Inter Milan vs. AC Milan Preview: 270th Derby della Madonnina

Derby della Madonnina 2008-09

The time is nearly upon us again. The Inter vs. Milan derby at the Giuseppe Meazza (or, Derby della Madonnina for those in the know) is one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures on the international footballing calendar, one that holds interest for thousands of Interisti/Rossoneri fans everywhere and neutral spectactors all over the world. I’m going to have a look ahead to the derby, see if I can pick out the protagonists/danger men to keep an eye on while trying and offer some football betting picks along the way.

Carlo Ancelotti & José MourinhoIf you’ve followed latest rumour gossip, it could be that Carlo Ancelotti will be taking Jose Mourinho’s old job at Chelsea at the end of the season (the AC Milan coach recently denied any interest at leading the Blues, which has put all the rumours to rest doesn’t mean squat). With that said, I am sure the topic will be the furthest thing from both bosses’ minds when they come head to head at the weekend. Mourinho in particular will be looking to edge a step closer to a Scudetto in his first Serie A season, and although Inter dropped in form after the winter break they have come storming back in recent weeks: the loss to Atalanta (which Mourinho described as the worst Nerazzurri performance under his rule) was followed by four victories and one draw, and I’m sure José’s boys will be eager to claim revenge on the Rossoneri after they defeated them 1-0 in the early stages of the season.

After 23 league games in the Serie A most people should know what Mourinho is about: a good solid defence. I’m sure that defence will be the main thing in the Portuguese manager’s mind ahead of this tie, because given Inter’s 8-point lead over their Milan rivals a draw is far better for him than it is for Ancelotti. On paper, while the argument about which side has the better players is still very much open (I tend to lean towards AC Milan), football is a team game and Mourinho has certainly got the Nerazzurri working as a tight unit. The star elements in their side who are really going to impact on the Milan defence would have to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Amantino Mancini, whether or not Mancini will start is another question but the nippy playmaker can make a big impact when he is brought into a game at the later stages. Luis Figo is another player who has the capability to cause problems, as the veteran Portuguese schemer has lost none of his quality with age. In terms of keeping AC Milan at bay Internazionale have one of the world’s best holding midfielders in Esteban Cambiasso and he will surely have his work cut out keeping the Rossoneri’s attack under control.


I expect Ancelotti to be the more adventurous of the two managers: the Chelsea target knows anything other than a win is simply not good enough in this fixture, and despite being technically ‘away’ from home they need to be the more attacking side. The Rossoneri will be without Kaka however (who suffered a foot injury in the draw with Reggina), which is a massive blow for them. Without the 2007 Ballon d’Or winner Milan may have to maximize the passing capabilities of Andrea Pirlo and David Beckham to greater effect, while Alexandre Pato may have to take more responsibility in attack.

As a bit of a side note, should Beckham play he could well be the first player to have played in the Milan derby, El Clásico and the Manchester United Vs Liverpool fixtures combined (I’m not 100% sure this is totally accurate, I’ve researched it and I can’t find anyone else who has -if I’m wrong please let me know!). This would cap a fantastic week for the English midfielder, who has just equalled Bobby Moore’s record of 108 international caps for an outfield player (albeit not being able to prevent England’s 2-0 loss to Spain) and has now the opportunity to up his game for his first big Italian match. Expect Becks to put in a fantastic effort in this affair.

In terms of football betting advice I think this game will end in a draw. AC Milan may desperately need to win this tie but I think without the ever influential Kaká it may be too much of an ask. Inter will be happy with a draw, even if Juventus win in their match with Sampdoria on Sunday (which I think they will) Inter would still be five points ahead and Milan would effectively be out of the title race – unless something drastic happens.


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