The Guiseppe Meazza stadium, known worldwide as the San Siro, has been home to two of Italy and the world’s most historic clubs, Internazionale and AC Milan, for decades. Many heated and incredibly entertaining Milan derbies have been played in the stadium, as well it’s hosting some of the world’s finest competitions.
Fans are preparing to see the two landlords of the yard battle it out for supremacy in the Serie A to know who comes out top as the superior San Siro based team this season.
In recent history, Inter have been more been the dominant side in the Serie A edition of the derby and have also performed better than Milan overall. We are going to take a look at some of the facts going into the 2019/20 Serie A season and make predictions about the outcome of the season.
Inter gave Luciano Spaletti the boot at the end of last season and appointed former Chelsea and Juventus manager Antonio Conte. He immediately hit the ground running with two huge signings in Diego Godin and Nicolo Barella and also signed Romelu Lukaku to add more firepower to the attack.
The defensive signings of Conte, who already inherited a centre back pairing of Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij were seen as an allusion to the fact that Conte has always favoured a back three, rotating his formations between 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 and match week one has seen Conte prove everyone right by playing a 3-5-2 formation which earned his team a 4-0 victory over Lecce.
His systems are an almost perfect balance of attack and defence, as the two wide midfielders serve as wingers and wingbacks i.e in attack, they provide the width, and in defence, they make up a back five that will prove tough to penetrate. This requires a whole lot of discipline, something Inter lacked under Spaletti whose tactics also, at times, looked poorly thought out. This cost Inter dearly in certain matches, like the loss to Napoli in May.
Having secured champions league football after a disappointing outing the previous year and a league outing that almost saw them miss out again from the competition, it was time to appoint a coach who lives and breathes discipline and Conte was contacted.
This season, they are not just targeting the Champions League spots, but are gunning for the Scudetto, especially as Juventus undergo a period of transition under new coach Maurizio Sarri. It promises to be a battle to the teeth for the top spot this season between Conte and Sarri and we are ready for it.
Club legend Gennaro Gattuso resigned his position as head coach after motivating his team to a fifth-place finish last term. He, however, leaves a team that is capable of competing on all fronts for the new coach, Marco Giampaolo who has been compared to Milan’s UCL winning coach and current Napoli manager, Carlo Ancelotti.
With the arrival of Giampaolo also came five new high-profile signings – Theo Hernandez, Rade Krunic, Rafael Leao, Ismael Bennacer, and Leo Duarte and the quicker these signings are integrated with the team, the better their chances of challenging on all fronts this season and pushing for a champions league slot. Let’s not forget how worrisome the form of star striker Krzysztof Piatek is – a form that has been papered over by the occasional goal to stat-pad some impressive numbers. If the coach can get Piatek firing again, they will stand a strong chance.
Giampaolo’s systems rely heavily on the defensive midfielder, as he favours playing a 4-4-2 diamond formation where the defensive midfielder has the job of maintaining possession as well as starting attacks. In defence, he instils positional discipline as you can rarely catch his defenders breaking their defensive line. High pressing tactics too also afford his teams the opportunity to push the opponent back and maintain possession for which the defensive midfielder is pivotal to.
Milan’s major charge will be to break into the champions league spots again and will be attempting to solidify their team structure under coach Giampaolo. Unlike with Inter and Conte who already have the kind of players needed to play the managers system, Giampaolo will have to do a lot of work to get his team engine up and running.
Two derbies are confirmed for the season (21/09/2019 and 09/02/2020) and a possibility exists for a third if both teams happen upon each other in the course of the Copa Italia 2019/20 tournament.
As mentioned before, Inter has been the superior side in recent history, even in seasons they were abysmal and with two new coaches who have two new systems, it will be hard to predict the outcome of the derbies.
However, what we can say for a fact is that there will be no shortage of goals from either side, and we will also see some impressive defensive work from both coaches.
PREDICTION: The spoils will be shared, with both teams winning one leg apiece.
FINAL PREDICTION AND CONCLUSION
It will be too early to judge from the start of both their seasons because, despite Milan’s 1-0 loss to Udinese, they were the better side going forward. A lapse in defensive concentration cost them the match, while a lack of prowess in the finishing department cost them chances. Inter, on the other hand, took a lot of shots, four of which hit the back of the net. They are not as solid going forward yet, as Lukaku looked isolated up-front for the majority of the match.
Inter, however, are on course for a top-four finish and a possibility to win with Conte at the helm, while Milan will end up either in the top four or just outside it like last season.