Week 28: Derby della Madonnina
It is time for another edition of the Milan derby, aka Derby della Madonnina. This derby comes at a time when Milan are riding a somewhat unexpected winning streak. The team have won 5 in a row and last lost in the Serie A back in December. The wins have not been all high quality and neither was the 2-1 win away at bottom placed Chievo. The week 27 win was achieved by a strong performance and a nice free kick goal courtesy of Biglia. The Argentinian had recently returned from injury and was giving Bakayoko a night off. Piatek scored the winner after Perparim Hetemaj had equalized for the hosts. The win allowed Milan to stay ahead of Inter and get one week closer to a top four, or indeed top three, finish.
The still Icardi less Inter come into the derby on a more losing note than earlier in the season. Their former captain was stripped of the armband back in February and is out of the team, officially due to knee issues, but the bigger issue is the drama that was triggered after he and his wife/agent criticized his teammates and team. This has handicapped Inter as they are dependent on Lautaro Martinez for goals. However, others like Perisic are capable of punishing teams and in a derby they are likely to step up with a bigger performances. On a further low point midweek saw Inter dumped out of the Europa League by Eintracht Frankfurt in what was a home loss and poor outing.
As mentioned Milan haven’t been firing on all cylinders. The recent record may suggest otherwise but players like Suso have been in poor form and need to do better if the team is to remain in the hunt for Champions League places. There is now a small cushion with fifth placed and now Claudio Ranieri coached Roma losing their week 28 game to SPAL.
Line up changes are not likely as Gattuso made minimal changes for Chievo and will revert to his regular 11 for the derby. The squad is healthy and the starting 11 is predictable with Calhanoglu and Piatek lining up with the aforementioned Spaniard. Bakayoko, Kessie and Paqueta will try to outshine Marcelo Brozovic, Matteo Politano and co in Inter’s midfield. Rodriguez returns from a one match suspension and replace Laxalt on the left of Romagnoli and Musacchio. Conti struggled vs Chievo so Calabria is the safer option on the right of defense. Donnarumma has raked up a solid number of clean sheets and has been reliable and some times spectacular this season. The goalkeeper might be in line for an even richer contract than his last.
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