Whether you’re on the blue or red side of the fence or even a neutral, the Derby Della Madonnina has to be a permanently marked fixture on your football calendar. The 219th Derby and the first of the 2017/2018 season is bound to be an eye catcher for quite a few reasons. Even though the derby doesn’t have as much of a say in where the title goes as it used to due to the dwindling fortunes of the Milan clubs, it is still a captivating show of passion between two sworn enemies.
Both Milan clubs seem to finally be on the road to redemption, Inter Milan under the guidance of Luciano Spalletti are unbeaten in the Serie A and have dropped just 2 points all season. It’s not too far fetched to think that Inter could be a dark horse for the Serie A title this season. Sitting in third, a victory could see them leapfrog reigning champions Juventus and become the closest to league leaders Napoli. After several years of falling below standard, Inter look like they could once again be in contention for at the very least a UCL spot. Inter also have a historical advantage in this fixture as the last ‘away’ win in the Derby Della Madonnina was in the 2012/2013 season when Inter beat Milan. The last time the Rossoneri managed this feat was in November 2010, some 16 derbies ago.
Milan on the other hand have flattered to deceive this season, despite wholesome changes over the summer both behind the scenes and on the pitch, Milan have won all their games in the UEL and 4 of their Serie A games they are yet to beat a team in the top half of the league losing all three games against teams in that bracket scoring only once in a 4-1 loss to Lazio. They might not be there yet but Milan’s squad has the potential to add their name to what is already a bulging Serie A title contenders hat and a victory against their fierce rivals could be the catalyst needed to push them to an entirely new level of confidence. At this point I would like to invoke a football cliché “form counts for little in a derby”.
MAURO ICARDI VS ANDRE SILVA
Two strikers could scarcely be more different. One already many years into his professional career and indeed already a semi Veteran in the Serie A with more than 5 seasons under his belt, 4 with Inter who will be playing his 9th Milan derby, while Andre Silva is the new kid on the block signed as part of Milan’s summer overhaul and will be making his derby debut. Icardi known most for his pace and strength while Andre Silva is more of a sleek skillful forward.
The older Icardi bossing the league stats this season with 6 goals in 7 games so far while Silva has been unable to find the back of the net in his 3 appearances in the league so far. Andre Silva however spent the international break scoring vital goals for his country as they qualified for the 2018 World Cup while Icardi could only look on from the bench. Despite the numerous differences between the two, they will have similar expectations on their shoulders as both clubs will look to their main marksmen to give them the edge in what is sure to be a tight affair. Despite being in prolific form for Inter scoring 84 times in 153 games, he hasn’t quite enjoyed the derby and Andre Silva could draw level or even surpass his goalscoring record in the derby as Icardi has managed only 1 goal in 8 derbies and 9 total games against Milan.
Inter have only the injury to Marcelo Brozovic to worry about and will likely stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation they have gotten used to under Spalletti while Milan will be without the suspended Hakan Calhanoglu who was sent off against Roma as well as the injured pair of Andrea Conti and Luca Antonelli but will still look to play in a 3-5-2 with Borini once again filling the right wing back spot. They will also be sweating over the fitness of Nikola Kalinic another of their summer summer signings.
This importance of this match of course cannot be understated for both these sides as a this game could fuel the agenda of Milan being pretenders this season or could spark a red and black revolution. Inter could also use the three points here as a stepping stone for their own successes. It’s always a tough game to stick your beck out to predict except for the fact that there would be tonnes of drama.
Article By: Ayoola Kelechi, @ayoola_kelechi