Serie A: Milan Derby Figures to be a Cagey Affair
While the eyes of many will be fixed on Champions League action this Wednesday, there’s a Milan Derby (kick-off 12:30 p.m. ET) to act as a mouth-watering undercard before the quarterfinals commence.
Rescheduled due to the tragic and untimely passing of Davide Astori last month, these two heavyweights of Italian soccer are bidding to return to their former glories, and there certainly isn’t much to separate the two in their current states, particularly in the outright odds.
Following the weekend results, however, Inter (+170) are eight points clear of fierce rivals AC Milan (+175) and as such, the latter are in desperate need of all three points in midweek.
After all, before AC Milan’s defeat to Juventus on Saturday, Gennaro Gattuso had worked wonders with the Rossoneri to inspire renewed hope of a top-four finish. It’s Inter that they need to catch in that position, so anything short of a victory would put an end to any faint hopes of a Champions League return this season.
With that in mind, despite the fact that Inter sit just one point above Lazio in fifth, a draw would probably suit Luciano Spalletti in the away dugout at San Siro tomorrow, and his side have been hard to break down all season. The win over Verona at the weekend saw Inter keep a fourth consecutive clean sheet in Serie A, and the likes of Joao Cancelo and Rafinha are beginning to look at home in the famous blue and black stripes as the manager has a fully fit squad to choose from.
However, it’s a blistering return to form from Inter’s captain that will really have inspired confidence in the Nerazzurri fans ahead of the latest Derby della Madonnina.
Mauro Icardi scored twice in a 3-0 victory last time out to follow up four strikes against former employers Sampdoria ahead of the international break. After a worrying lull beforehand, the Argentine — fresh having been left out by his country — has now scored more goals in his last two games as he had managed in his previous 10 Serie A appearances.
Having failed to score in his first eight league appearances against AC Milan, Icardi has scored in each of his last two — including a hat trick in the reverse fixture this season. With Ciro Immobile now very much back within his sights as he bids to win his first Capocannoniere (the golden boot in Italy), odds of 2.70 (+170) with Unibet on the 25-year-old to score at any time represent great value.
That’s particularly true given the home side’s questionable defensive record against those around them compared to sides lower down the league. Indeed AC Milan have conceded at least twice in six of their eight games against fellow top-six sides, though the fact that they ended Juve’s remarkable run of 10 clean sheets last time out is evidence that they too will pose a threat.
Gattuso’s charges have found the net in all 10 of their league outings since the turn of the year, while they’ve scored in each of their last five derbies against Inter in all competitions.
A repeat of the last three league meetings, which have each seen both teams find the net, seems probable then, with a 90th-minute winner from that man Icardi back in October preventing a third successive 2-2 draw.
I’m not convinced there will be quite so much goalmouth action now that more is at stake this time around, but a best price of 1.87 (-115) with 10Bet seems high, while 4.60 (+360) with BetStars on a score draw might appeal to the more daring punter.
All odds current as of Tuesday evening.