Week 27: The Postponed Derby
Follow the match as it happens, on the forum
The derby that was due to be played on March 4, 2018 was of course postponed due to the sudden death of Davide Astori. The April 4th date became available after Milan exited the Europa League at the hands of Arsenal. The home and away defeats to the Londoners and the week 30 loss to Juventus are the only three losses of the 2018 calendar year. Such has been the form under Gattuo that the loss to the reigning champions was not wholly expected. However a loss did happen and the shortcomings of the team were exposed, to some extent.
Paulo Dybala found enough room between the defensive and midfield lines and beat Donnarumma from long range to open the scoring in the 3-1 loss. Juan Cuadrado found room on the far side from a cross to score Juventus’ second and Sami Khedira did the same more centrally. Juventus’ introduction of Cuadrado and Douglas Costa highlighted that the midfield and defensive shape of the team is not without its flaws and the Gattuso’s sub choices, bringing on Kalinic and Montolivo, showed both the squad’s lack of depth and the limits of the coach himself. Kalinic, as usual, contributed little. Andre Silva starting was a mid surprise and he should have been replaced by Cutrone and not the Croatian.
After going through a very poor phase late in 2017 and early in 2018 Inter’s form has picked in recent weeks as the team recently tied against Napoli and beat Sampdoria away 5-0. This derby is fraught with risks and with the outside chance of Kalinic being involved the chances don’t look too good. Cutrone, only a late sub vs Juventus, should start and with Calhanoglu and Suso around him form the front three. Of course there is evidence that a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 featuring both Cutrone and Silva can be very effective. Bonaventura’s poor form can and perhaps should make Gattuso ponder using Calhanoglu further back and let Silva start as a defacto left winger or support striker.
Biglia is suspended for this derby after picking up a yellow in Turin. Montolivo seems the only option, however there is a case to be made for Locatelli starting but he has rarely featured this season and seems to have regressed or has he? fans or observers can’t be sure as some players seem to drop off the map.
The back four and goalie will be the usual but neither Rodriguez nor Calabria had good games at the weekend. Bonucci did score against his old team and Romagnoli was mostly solid. The two central defenders have grown and improved compared to early in the season and will be tested against Inter and then Napoli in 11 days time. In between there is also a Sassuolo match. Any remaining chance at a top four and Champions League place will hinge on getting the majority of the points in the next week and a half.