Today is Derby day for any Rossoneri or Nerazzurri fan out there. We, at Serpents of Madonnina, are juiced. Not just for the end of the dismal international break, but for the return of quality, Serie A football.
In the spirit of the Derby della Madonnina, we took this time to reach out to James Rushton, site manager for The AC Milan Offside, and get some insight on his side leading to today’s matchup.
1. Now that you have a few games under the belt, what are your initial takeaways about AC Milan? What do you see as the biggest concerns following those first games?
We’re a very mixed bunch. For the most part we’ve been killing it in Europe and stuttering at home. That Lazio result was awful, but the Sampdoria one? It was a cutting blow to our fortunes. Big takeaway? We seem rather toothless in attack and rather weak at the back. That’s scary for a team who spent so much money - right?
2. Talk about AC Milan’s summer mercato and what positions does the club still need to address.
Well, there are no complaints over who we brought in. Fabio Borini was a strange one, but he saved us in the Europa League with a stunning through ball, so that’s ok! We seemed to buy too many players who excel in too many different systems. What we should have done is try to build a system, then choose the best players for that system. Until we find an identity, we will stutter and splutter about - which is not a good look. As for positions? We could probably do with one man up front who makes all the difference. Someone like Icardi. Andre Silva could be that guy, but we need someone to take over for one or two years who will score 20 or more goals.
3. For this match, which member of AC Milan will be the most crucial and why? Which matchup are you most excited about?
I’d like to see how we deal with your defense. Andre Silva is an expert at unlocking the tightest back four, but there’s no guarantee he will start. Lucas Biglia holds it down in the middle, but I’m excited to see how Gianluigi Donnarumma holds up against your attack. We haven’t seen him hit his full stride yet, so it’d be good to see how that goes. He might save us, and yes - he will be crucial.
4. Which Nerazzurri impresses you the most and which one scares you the most?
Ivan Perisic is one of the better players in the world, and you guys have got him. He’s scary! He can unlock anything and create that bit of magic, like our Suso. Would I take Perisic over Suso? Probably, but I’m very attached to our Suso!
It’s Mauro Icardi who is seriously scary. He can score from anywhere and it won’t matter who he is up against. Can we shut him down? I hope so.
5. Does AC Milan’s position in the Serie A table this early in the season surprise you? Why or why not?
It does, and it doesn’t. Look, a lot of people thought Milan could just buy the title, and yeah - maybe a small part of me expected some kind of instant success. It’s not realistic though - our expectations aren’t. What is realistic is where we are right now. The season is far from over, but it could be if we don’t start fighting. We need to, otherwise we could be doomed. In more ways than one!
6. Last, but certainly not least, pick the game. What’s the final score and how does the game flow?
These derbies are too hard to cut through. Who would have guessed that a Zapata goal would save the day last time? Who could have said you’d have tore us a new one that early into the game? I’d go for 2-2 again, only because so much depends on this game that it’s bound to get dragged down into the dirt. We might even see a red card!
Want to see our take on the game, head over to The AC Milan Offside and see what we had to say.