It’s the latest instalment of the Derby della Madonnina this weekend as age-old adversaries Inter Milan and AC Milan battle it out at the San Siro.
The Nerazzurri have been in fine form under Antonio Conte this season and will be hoping to clinch maximum reward against their bitter neighbours as they look to keep up the pressure on current Serie A leaders Juventus.
The landscape is somewhat different for those of a red and black persuasion. The Rossoneri currently languish perilously in mid-table and a discouraging seven points off the Champions League qualification places, but they are heading in the right direction having gone unbeaten in their last seven games across all competitions.
Will Conte and Co. continue to ramp up the pressure on Juve? Or can Zlatan Ibrahimovic roll back the years and inspire a famous victory against his old side?
Read on for Inter Milan vs AC Milan preview, predictions, TV coverage information, team news and more.
When is Inter Milan vs AC Milan and where can I watch live?
Competition: Serie A
Venue: San Siro
Date: Sunday, 9 February 2020
Kick-off: 7:45 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): Premier Sports 1
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Last five meetings: Inter Milan vs AC Milan
21 Sep 2019: AC Milan 0-2 Inter Milan (Serie A)
17 Mar 2019: AC Milan 2-3 Inter Milan (Serie A)
21 Oct 2018: Inter Milan 1-0 AC Milan (Serie A)
4 Apr 2018: AC Milan 0-0 Inter Milan (Serie A)
27 Dec 2017: AC Milan 1-0 Inter Milan (Coppa Italia)
Aggregate Score: Inter Milan (WWWDL) 6-3 AC Milan (LLLDL)
Ones to watch
Inter Milan: Alessandro Bastoni
With all the headlines surrounding Conte’s raid on the Premier League – which has entailed the signings of Victor Moses, Christian Eriksen, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Ashley Young this season alone – one player who has slipped under the radar is 20-year-old Bastoni.
The athletic centre-back has looked impressive whenever he’s taken to the turf this term and has even kept defensive stalwart Diego Godin out of the starting XI on the odd occasion. He looks comfortable playing in Conte’s back-three set-up, and it will certainly be interesting to see how he fares against Ibrahimovic this weekend, if he’s given the nod that is.
Key stat: Alessandro Bastoni has registered the fourth-best passes per 90 minutes ratio of any Inter Milan player in Serie A this season (64.2).
AC Milan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Few will be relishing this occasion more than ‘Ibra’, who has a propensity to perform in the real Hollywood fixtures. One appropriate example of this here would be his last appearance in a Derby della Madonnina, in which he bagged a brace (Inter would go on to win that match 4-2 back in 2012, though).
Since returning to Italian soil the prolific Swede has bagged two goals, but he will no doubt have marked this fixture down in his diary.
Another player who represented Milan’s two foremost clubs, Andrea Pirlo, highlighted the ‘demonic’ drive to win possessed by Ibrahimovic while previewing the Milan derby.
“Ibra is fundamental, because he raises concentration levels in the group,” he told Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“He is a demanding perfectionist in every respect and wants everyone else to be the same. I know that from experience!
“His teammates will feel enormous focus in every training session with him, as he really makes you knuckle down. It’s true that he pins you to the wall, shouts, gets furious. I’ve known very few people like him.”
But an equally intense footballing mind will oppose Ibrahimovic designs on the Milan derby, according to Pirlo, who believes his old Juventus coach shares his win-at-all-costs attitude.
He added: “Conte forces you to give your best at all times, more than you even thought you had. He is obsessed with victory, so when he loses, he becomes a demon. You daren’t speak to him.
“Conte is the best coach I ever worked with, every day he showed us 40-50 minute video sessions. It’s because of him that I started considering the idea of becoming a coach myself.”
Key stat: In his previous four matches against Inter Milan, Ibrahimovic has netted four goals.
📢 | STARTING 1⃣1⃣
— Inter (@Inter_en) February 9, 2020
— AC Milan (@acmilan) February 9, 2020
AC Milan have been making steady progress in recent times, with seven successive games without defeat under their belts, but they face an Inter side determined to break Juve’s domestic stranglehold and buoyed by the recent acquisition of Eriksen.
Ibrahimovic may have brought a renewed impetus to AC Milan, but Conte has already triumphed in this intense derby earlier this season, and he should have enough quality at his disposal to make it a famous double.