This weekend, the Serie A features another edition of the Derby della Madonnina as AC Milan lock horns with arch-rivals Inter Milan on Saturday. The two giants from Milan have been impressive this season, and it is a must-win match for both teams as it will have a massive effect on the title race.
This weekend’s 230th staging of the Derbi di Milano brings together two sides heading in different directions since they last met. Inter has since leapfrogged their second-city counterparts in the league table, thereby becoming favourites to retain them the Scudetto.
Following their 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture, Inter may have been denied a fourth Derby win out of five but have now lost just one of their 11 most recent meetings with Milan in the league.
With a home game against Bologna in hand, Inter sits four points clear of second-place Milan. The Rossoneri know that if they win the match, they can make the Scudetto race wide open again.
A win for Inter here will put probably put the league leaders too far ahead in the title race. And so, expect Milan to come out and pressure the hosts right from the start.
Newcomer Robin Gosens is still nursing his hamstring injury and is unavailable for selection. Neither is Joaquin Correa, who is expected to be out for at least another couple of weeks.
Injuries are a headache for the Rossoneri. Simon Kjaer is out for the remainder of the season due to a ligament injury, while Pioli confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ante Rebic would miss the game with respective foot and ankle problems.
The 40-year-old Swede has not yet recovered from the right leg injury suffered in a goalless draw against Juventus on January 23, with Croatian forward Ante Rebic also sidelined with an ankle injury. “For Zlatan to be missing is disappointing,” said Pioli. “We’ve come a long way with him but we have to show that we’re also strong without him.”
Milan are third, level on points with second-placed Napoli, four points behind reigning champions and league leaders Inter.
France forward Olivier Giroud, who has scored five goals in 14 Serie A games this season, is expected to step in and play his first derby.
“Olivier is a player of international calibre. He’s hungry to perform and is ready to play because he’s an intelligent, complete player, who can link up the play and get into space in the box,” said Pioli.
Game Date: Saturday, 5 February
Kick-off time: 18:00 (CET)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Guida (VAR: Mazzoleni)