Saturday September 21 2019
First blood in the Milan Derby

Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall looks at the Derby Della Madonnina and assesses why this time it’s much bigger than just an intercity rivalry.

When the smoke settles in San Siro on Saturday night, there will be many answered questions. Both Milan sides have new Coaches, they are involved in projects that are at very different stages, but both need this Derby Della Madonnina victory. There has been criticism thrown at both teams and deservedly so, but this game of games will offer up a chance for one of the ‘misters’ to gain first blood and give their team a well needed boost.

Antonio Conte isn’t always the easiest person to deal with critics, especially when they mention Europe. Desperate to shrug off the label that sticks to him, he wants to prove he cannot ‘only do it in domestic competition’. The draw against Slavia Prague this week did not help matters as, whilst his team selection was questionable, one wouldn’t have imagined seeing, a ‘Conte side’ show so little intensity and fight.

The dressing room tension that followed between Romelu Lukaku and Marcelo Brozovic was perhaps a good thing. This was a message delivered, the old way isn’t good enough. Not everyone likes it when a new world is born as, ultimately, it means that an old world dies.

Inter have done what is needed domestically. They thrashed Lecce 4-0 in front of a home crowd who expected no less. Cagliari was a different matter, as the Sardinians proved to be harder opposition, but even so, he Nerazzurri got the job done. Finally, Udinese visited and were also stubborn, but they were dispatched after going down to 10 men. So, what are Conte’s Inter looking like in the daily football betting tips?

For one, they are resilient. Even though the game against Slavia Prague provided the critics ample fodder, Inter gave themselves a lifeline. There hasn’t been the incredible ‘shock and awe’ that many have expected, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come. Defensively they have been shaky at times, but considering they are changing systems, one could argue they have done well.

The Derby is huge for Conte’s new Inter. Not only is it his chance to make his mark on the city and this iconic game, but it is his first really big task. With respect to all that have come before, this is a game that could send a shockwave to the main rivals if won convincingly. Admittedly there will be many who shout ‘it’s too early to judge, it’s only game four’ but think of this: if Inter can topple Milan and make it four wins out of four, then Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri will lose sleep.

So, what of Milan? Marco Giampaolo came with the task of developing a team that already existed. By this, one means that whilst there was money to spend, it was not as free-flowing as that of their immediate rivals. He, therefore, became the perfect man to take what he already had and make it better. His time at Sampdoria had given the Rossoneri incredible hope, but as he season started, the cumulative sighs were audible.

There is no shirking away from it. Milan have typified the word drudgery. The displays have been barley watchable and the opener against Udinese saw them lose without having a shot on goal. Brescia was perhaps the best game and the win was merited, but anyone who watched their visit to Hellas Verona has quickly forgotten it.

The Rossoneri have two wins under their belt, but also so many questions that need answering. Admittedly, this is a project that is much more embryonic than Inter’s and whilst a defeat in the Derby Della Madonnina wouldn’t be catastrophic, it would show the magnitude of the task in hand.

The fact shouldn’t be lost when talking about Milan, is that they still have an incredibly talented team and whilst FFP may be taking its toll, the infrastructure should guarantee the Europa League at least. Paolo Maldini spoke this week that silverware is more important than the Derby. He is right, the Derby is important, but it’s never been like the Rome or Genoese version where it is all or nothing.

This is a game that matters, but ultimately and has always been a match that acts a springboard for more. This is a Derby that allows one of the sides to use the feeling of invincibility gathered by the game, to take it to the next step and win a Scudetto. This is a fixture that, if won, allows a city to believe in the direction of a project, the destiny of their team and in turn a greater outcome. This is why first blood is the Derby matters: it isn’t just about the game, it’s about the destination.

Have your say...
It`s sad to see milan in this state, it`s the 1st time in the last 10 years I knew from before that INTER is going to comfortably win this Derby of Milano. I believe milan`s management made several mistakes, including sacking Gattuso and selling Cutrone for peanuts (he was sweating blood for this club!), not to mention the transfer market. I would rather experience a competitive league with some emotions in the derby, this team is sad to watch for anyone. Top coach is essential.
on the 23rd September, 2019 at 9:27am
Piatek needs more supply, have to go 4-2-3-1; Rebic Paqueta/Bonaventura Suso in support; Bennacer in for Biglia, Hernandez in for Rodriguez
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 10:49pm
Hes not a done player but hes a player you can have in a team that plays for each other, and have him be the one selfish player. He cannot lift the standards of others, just as the entire team bar maybe the new faces and jack can do. The new faces i say cause ave not seen them.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 4:14pm
Suso will set himself up and take the shot 8/10 times. Piatek or any striker we had are goalgetters, selfish, thats fine, but we never had anyone to set them up aside for bonaventura. I also wonder why our FB's never venture higher than the halfway line, why are they always so deep when we in possession, they add only late deep runs but never gets used. The team lacks identity, and teamplayers. A good start for a fix is Jack has to start, and be a focal point. Suso needs out.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 4:13pm
Talk about quality of passes and its a major issue. But i agree it could only be down to the fact that we are asking the wrong players to do the wrong things. Kessie is asked to drive forward and deliver the final pass, while what made him a success at Atalanta was to drive forward, get set up and finish. Hakan is asked to be our creative force in midfield yet the player doesnt own the ability to create, i am sure he couldnt draw a stick figure if asked to do so.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 4:10pm
The team is stripped of identity. Locatelli drove the entire team to a draw during a derby some years ago. Cutrone has provided the spark to win it. We argue these players may only be average and wont win us leagues. But will these average foreign talent win us the league, or CL, no goddman way! Atleast our homegrown average has our clubs interest at heart. We started 3 italians in the derby. And noone fought for us. Our average talent did 4 times as much at 19 as our foreigners at 26-30..
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 4:06pm
Jack not starting is a sackable offence. But in the end that wont fix anything. I hate us under Giampaolo, i hate we sacked Gattuso. But i dont care whos in charge, cause we need them to be for 2-3 years, as we need to get rid of our problems and only a manager whos truly in charge and knows he wont get booted can do that. The players are in control. And we prefer average foreigners whom we overpay for. Over homegrown maybe average but with more courage and fight for Milan than anyone we buy.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 3:59pm
We have a team of everybody for themselves. Hakan will shoot, Suso will shoot, Kessie will shoot, Piatek will shoot. Everyone will shoot. Nobody is willing to play the pass. I have hardly seen a through ball from anyone, and we wonder why all our strikers flop. Its not their fault. The one thing i cannot forgive Giampaolo is the exclusion of our best player, Bonaventura. Our ONLY teamplayer. Next to Paqueta, we have two players who will actually pass the ball.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 3:57pm
Maldini heir
It is a collective mess. The players are simply not good enough and this manager is just beyond a joke.
I have said it for years that Milan's project will fail usless they get a world class manager and allow him to do what Conte has done at Inter. Piatek is average like virtually every player in this team. We need an Ancelotti or Lippi with a serious amount of money and a couple of seasons to build... they'd sort this mess.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 3:56pm
Giampaolo is not the problem, just as Gattuso wasnt. Conte and other managers doesnt want to come here, realise that. I said it before we sacked Gattuso, if we sack him, the merry-go-round starts all over again. Players gets given 3rd or 4th chances to prove themselves, they wont. Players are asked to do things they cannot. Kessie could have developed into a good player, but because he came to milan that development stopped. We are a team of individuals, no teamplayers.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 3:54pm
@ Jeremy It was me who said Milan only need a LW. And I stand by that. The transfer market is not answer to Milan’s problems. We need a proper manager. Piątek hasn’t just forgotten how to play football. It’s the manager.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 10:43am
All Milan had to do was either stick with Gattuso OR ger a world class manager like Conte. Instead we got rid of Gattuso who atleast installed abit of character in to this bunch of no hopes and gave us an absolute joke of a manager who most never heard of and really has no world class qualities at all!!!! I am a life long Milan and i am ashamed of what we have become.
This team needs a REAL manager give him 4 year contract give him xxx amount of money and over haul this entire team!
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 10:28am
Giampaolo; the man to rejuvenate, the man to raise AC Milan from the dead the 'best man' for the job. We sack Gattuso to bring in a man who seems to have managed to do what i thought impossible and make Milan look even worse! There were people saying Milan were 'complete' all they needed was LW and we would be competing with the best.
This team is a joke, this manager is an even bigger joke, in fact AC Milan from top to bottom is a joke. Years of history years of success to amount to this!
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 3:11am
Giampaolo's excuses are just not credible. Milan did not lack experience. The worst midfielder on the park was Biglia who was the most experienced including having played in Serie A for 6 years, in Rome and Milan derbies and a World Cup fInal. The best midfielder was Sensi who has only played in Serie A for 3 seasons with Sassuolo. It wasn't experience. It was the difference between a manager who has won titles with Juve and Chelsea and a manager who has won nothing.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 2:39am
In fact if you put most of the Milan players in another team they'd preform better. And until Milan figure out why that is, we're going nowhere.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 2:02am
Those little poor touches are a consequence of players not know what to do with the ball. Not knowing who is making a run. Not comfortable in their positions. Not focused. Again we have yet another mystery to solve at Milan. The Mystery of the Missing Striker. Piątek apparently has forgotten how to score. It'll only be a matter of time before he goes from being THE BEST STRIKER OF THE CENTURY to AVERAGE. But we know that if he was playing for Juve or Inter or Napoli he'd be scoring goals.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 2:01am
every level has resulted in Milan now having no cover whatsoever for Piątek. But we have 5/6 wingers (Suso, Rebić, Castillejo, Leão and Borini plus Bonaventura) even though Giampaolo wants to play 41212...I mean if you cannot count, how exactly are you able to run a football club? There's just endless levels of incompetence that permeates every aspect of the club from the very top, through to management through to the players. I have long said that the players are affected by the poor management
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 1:58am
great article! very balance, unlike the game. it was an easier win for inter than they made it to be. they deserved it. as for us, where do i start. il start with the ifs. if theo, bennacer & paqueta started instead of rr, biglia & chala (Milan aint winning anything with those 3 in the starting XI). If we actually played to win instead of not to lose. if we used Leao more. if the coach could be more flexible. we need to be more expressive. i luv paqueta as he is Brasilian & expresses himself
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 1:53am
Not to go on too much about Cutrone, but he brought a directness and speed of thought to all of Milan's attacks. I remember against Cagliari a few years back he cleared the ball from a corner and ran the length of the pitch doing a one two with some player. That was typical of his play. One touch and a pass through to Suso to score against Genoa. This was the sort of direct play that Milan desperately needed but decided to sell Cutrone for no reason whatsoever. The utter incompetence at
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 1:52am
in the Inter half but rather than taking the ball and going forward chose to pass it back to Kessie. Again he didn't even keep the ball on the ground but slowed it down by lifting in the air slightly. Every pass that needed to go in front of a player to run onto, went behind them, again slowing down the play. This happened on nearly every pass, every touch, every movement, slowed down the play giving Inter time to recover.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 1:47am
At this rate I don't see Giampaolo getting to the end of October. A couple of moments that summed up Milan's problems under Giampaolo and Milan's problems for the past 5 or 6 years. At the start of the second half Biglia passed the ball out to Conti and Conti took a touch which lifted the ball off the ground thus slowing down the play immediately with a bad touch from a simple pass. Conti then had to launch the ball forward aimlessly to a hapless Piątek. Later in the second half Biglia was free
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 1:45am
Giampaolo's Milan have produced some of the worst performances I have ever seen. Milan have had 14 shots on goal in 4 games and have averaged just over 2 shots on target per game. Two of those games have been against newly promoted sides. Against Inter, did anyone think for a moment that Milan were going to score? From a set piece? No. From open play? No. Nothing. They produced nothing. We've gone backwards compared to last season where Milan were favourites going into the derby.
on the 22nd September, 2019 at 1:41am
Well heard from
Chief Richard Hall. That tasted awesome. Ever heard of cooking classics food in modern way??. Well take class from chef. derby is the new draggerry woW!. And our conte boy is no less either. We will be taking etiquette class from him. Its by accidents he always eventually falls in secondhand Modena that he ouught to drive the hell way out. First Juventas then chelsea now inter which is also by accident double-decker trouble but not cesena; Good Grace Lord!!!
on the 21st September, 2019 at 11:34am

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