Roberto Mancini makes managerial return at Inter in Milan derby
Roberto Mancini won one Milan derby as the designated away team during his first spell as Inter head coach. That stat, coupled with recent Nerazzurri form of two wins in seven Serie A matches (which did for predecessor Walter Mazzari), means Coral make him a 9/5 outsider to defeat AC Milan on the occasion of his Second Coming.
Former Manchester City and Galatasaray gaffer Mancini has pleaded to be given time already, insisting there is no “magical wand” to revive Inter’s fortunes. He is under no illusions about the magnitude of kicking things off the second time around with derby day either.
“Inter is a top club and I’m happy to return even though, when you go back to a place where you have done a good job, you have everything to lose,” said Mancini. “To start with AC Milan is not going to be easy. We have a quality team that has room for improvement but we need to do so quickly.”
Happily for Mancini, though, nominal hosts the Rossoneri are in just as average form this term, after two wins in nine league outings. Coral make Filippo Inzaghi’s side 6/4 favourites for victory here, but a derby draw looks tempting at 9/4.
AC Milan are somewhat splitting the goal burden around their side, with even midfield destroyer Nigel de Jong, a former charge of Mancini’s at the Etihad, chipping in with his fair share.
He misses out, however, so another engine room presence to consider is former Portsmouth powerhouse Sulley Muntari at 7/2 in the anytime market.
Rossoneri wide forward Stephan El Shaarawy has a Milan derby winner on his CV and, now that he is injury free, should be worth a punt to grab the opener at 13/2, having done so last time out at high-flying Sampdoria.
Inzaghi’s leading marksman is Japan ace Keisuke Honda, however, and he is 15/8 in the anytime market.
French winger Jeremy Menez can also expect a supporting role, and his penalty pinched a point from the Genoese side last time out. Odds of 6/1 say he will round off the scoring again.
While Inter have to beware this ensemble cast, all of their last four strikes in Serie A have come courtesy of Argentine attacker Mauro Icardi.
Mancini, who is likely to change tactics from a three-man defence and wing backs, must find a system that continues to get the best out of this up-and-coming talent.
Those four goals in his last four league outings mean Icardi is 6/4 in the anytime market, and 5/1 to break the deadlock. Compatriot Rodrigo Palacio has netted a winner in this fixture previously, and is a 15/8 chance to score again here.
Southampton loanee Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, who like Icadi and Palacio was born in Argentina, is 7/4 to be on target anytime.
Mancini may have one main threat up front, and thus could adopt a narrow approach with a midfield diamond. Natural width is not something Inter are blessed with, so support should come centrally from the likes of Fredy Guarin, Hernanes and Mateo Kovacic.
History and current form both point to a score draw, so backing 1-1 to be the final outcome of this Milan derby rewards punters with a fabulous 5/1 price.