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Anteprima: The AC Milan Women vs Inter Milan in the Derby Della Madonnina

Case of The Ex, Part II, Electric Boogaloo (Whatcha Gonna Do)

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Women Coppa Italia
Linda Tucceri Cimini takes on Beatrice Merlo
Photo by Marco Luzzani - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

It’s that time of the season again! Even though it feels just like the last derby was just yesterday (more like, two months ago, to be exact), there is nothing that Serie A Femminile loves more than the Milan Derby (or at least, the FIGC certainly does).

The women of AC Milan will take on Inter Milan this Sunday, at 12:30 p.m. CEST.

Here’s an overview of the things you need to know before the match:

We musta been here before, it’s still fresh on my mind

Why yes, Mr. Aubrey Graham, we have, in fact, been here before. Three times to be exact. The first time Milan and Inter met was back in December of 2018. The last time they played each other was also in December, albeit one year later. Milan has won all three, previous encounters with Inter. This will be the fourth encounter between the two teams in Serie A, and their third within the span of four months.

So maybe that’s why it’s still fresh on your mind, Jimmy Brooks.

If you’re interested in reading about the first derby between the two sides in Serie A, I have previously written a preview and a review that you can read.

Both pieces can be viewed as a primer of sorts for this derby. Here’s to hoping the ladies can make it four for four and win this encounter as well.

Inter’s Form

The first time Inter and Milan met, Inter were still finding their feet in Serie A as a newly promoted side.

However, their form has gotten better as of late.

Inter have won both of their games this year, as they beat both Empoli and Hellas Verona by a score of 3-0 (and the last game against Verona can be seen as a revenge of sorts for the first meeting between the two sides).

The Nerazzurre seem to be hitting their stride now. Propelling this run of good form are their two biggest threats, Gloria Marinelli and Beatrice Merlo.

Gloria is a mobile forward whose speed and movement often create problems for the opposition’s defenders. She’s also quite the creative playmaker as well, as when she’s not scoring goals, she’s helping her teammates do so by assisting them.

Expect her to test and probe the Milan defense and to give them fits. (Though it should be noted that Milan has a strong defense that has deftly dealt with Gloria in the past. Look for them to do the same thing here.)

Beatrice, on the other hand, is a strong right-back whose combination of strength, speed, and technical ability makes her a force to be reckoned with. She is also the country’s second-best right-back, with the best being Fiorentina’s Alia Guagni.

Expect her to also cause Milan problems as well, as she both snuffs out our attacks and builds up her team’s as well.

Beatrice’s talent is so great that even the Milan fans recognize it, and have even tried to convince her to leave the darkness and come to the light ― I mean er, leave Inter and come to Milan.

(And if the rumors are true, then she just might be one of us too.)

I don’t know if she’ll ever leave the Felice Chinetti to play at the Stadio Breda, but if she ever does, then she will most certainly be welcomed here with open arms.

But first, we’re going to have to stop her, Gloria, Eleonora, and the rest of the Inter squad this Sunday. (Then maybe she can think of joining us afterward.)

If Milan are to win this game, it will be on the strength of our defense and with our experience and maturity. They will both be crucial as was try to contain Inter’s young but mobile attack. Both of those assets will most certainly be needed this weekend as we try to keep apace in the race for the rights to play in next season’s Champions League.

Other Things of Note

Once again, we’ll meet our resident Case of The Ex, Lisa Alborghetti, during this game. Lisa, if you recall, left Milan on her own accord. Unfortunately, her departure was made acrimonious, thanks to the idiots who decided to insult her on Instagram after she decided to make a switch to the Nerazzurre.

Lisa also managed to score Inter’s solitary goal of the game the last time we played each other. Here’s to hoping that the Milanisti behave themselves and don’t insult her and that the bad blood will fade over time. (And that she doesn’t score another goal against us too.)

Inter will also come into this game having had more rest, as Milan had to make-up their previously postponed game with Pink Bari last Wednesday. Physical fitness has, unfortunately, been an issue for this team, so let’s see how well the team fares on Sunday.

Milan’s coach, Maurizio Ganz, will most likely continue his experiments with the line-up during this game. If the rumors are true, he might deploy a 4-3-2-1 again.

For most of the season, Milan has utilized a 4-3-3 formation. This change in formation is fairly recent, as it was first implemented in the game against Bari.

The formation allowed Milan to score a lot of goals (six of them, in fact). However, they suffered a lot in defense, as they took three goals in return from Bari. This was not only the result of a change in formation but also due to Ganz experimenting with the line-up and playing players in different positions, most notably Nora Heroum, who was moved from the midfield and deployed as a right-back for that game.

The hope is, that with Milan’s players back in their regular positions (most notably Stine Hovland returning as a centre-back), that Milan will be able to score a lot of goals while conceding less at the back.

Ganz is also said to be debating who will start this Sunday’s derby in the midfield. The debate, in particular, centers on Nora Heroum and Claudia Mauri. Both players were fielded during the last game, with Nora as a fullback and Mauri in the midfield. We’ll know who wins this ‘dance-off’ between the two of them, come this Sunday.

During an interview with Sky Sport, Inter’s coach, Attilio Sorbi, said that Milan were “one step ahead” of his team. During that very same interview, Maurizio Ganz said the games in Serie A were “never easy” and that the derbies are even more difficult.

He also said that obtaining a third derby win in a row might be difficult, given how rare it is for lightning to strike twice (or in this case, three times).

Ganz also told his players that the season actually started ‘now’, in the second half of the season, due to how difficult the championship will get as they progress towards Champions League qualification.

Milan will face many challenges this stage of the season, and this will most certainly be one of our more sterner ones. Let’s hope that we can take this head-on and beat the odds here too.

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Women Coppa Italia
Eleonora Goldoni vs Laura Fusetti
Photo by Marco Luzzani - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

Finalmente

When: Sunday, February 02, 2020, 12:30 p.m. CEST (3:30 a.m. PST / 6:30 a.m. EST)

Where: Stadio Breda, Sesto San Giovanni, Italy

How To Watch: Sky Sport Italia, TimVision (the day after, and in Italy only), the AC Milan app and the official Dailymotion page, most likely the day after the derby as well.