Stadio Giuseppe Meazza is the venue as Inter Milan and AC Milan go head-to-head in the 178th Derby della Madonnina in Serie A on Sunday night.
Both sides’ top-four ambitions are hanging in the balance, let alone their hopes of catching up with runaway leaders Napoli, following indifferent spells of form in 2023.
Inter came from behind to beat Serie A whipping boys Cremonese 2-1 on the road last time out to leapfrog Milan in the standings and become Napoli’s nearest competitors.
However, Simone Inzaghi’s men trail Luciano Spalletti’s high-flyers by a whopping 13 points.
With the Partenopei heading to out-of-sorts Spezia earlier on Sunday, the gap will likely grow by the Milan derby kick-off.
The Nerazzurri received a morale boost in midweek Coppa Italia action as Matteo Darmian’s second-half strike handed them a 1-0 home win over Atalanta in a dramatic quarter-final tie.
Back to Serie A, where they were on the receiving end of a 1-0 scoreline against mid-table Empoli in their last home league outing, Inter will seek revenge for a 3-2 defeat in the reverse fixture back in September.
Inter already had a measure of vengeance in January as they thumped their fierce city rivals 3-0 in the Saudi Arabia-held Supercoppa Italiana.
Worryingly for Milan coach Stefano Pioli, that embarrassment forms part of his team’s underwhelming six-game winless run in all competitions (D2, L4), bookended by a humiliating 5-2 home defeat to Sassuolo last Sunday.
Unless the Rossoneri steady the ship soon, they could find themselves in an awkward situation as they start this round outside the top four for the first time this season.
After trouncing Milan in the Middle East, an impending return to more familiar surroundings will only bolster Inter’s confidence as they’ve won a league second-high 24 points on home soil this season (W8, L2).
But after losing their last two encounters against the Rossoneri in Serie A, they are staring down the barrel of three consecutive H2H defeats in the competition for the first time since 2004.
If they’re to avoid that unwanted piece of history, Inter would be better off staying resilient at the back, which has been a common theme at Meazza this season.
No side has conceded fewer home goals in Serie A this term than Inzaghi’s lads (five).
Milan will only be nominal visitors in this fixture, yet Pioli must be all too aware of his team’s poor five-game away form in Serie A (W1, D2, L2) and the fact they’ve conceded at least twice three times in that span.
Winless in their last four league matches (D2, L2) since a 2-1 beating of Salernitana in their 2023 Serie A curtain-raiser, the Rossoneri could make it five top-flight games without winning for the first time since 2017.
Even with their underwhelming run of form curtailing their Scudetto aspirations, Milan still commence this round level on points with third-placed Lazio, so nothing’s lost yet.
They could even achieve a flattering milestone on Sunday by completing their first top-flight double over Inter since 2010/11.
Inter Milan vs AC Milan Potential Line-ups
Inter Milan (3-5-2): Andre Onana; Milan Skriniar, Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni; Matteo Darmian, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Federico Dimarco; Lautaro Martinez, Edin Dzeko.
AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tatarusanu; Davide Calabria, Pierre Kalulu, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Tommaso Pobega, Sandro Tonali; Rade Krunic, Alexis Saelemaekers, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud.
How to Watch?
Inter Milan vs AC Milan, alongside all other Serie A fixtures, is available to watch online via Serie A live streams.
Inter Milan vs AC Milan Prediction
Both sides have blown hot and cold in 2023, but we’re inclined to give Inter the upper hand, especially after their stellar performance in the Super Cup fixture last month.
Inter Milan 2-1 AC Milan