AC Milan vs Inter Milan predictions: Rossoneri facing derby roadblock
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Simon Barlow
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Lautaro Martinez has made an excellent start to the season and can make the difference against the champions
Lautaro Martinez has made an excellent start to the season and can make the difference against the champions

AC Milan must negotiate a potentially dangerous crossroads in their campaign when rivals Inter Milan attempt to steal a march on the champions in this season's first Derby della Madonnina. 

Milan's Scudetto defence already looks in danger of stalling after a 0-0 midweek draw with Sassuolo that saw Mike Maignan's penalty save preserve a point. 

Stefano Pioli's men appear to be missing a spark at the moment and go into Saturday's derby towards the back of a bottleneck at the top of the Serie A table. 

All the big guns are currently sat bumper to bumper within a congested top seven separated by just two points. 

But Inter, three places above the Rossoneri in third, appear to be on the right road again after crushing Cremonense 3-1 on Tuesday night. 

Team news

Divock Origi missed Milan's drab draw in Emilia-Romagna with inflammation, but the Belgian is understood to be ready to return against Inter. 

He should be among the substitutes with Olivier Giroud likely to lead the line once more as the spearhead in a 4-2-3-1 formation. 

Pioli, who is still without Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the next few months following the Swede's knee surgery, has concerns over the fitness of midfielder Rade Krunic (thigh) and attacker Ante Rebic (back). 

Alessandro Florenzi came off with a muscular injury against Sassuolo and is expected to be out for a number of weeks, so Davide Calabria returns at right-back while new loan signing Sergino Dest is not ready to feature yet. 

For Inter, Joaquin Correa and Edin Dzeko are vying to start alongside in-form Lautaro Martinez in Simone Inzaghi's preferred 3-5-2 formation while Romelu Lukaku recovers from a thigh injury. 

Italian media reports suggest there is no clear favourite between the two strikers as to who will partner Martinez - the Nerazzurri's main man this season. 

Correa and Dzeko were paired together against Cremonese with the former Lazio star putting Inter ahead before he was replaced by his fellow countryman later on, which could indicate an intention from Inzaghi to keep him fresh for the derby. 

Alessandro Bastoni would have been likely to return in place of Federico Dimarco on the left of Inter's defence had he not contracted influenza this week. 

The Italian international has been in light training at Appiano Gentile and his chances of selection will depend on how much of Friday's session he took part in. 

Summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who was an unused substitute in midweek, will hope to make his league debut for the club after dealing with an early-season hamstring issue. 

The stats

Stefano Pioli will be looking to end AC Milan's six-game winless run at home in Serie A against Inter
Stefano Pioli will be looking to end AC Milan's six-game winless run at home in Serie A against Inter

The Derby della Madonnina has been played on 232 occasions in official competitions with Inter winning 85, AC Milan victorious in 78, and the remaining 69 finishing all square. 

Milan have failed to win any of their last six Serie A derby clashes as 'hosts' at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, since a 3-0 victory in January 2016. 

Lautaro Martinez has been involved in a goal (3 scored, 1 assist) in each of his first four league appearances so far this season and will be looking to make that five against Stefano Pioli's side. 

AC Milan registered their 14th Serie A shutout of 2022 against Sassuolo, taking them one clear of Real Sociedad for the most clean sheets recorded in the big five European leagues in the calendar year. 

Mike Maignan has saved 31% of his penalties faced in Europe's big five leagues (9 out of 29) with no goalkeeper who has faced at least 25 spot-kicks since 2015-16 able to boast a higher save percentage. 

Prediction

Inter appear to be in better physical and mental shape ahead of this clash and their recent record when playing 'away' at San Siro suggests they can come away with all three points. 

Martinez has taken up the mantle Lukaku left behind when he moved to Chelsea by becoming the emblem of the club and his ability to conjure up a piece of magic in the penalty area could decide a contest both teams will be desperate not to lose. 

Milan's midfielders are offering very little goalscoring threat at the moment, which has put greater pressure on the forwards, and Pioli needs to solve the issue quickly or his champions will slide out of the top six.

Tags

AC MilanInterSerie ALautaro MartinezRomelu Lukaku
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