It’s been 24 days since Olivier Giroud poked a brace past Samir Handanovic to lead Milan to a huge comeback derby win and crush Inter’s hopes of a dominant Scudetto win. Those thirty minutes of horror on the 5th of February have now grown into a month of one disaster after another for the Nerazzurri, who have just one win (over Roma in the Coppa) since along with 2 draws and 2 defeats. But for better or worse (we’ll find out tomorrow), starts the month March in the same way February began: with a derby. Perhaps this is the wake-up that Inter needs to refind its top form with three months left in the campaign and the title race as tight as ever. The ramifications of a loss? Better left unsaid.
The final third was Inter’s killer in February. With the exception of the 2-0 win over Roma, Inter never scored multiple goals in one game and has been shutout three games running. Edin Dzeko was the only Inter striker to get his name on the scoresheet - in fact, his single goal was half of Inter’s total goal-scoring output over six games. Lautaro Martinez has been horribly out of form the entirety of 2022, Sanchez’s age has shown and he’s cooled off drastically since a red-hot January, Joaquin Correa remains injured, and Felipe Caicedo doesn’t appear match fit/good enough to get consistent minutes. At least one of those five will have to find his finishing boots again if Inter is going to find its way back to the W column. A Coppa Italia semi-final first leg against Milan would be a good place to start, but if the 0-0 draw vs Genoa showed, expect nothing.
If it’s any solace, Milan’s form hasn’t fared much better since the derby either. The Rossoneri come into tomorrow’s clash on the back of draws to Salernitana and Udinese, though it did record a 1-0 win over Sampdoria the weekend prior. Stefano Pioli’s side has looked sluggish and disjointed in recent weeks, coming up short at both ends of the pitch. The situation would be even direr without Rafael Leao, however, who has 6 goals and 3 assists in all competitions since the turn of the new year. Milan Skriniar will have his hands full with the Portuguese winger, and it may make sense to start the more defensively sound Matteo Darmian over Denzel Dumfries to slow Leao as much as possible.
Inter went winless against Milan in the league this season and saw its advantage in the all-time series drop to 78W-66D-70L.
- 1-1 (A) - 7/11/21
- 1-2 (H) - 5/2/22
Predicted Starting XIs
Milan Skriniar and Lautaro Martinez should be back in the XI after resting against Genoa, while Nicolo Barella and Denzel Dumfries look like they need a refresher. Inter also has the second leg vs Liverpool to look forward to in a week's time so rotation is a necessity. Milan may have an eye on Sunday’s meeting with Napoli, so expect some changes from Pioli.
Prediction: AC Milan 1-1 Inter Milan
The Coppa Italia semifinals are decided by two legs so both teams will be playing more not to lose than to go for the win. We’ll see a cagey affair end level thanks to goals from Calhanoglu and Rebic.