Serie A matchday 12 pits AC Milan against their fierce rivals FC Internazionale in the eagerly anticipated Milan derby.
Both teams have experienced difficult times of late, however, the latest instalment is very important if either team wants to assert themselves in the fight for Champions League places.
Inter recalled ex-manager Roberto Mancini to reignite the club’s fortunes, who won three crowns with the club during his first stint in charge of the club between 2004 – 2008. The previous manager Walter Mazzarri adopted a 3-5-2 formation, whereas Mancini deploys four at the back, with veteran Nemanja Vidic settling for a place on the bench.
There’s a great deal of pressure on the shoulders of 20-year-old Mateo Kovacic, who is normally used to play behind the main two strikers Mauro Icardi and Rodrigo Palacio.
The last time Mancini oversaw a Milan derby as the Inter manager, Filippo Inzaghi was playing for AC Milan.
Now the head coach of the Rossoneri, the former legendary striker is trying to form his legacy as a manager.
For the upcoming derby he is expect to start with both Fernando Torres and Jeremy Menez, but whether he uses attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda in behind the pair remains a point of significant conjecture. The Japanese star has experienced a dip in form and Inzaghi’s patience could be running thin.
AC have failed to secure a victory in the league for more than a month when Honda scored a brace in a 3-1 away win to Verona.
Strangely enough it feels as if Inter should start as favorites due to Mancini’s big-game experience and ability to instil composure into his side – something that AC may struggle with. It’s an experience and managerial trait that cannot be underestimated and for that reason alone Inter will have an advantage.
This is a crucial match for both teams, who are separated by just one point on the Serie A table, and if there happens to be a winner it could breathe new life into their respective campaign.