What: Italian Serie A
Who: Inter vs AC Milan
When: Sunday 6th May, 2012, at 19:45 UK time
Where: Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro), Milan, Italy

Finishing on a High

Inter’s nightmarish season will soon come to end. 55 points from 36 games so far in Serie A tells the entire catastrophic story of the collapse of a side that dominated Italy between 2005 and 2010, reaching the final of the Champions League two years ago. Since then, six managers have taken control of the Nerazzurri in just two seasons.

Luckily for Inter, these derbies rarely rely on form as both sides will be motivated on the night. Speaking ahead of the occasion, coach Andrea Stramaccioni praised Milan’s determined spirit which has seen them keep pace in the title race and increases the importance of this occasion.

“I think that Milan were dealt a setback after their elimination from the Champions League, but were very good at not giving up”, said the ex-Primavera coach.

The black and blue side will have to strike at Milan’s defence should they want to have any hope of walking away from this one with the spoils, as Alessandro Nesta’s ageing legs and Philippe Mexes’ drop in form could leave the Rossoneri backline exposed.

Critical Point

Trailing Juventus by a single point in the league standings, Milan play their biggest game of the league season so far in the 290th Derby della Madonnina. Massimiliano Allegri’s side know full well that a loss to bitter rivals Inter will strip them of their title should Juventus win their own game. For the Rossoneri, it does not get any bigger than this.

Furthermore, Milan will want to restore some personal pride after losing the corresponding fixture in January, courtesy of a Diego Milito strike. Now, defender Luca Antonini feels like the title race could not be any more beautiful, with two games remaining in the 2011/12 league season.

“The championship is open again. Now we will not give up until the end. We will push forward. Sunday was already going to be a beautiful game, but now it will be even more so because we are still playing for the Scudetto”, declared the Milanese full back.

The Diavolo will be hoping to have Thiago Silva back from injury for this one, as the Brazilian continues to nurse a knock that has kept him on the sidelines for some time now, though his participation does look unlikely.

Recent form

Udinese 1-3 Inter (25/04; Serie A)
Inter 2-1 Cesena (29/04; Serie A)
Parma 3-1 Inter (02/05; Serie A)

AC Milan:
AC Milan 1-0 Genoa (25/04; Serie A)
Siena 1-4 AC Milan (29/04; Serie A)
AC Milan 2-0 Atalanta (02/05; Serie A)

Key absences

Dejan Stankovic (doubt); Cristian Chivu (doubt); Luc Castaignos

AC Milan: Urby Emanuelson (doubt); Clarence Seedorf; Thiago Silva (doubt); Flavio Roma; Filippo Inzaghi; Alexandre Pato 

Players to watch

Inter – Wesley Sneijder: The playmaker has not been the same since Jose Mourinho left. While he can still dictate the odd game, it is Sneijder’s consistency and form that have raised questions around the club. It is times like these where he needs to remind everyone of his true worth.

AC Milan – Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The towering hitman has been crucial for Milan in recent games, but against his former side, will need to put in a display worthy of the best player in Serie A in order for the Rossoneri to stay in the title race. Ibrahimovic’s explosiveness will be hard for Inter to deal with.

Match Prediction

Three points off the mark of third-placed Napoli, the mathematical possibility of qualifying for next season’s Champions League is still there for Inter, but only just. Milan are still fighting for the Scudetto and appear to be well motivated on the evidence of their recent run of results. Expect the Rossoneri to come out as 1-0 winners on the night.

This Inter v AC Milan derby may decide the Serie A title. Who do you think will win? Make sure you visit OLBG for tips and to compare the current odds and betting markets available at all the important bookmakers.