Sunday October 21 2018
Il derby è tutto

For both Milan and Inter, explains Richard Hall, tonight’s Derby della Madonnina means everything.

‘The Derby is everything’. That is the headline the Corriere Dello Sport ran with on Friday morning, and it accurately conveys the significance of this event. Both Milan clubs, thankfully, look more like a version of their former selves as they approach this fixture. A full San Siro will welcome the two clubs and their star talent and, what’s more, both teams are in form. This is a fixture that could prove a spring board for the winner, a fact that simply adds its importance.

For Inter, it seems that nothing is ever plain sailing. Luciano Spalletti and the Nerazzurri hierarchy had, over the summer, built a talented team that had strength in depth. The talented Lautaro Martinez was added as back up for Mauro Icardi, while Sime Vrsaljko,Stefan de Vrij and Kwadwo Asamoah arrived to add steel to the back line. Keita Balde Diao and Matteo Politano added much needed speed and purpose on the flanks, whilst Radja Nainggolan was the standout purchase in midfield. All was in place for what many thought would be a genuine title challenge.

It wouldn’t be Inter if they didn’t at least try to make their supporters hearts race a little bit faster, and so it came to be in their first four games. An opening day defeat to Sassuolo was followed by them throwing away a two-goal advantage to Torino in blundering style. All thoughts of redemption after beating Bologna 3-0 were then dashed as they lost to Parma 1-0, leaving their hopes smashed amongst the rocks.

Since that day, however, things have changed. Spalletti may not have captured that cavalier brand of football he was able to showcase at Roma, he has instead been able to form a very pragmatic style that is proving hard to beat. They have won six on the bounce in all competitions, scoring eleven times and conceding just four in that time. Wins against Tottenham Hotspur and PSV in the Champions League have been a welcome addition in this period and leave the Nerazzurri facing their city rivals with confidence.

Perhaps the main worry for Inter is the significance this derby holds when looking at the fixture list moving forward. Just as many who frequent San Siro will not be surprised at the fact that this team can put a number of results together, they will also be equally aware of their historic ability to spontaneously combust. Who remembers the winter of discontent in 2017 and into January 2018? Once again, the coming months offer a worrying scenario as after Milan, Barcelona, Lazio, Genoa, Barcelona and then Atalanta all offer signs of foreboding.

Milan will still be wary of Inter and especially of Icardi, but they can at least this year take pride in the fact that they have, as Gazzetta Dello Sport said, a matador or their own. Gonzalo Higuain is exactly what the Rossoneri have been wanting for many a year, a striker who is capable of scoring over 20 goals in Serie A. Milan came through what was expected to be a testing summer with flying colours. Now under the stable watch of Elliot Management, they have entered the season with new purpose. Their project maybe a little bit behind their neighbours, but they have the foundations of what could be a very strong ‘Casa Milan’.

The sale of Leonardo Bonucci for Higuain and Caldara was a master stroke and with a young defence that could arguably be the blueprint for the future of the Azzurri in Gigio Donnarumma, Caldara, Andrea Conti, Alessia Romagnoli and Davide Calabria. The future is bright for the Rossoneri. Like Inter they didn’t get off to the best start, losing to Napoli in their first game. Subsequently they secured a good win against Roma, but then drew against Cagliari, Atalanta and Empoli as they struggled to find their feet. Against Sassuolo, however, it all came together and Gattuso’s side netted four times before scoring three against Olympiakos and Chievo. Even Giuseppe Bergomi warned his old team about the emerging partnership between Suso and Higuain this week.

The Derby Della Madonnina sees both teams at different stages of some very exciting projects. Both defences look better game on game but have showed that they can be breached this season. Both goalkeepers are superb but can make glaring errors and they have two Argentine hitmen who are more of making a difference.

The Derby to both teams, really does mean everything this year, as it will be used as validation that their project is the one that is the one that will propel them to the next level.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports.

Have your say...
>>> some good young all positions. Yet they never seem to live up to hype or weren’t used enough or correctly. furthermore any of recent talent were on any other top top 6 team they would be killing it. Much like Andre Silva who scored a hat trick 1st game for Seville after loan, scored in win vs Italy. continues to score. Kessie was amazing at Atalanta,soon as he came to Milan he flopped. List goes on. Even Higuain can’t save Milan.
Even sponsor Adidas dumped Rossoneri like trash.
on the 23rd October, 2018 at 1:32am
The anomaly that is the present day AC Milan and for past 4 seasons they cannot gel. On 1 hand they’ve had 5 green managers. 3 ex legend players, 2 greats from serie A. The latter both had good spells and showed great promise. But they all somewhat failed miserably in terms of what was expected. So is it the coach hirings? Ask yourself would Gattuso have won multiple CL or La Liga titles with Real Madrid or Barca? idk.
Now some are saying it’s the players.... but over 4/5 years they’ve had >>>>
on the 23rd October, 2018 at 1:17am
I said it already many times and this game showed it again:


This game highlighted that milan has no gameplan at all. While inter exactly new what they wanted to do and how to get the ball in front of milans goal, milan was just trying to defend and then they hoped to with some luck they will get some half chance and then maybe score. Like this They will loose almost every game against better coached and organised sides...
on the 22nd October, 2018 at 9:57am

Are you crying? Hahahaha.................... Milan are losers and it's sad to see the fans think mediocre players like Calhonoglu, Suso, Bonaventura, and Frank Kessie can win Milan in big matches. Big "L" for you Heir.
on the 22nd October, 2018 at 9:49am
teams back and to take pressure off the defence. I just don't see how this team will compete across the season. And to be clear to change things we need one player with pace and a decent manager who can give clear directions to his players who will in turn learn to move the ball quicker.
on the 22nd October, 2018 at 7:33am
of their half while a lazy Higuain stood there watching. It's lucky that wasn't Balotelli or else we'd never hear the end of it. Even when the ball into our half there was no pressure on the ball with Inter players given space to hit crosses. Meanwhile offensively Hasan, Suso, Bonaventura, Kessie and Rodriguez all took far too many touches which slowed the game down and gave Inter time to get behind the ball. And there's just no pace, no physicality (outside of Kessie) and nothing to push other
on the 22nd October, 2018 at 7:31am
I don't know if there's going to be a seperate article on this match with a review but it was a hugely disappointing performance. I don't care about a last minute goal and a(nother) mistake by Donnarumma, the performance leading up to it was poor. Inter thoroughly deserved the win. Milan's play was laboured, slow, wasteful and aimless. Every team seems to be able to camp in Milan's half from goal kicks so that Milan struggles to get out of their half.In contrast Inter players walked the ball out
on the 22nd October, 2018 at 7:26am
Congrats to Inter but AC Milan should be ashamed of that performance.
It's never easy coming back from International Break but its not an excuse. Apart from a few players, Milan looked intimidated and lacked belief.
I've supported Rino but he got the subs wrong big time.
Question marks will once again be raised about his tactical ability.
Can't believe Cutrone is playing LW. And how is Bakayoko our only midfield option from the bench??
on the 22nd October, 2018 at 2:35am

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