Football News

Irresistible force to meet immovable object in first Milan Derby of the season

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:00, 13 September 2023

In-form Milan striker Olivier Giroud is hoping to win his fitness race ahead of this weekend’s Milan Derby against city rivals Inter.

The 36-year-old Frenchman sustained a slight sprain in his left ankle during the Euro 2024 qualifier between France and Ireland.

A setback that came nine days before facing the Nerazzurri who like Stefano Pioli’s men are perfect with three wins heading into Serie A’s fourth matchday.

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Giroud has been a large factor behind Milan’s incredible start and in some ways been living up to his words. During pre-season, France’s all-time top scorer promised to step up for Milan in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence.

“I’m sorry he retired, we’ll miss him a lot. I try to be an older brother in the locker room, I try to help the younger players with my experience,” he told reporters. “Our goal is to have the best possible season in the league and in the Champions League. It would be exceptional to win the second star. that’s our goal.”

So far he’s bagged four goals, including two match-opening strikes. Before his current feats, the last player to have scored at least this amount in the opening three games of a single season for Milan in Serie A was Andriy Shevchenko in 2001/02.

The former Arsenal and Chelsea man can subsequently become the first Milan player to score in all the opening four matches played by the Rossoneri since Oliver Bierhoff in 1998/99.

However, standing in his way is a ruthless defence, Simone Inzaghi’s side has won their first three matches of this season without conceding a goal.

Inter could now achieve four victories in the opening four Serie A matches for the eighth time and first time since 2019/20, and they could do it with four clean sheets for the first time in their history in the competition.