Thursday, November 11
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Nov 7, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
AC MilanAC Milan
Inter MilanInter Milan
de Vrij (17' og.)
Ballo-Toure (26')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Calhanoglu (11' pen.)

Preview: AC Milan vs. Inter Milan - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: AC Milan vs. Inter Milan - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between AC Milan and Inter Milan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Currently experiencing different fortunes in Europe, unbeaten AC Milan and city rivals Inter Milan share the San Siro stage on Sunday evening, upon their return to Serie A.

Defending champions Inter trail their Rossonero cousins by seven points ahead of the season's first Derby della Madonnina and simply cannot contemplate a defeat which could leave their hopes of back-to-back Scudetti hanging by a thread.

Match preview

A match laden with significance and endless subtexts concludes the Serie A weekend, before the Italian top flight goes into a brief hibernation for the upcoming international break.

The 229th staging of the Milan Derby sees the Rossoneri side of the city play hosts at the grand old Stadio Giuseppe Meazza shared by both clubs, with a new Milanese stadium now slated to replace the iconic venue by 2026.

Ahead of the big occasion, Stefano Pioli's squad are flying high domestically - going toe to toe with leaders Napoli due to a run of seven straight wins - but have faltered upon their long-awaited return to the Champions League.

Milan may have picked up their first point in Group B on Wednesday, but a home draw with Porto leaves them as rank outsiders to progress to the last 16, and their misery was compounded when captain Davide Calabria went off injured at the interval.

Such a result is hardly the perfect preparation for their biggest night of the season so far, as they seek to match a streak of eight league wins on the spin last achieved by the club back in 2006, when they posted nine under Carlo Ancelotti.

However, Serie A's second-placed side have lost their last three Serie A Derbies as the home team - only once in their top-flight history have they lost more in a row - and were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Inter last term before suffering the third of those reverses: a 3-0 defeat as their title challenge fell apart in February.

Therefore, revenge may be a motivating factor for both former Inter coach Pioli - who was in charge for a mere 27 matches for the Nerazzurri - and his exciting young squad, which is led by some more seasoned professionals such as another ex-Inter man, the irrepressible Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

While 'Ibra' has scored six goals in six Serie A derbies against his old club, the nominal 'away' side on Sunday will be wary of several other attacking threats for the Rossoneri, who have closed the gap between the clubs since the departure of Inter's Scudetto-winning coach Antonio Conte.

Though, since the beginning of 2020, both Milanese clubs have gained the most points in the Italian top flight (at an average of 2.2 per game), it has been the city's blue and black outfit that have held the edge of late - no more so than when they overtook their oldest and closest foes to claim the championship earlier this year.

Since a 3-1 loss to Lazio in the middle of last month, Simone Inzaghi's current side have gone unbeaten at home and abroad, with only a draw in the Derby d'Italia - when they were denied by a controversial late penalty - preventing them from claiming five straight wins.

Their latest success came in the curious location of Transnistria on Wednesday, as Inter beat Group D surprise package Sheriff in the Champions League; claiming three points which put them second behind Real Madrid and in a good position to progress.

Just days before, the Nerazzurri took care of business against lowly Udinese in the league, thanks to an eight-minute brace midway through the second half from Joaquin Correa, who had previously made a limited impact since signing in the summer.

They may lead Juventus by nine points already, having finally ended the Bianconeri's domestic dominance last season, but Inzaghi will be concerned about the gap to both Milan and Napoli, which could grow to a full 10 points with defeat on Sunday. Therefore, the stakes will be high at San Siro, as Inter seek a crucial fourth Derby win out of five.

AC Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

AC Milan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Inter Milan Serie A form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W

Inter Milan form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

While several men have crossed the divide over the years, the most recent to have switched sides is Inter's Hakan Calhanoglu, who should receive a colourful reception should he beat Arturo Vidal to a midfield place this weekend.

Simone Inzaghi has the rare luxury of a fully-fit squad to choose from, so will most likely opt to bring Ivan Perisic back in to the starting XI on the left flank of his favoured 3-5-2 formation, while Denzel Dumfries will hope to feature ahead of Matteo Darmian on the right.

Lautaro Martinez teams up with top scorer Edin Dzeko in attack, despite the Argentinian striker failing to hit the net since converting a penalty against Sassuolo six games ago.

Milan, meanwhile, have had no such luck with injuries of late, but Brahim Diaz returned after contracting COVID-19 in midweek, and Ante Rebic should be back in the squad following an ankle problem that kept him out for the last five matches.

Fode Ballo-Toure may also be fit to cover the suspended Theo Hernandez at left-back - though Pierre Kalulu provides another option for Stefano Pioli - but Samu Castillejo, Junior Messias and goalkeeper Mike Maignan are set to remain sidelined. Regular right-back Davide Calabria suffered a head injury on Wednesday, but should be included in the back four.

Up front, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to the side in place of Olivier Giroud, while Franck Kessie could be brought in for Ismael Bennacer in central midfield.

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Tatarusanu; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Ballo-Toure; Tonali, Kessie; Saelemaekers, Krunic, Leao; Ibrahimovic

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Dzeko, Martinez

We say: AC Milan 1-2 Inter Milan

Inter can inflict a first league loss on their rivals this season, as they enter the Derby in improving form and meet a Milan side that have been scraping over the line in recent matches.

The Nerazzurri's attacking width can exploit the absence of Theo Hernandez, who so often occupies his opposite number, while Edin Dzeko has a good record against the Rossoneri and may hit the mark once again.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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