The Derby Della Madonnina always brings drama, passion and intrigue and it continues to be rightly viewed as one of the globes’ biggest encounters. Even when the Milan clubs have not been at their best, the fixture has never failed to be at its explosive best and the choreographies even in these times, have been majestic. However, this season, both Milan and Inter are challenging for the Scudetto, making this game one of the most crucial derbies in recent years. Despite the Meazza’s 50 per cent capacity, the ground will be electric as the two sides will fight to gain the advantage in the race for the title.
The Nerazzurri sit on top of the Serie A table. They are four points clear and have a game in hand. The feeling is that this weekend, it is up to Milan to stop them from breaking free. Inter have an incredibly tough month of February to deal with. First, they have to take on Milan before facing Roma (and José Mourinho) in the Coppa Italia, Napoli in the league and Liverpool in the Champions League. Despite this, however, the feeling is optimistic as 2022 has started in style.
Inter have already dealt with Lazio, Atalanta and in the Supercoppa against Juventus and they have also enjoyed a good transfer window. Stefano Sensi has gone on loan to Sampdoria, but Felipe Caicedo has been brought in bolster the attack. He is a player who Simone Inzaghi knows well and will cover for the injured Joaquin Correa, this strength in depth is something that the Inter squad have in abundance and will be a crucial factor as they navigate these upcoming fixtures.
Robin Gosens is another player who will be welcomed with open arms as his purchase from Atalanta showed again just how crucial Beppe Marotta is to Inter. Whilst he will not be available in the derby, his acquisition has given the Nerazzurri even more strength in this area and is another signal of intent. Inzaghi has done much to praise club directors for their approach in the market. This perhaps cannot be said of Milan as their more quiet Mercato has brought criticism.
Italian media have highlighted how Inter are the favourite to win the derby and the title, but the season is far from being over and a defeat against the Rossoneri could massively change the Nerazzurri’s campaign. If things do not go right, Inter would see Milan move closer to them before crucial ties against Napoli, Roma and Liverpool, putting more pressure on Inzaghi’s men on all three fronts.
However, this Derby Della Madonnina is a real chance for Inter to set in motion the job of retaining the Scudetto. That’s why it’s one of the most important of the last few years. The confidence in the team is undoubtedly there. Players will approach the game knowing that they have only lost once all season, they have the best attack with 53 goals and only Napoli (16) have conceded less than their 17. Inter have not lost the intensity they had under Antonio Conte, but are also playing with a newfound expression that Inzaghi’s tactics allow. They look more refined and the derby will be a chance to showcase this style again.
There is still a lot of football left to play and the Nerazzurri cannot get ahead of themselves, but they have to notice that they have a unique opportunity to add that second star to their shirt. Stefano Pioli’s Milan will certainly take risks and be very aggressive, but the Nerazzurri will be highly motivated knowing that the game is worth more than just three points.