (knee sprain), Kjaer (thigh contracture) – OUT

Suspensions: Thiaw



Inter have relented a little with the objective right around the corner and really in the bag for a couple of months already. Dropping points to Cagliari, which would have never happened in previous months, sets the stage for a better Derby. They won’t be able to settle for a measly draw to conquer the second star in the face of their crosstown rival.

Chasing the all-time point record was always far-fetched without anybody pushing them. Antonio Conte has been the only lunatic able to maintain the level of attention high till the very end in recent campaigns. He did it in a similar situation, establishing a lofty goal after bowing out early and somewhat unexpectedly from the Champions League. But Simone Inzaghi has a different temperament. The tradeoff is that he doesn’t wear everybody, including himself, down so quickly.

The coach needed the Scudetto, and to win it with relative ease in a down year for most of their competitors, to round out his resume and reach new heights. The early elimination at the continental stage is a small black eye after reaching the final last year. However, realistically speaking, even though they could have easily beaten Atletico Madrid and advanced further depending on the draw, going all the way was more of an outlier than what occurred this campaign. They aren’t at the level, perhaps yet, to be perennial contenders. Considering their constant financial troubles and less-than-laving summers, it won’t be fair to label them for a few years. Still, right or not, the pressure to deliver in Europe will inevitably mount if they win two or three domestic titles in a row, which is entirely possible.

While this game will be enticing for its dynamic, it’ll also be interesting to see how they’ll handle the final few matches with not much on the line. A few players have individual records to chase, but it’d be more useful to test a few things that could inform them ahead of the summer. It’s not a secret that they are keen on adding another striker on top of Mehdi Taremi. It’s easier to move on from Alexis Sanchez since he inked just a one-year deal. However, he has had a better season than Marko Arnautovic and might be a better fit to have more variety. But they’d need a stroke of luck to offload the Austrian without a loss given how much they paid for him.

Denzel Dumfries is their biggest question mark entering the summer, as they’ll have to cash in without a renewal. His so-so campaign simplifies that call. It wouldn’t make sense to risk missing out on decent dough to pursue a renewal as they did with Milan Skriniar. While they are in an okay spot since Matteo Darmian is good enough, the sale Dutchman might have to fund multiple purchases, so they’ll have to look for bargains or convoluted formulas to really shore up the squad. It’s not hard to figure out why they have been so determined to chase after Bosman additions.

If Juan Cuadrado looks good enough after surgery and Tajon Buchanan proves he can hang in Serie A, they wouldn’t necessarily need a new wingback. It’s a long shot, and they’ll have to give them both an extensive run to have proof of that. Moreover, they could use another lefty in the back, but Carlos Augusto has been serviceable there despite his offensive traits. They can explore such a solution a little further to see whether it could be enough to handle a more grueling season.

Derbies are self-motivating, even more with a trophy sort of on the line. Their best version hasn’t really shown up in the last month or so, where they haven’t been dominant against the minnows. If it does in this one, and it should, it’ll be mighty tough to keep up with it with a predictably tired Milan.

Expected XI (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Pavard, Acerbi, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Martinez, Thura. 

Doubts:  Acerbi/De Vrij, Darmian/Dumfries

Injury Report:

Cuadrado (muscle fatigue) – OUT



Inter Win – Over 2.5 Goals

Enrico Passarella

Contributor for @footitalia1 | Serie A | News, Transfers, Betting |