Regardless of what happens Sunday, the final result of the Derby della Madonnina will resonate long after the international break that follows.
AC Milan can start to cement a place in the top four and the Champions League next season, while Inter could finally get over recent drama and create a little distance as AS Roma is nipping at a top four finish.
Inter Milan news:
Inter Milan’s poor performance Thursday in a 1-0 home loss to Eintracht Frankfurt is likely weighing on the minds of players.
The question is whether that will be a good thing or a bad thing.
Midfielder Radja Nainggolan is likely out – or at least a bench option – Sunday, which means the well-rested Joao Mario could come in and made an impact (Mario did not play Thursday as he was not on the UEFA list for Inter).
Mauro Icardi, well, who really knows. He could play, or he could not play. Will he start, not likely. Meaning the offense will ride on the shoulders of Lautaro Martinez. Martinez also did not play Thursday thanks to a suspension, meaning he should also be well-rested for the outing.
Marcelo Brozovic could also return to the lineup, which is great news for Interisti considering how bad the midfield performed against Frankfurt.
Defensively, Kwadwo Asamoah should also be back in the starting XI after serving a suspension. Joao Miranda with either be out completely or come in as a sub after suffering an injury.
Regardless of the fact that these are two teams going in seemingly opposite directions, Inter has an opportunity to right the ship here. Getting past the exit from the Europa League and realizing a top four finish is not guaranteed at this point, Inter could come out firing on all cylinders and made the football pundits look bad.
One thing is certain, a loss Sunday and the cries to #FireSpalletti will ring out louder than ever before. To suggest Luciano Spalletti isn’t aware of it is to also suggest the oceans aren’t blue.
Projected lineup: Handanovic; de Vrij, Skriniar, Asamoah, D’Ambrosio; Vecino, Mario, Brozovic; Perisic, Politano, Martinez.
AC Milan news:
If it is question of momentum, you need look no further than AC Milan.
So far this year, AC Milan has earned 20 points in Serie A compared to just 11 for Inter Milan. It is a far cry from where these teams were at prior to the first Derby della Madonnina in 2018.
Inter was riding high as Icardi fired home a winner while AC Milan was suffering through the poor form of Gonzalo Higuain along with injuries that decimated the Rosseneri.
Now, Gennaro Gattuso has AC Milan firing on all cylinders. Thanks to a resurgence in the offense from Genoa transfer Krzysztof Piatek and a defense that has pitched eight shutouts in their last 11 matches, AC Milan is a team on the rise.
In fact, only Lionel Messi has scored more goals this season than Piatek.
Another January signing for AC Milan that has proven his worth is Lucas Paqueta. Since joining from Flamengo, the attacking midfielder has notched a goal and two assists across all competitions.
Defensively, just like I mentioned above, AC Milan has turned around to be one of the best in the league. Alessio Romagnoli and Andrea Conti anchor a line that has been formidable in 2019. This presents a ton of problems for an Inter offense that has been inconsistent at best of late.
Projected lineup: G. Donnarumma; Conti, Romangnoli, Musacchio, Laxalt; Biglia, Kessie, Paqueta; Castillejo, Suso, Piatek.
Time and date: 3:30 p.m. EDT (8:30 p.m. local) Sunday, March 17, 2019
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (Milan)
How to watch: In the United States, you can watch the match live on ESPN+ and on Rai Italia America. If you are in the United Kingdom, the match can be viewed on Premier Sports 1. In Italy, Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport Serie A, Sky Sport Uno, Sky Go Italia and Sky Calcio 1 will have the match live.
Click here to see how you can watch the Derby della Madonnina live in your area.
What do you think? Post your comments below!