Milan VS Inter: who has the upper hand?

After Milan's Supercup triumph, a question arises: is the victory a sign of what is to come in the new season or is Gasperini's Inter simply still searching for its identity? With Juve strengthening and Napoli keeping their stars while adding the midfield motor that is Gokhan Inler, Inter is still likely to be our strongest competitor for the title. So I'll take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each side in an attempt to compare them as scudetto contenders.
Tactics - In the first couple of weeks in the league, Allegri's reliable 4-3-1-2 will have an obvious advantage - the players are well accustomed to it and the reinforcements that were brought in this year all fit into the formation perfectly. Gasperini's adventurous 3-4-3 on the other side is new to a lot of Inter players, and the personnel on disposal doesn't quite fit the mold (more on that later). If Gasperini succeeds in implanting his ideas into the players' minds, the width of the formation could catch quite a few Serie A teams by surprise. That is, if Moratti has enough patience to support the coach through the inevitable early season blunders.
Defense - Milan's starting defensive line of Abate, Thiago Silva, Nesta and Taiwo is at the same time strong and reliable while providing a decent amount of offensive danger. Having Mexes as a backup doesn't hurt, even if he's not the smartest player in the world, he does the job most of the time. Yepes and Zambro are still here, while Antonini and Bonera should be watching the games on TV whenever the others are fit.
Samuel, Lucio and Rannochia are well known and formidable opponents - however, how efficient they will be in a 3 man defense remains to be seen. Chivu should definitely get as little playing time as possible if they expect to achieve anything. The ability of Nagatomo to patrol the flank for 90 minutes can't be questioned, on the other side Maicon isn't getting any younger and could do with a solid replacement.
Vote: tie
Midfield - With the arrivals of Aquilani and Nocerino, Milan's ancient midfield suddenly looks like a group of people in their prime. Nocerino, van Bommel and Boateng behind Aquilani might just be the most complete midfield in Italy. With Gattuso, Ambrosini, Seedorf, El Shaarawy and Emanuelson ready to jump into the starting line-up, there are no depth issues either.
Inter's starters are yet to be determined, as is Zanetti's role in the team. The most sensible pairing in central midfield would be Thiago Motta-Cambiasso with Stankovic as the reliable substitute, but that leaves Sneijder's role in Gasperini's setup as a huge unknown. Putting him in that midfield duo might just put the defense under more pressure than they can cope with because the Dutchman's defensive capacities are very low and playing possession football is not an option with so much space between the lines and the personnel available. Alvarez remains an option for the wing, and Zanetti might still be chosen over Nagatomo.
Vote: Milan
Attack - Forlan, Pazzini and Zarate are a scary trio to say the least. If they can find an understanding, they could be murderous. Castaignos and Milito are good substitutes but, on last year's form, Milito is hardly the impact player he was. Inter might have done good business with the sale of Eto'o, but attacking options remain a problem. How the attack will function is yet to be seen, as the trio haven't played a single game together.
Ibrahimovic will still be a fixture in Milan's attack this year, the other spot is there to be taken by Pato, Robinho or Cassano. Whichever player claims the spot, we will have at least two excellent substitutes ready to step in, plus Inzaghi who, at 38 years of age, can't be expected to be a starter but can on occasion provide a cameo appearance.
Vote: tie
Now, the votes might be a little misleading. While the defensive lines are of similar quality, Milan's midfield is what makes the difference in the defensive side of the game. Van Bommel and the two men around him form a stone wall in front of the defense, while Sneijder and whoever plays with him would form a very penetrable plaster obstacle.
"Here's to another Scudetto"
In attack, Inter may outnumber Milan but Milan's bench options and the trequartista position could make all the difference.
Either way you look at it, the midfield area is where Milan out-powers Inter. The addition of Poli will come in useful, but still, there are only two spots for him, Sneijder, Stankovic, Thiago Motta and Cambiasso to fill. A simple and effective 4-3-1-2 similar to Allegri's would suit Inter's personnel much better, but coaches are stubborn creatures and Gasperini, like most, will learn the hard way.
Milan VS Inter: who has the upper hand? Milan VS Inter: who has the upper hand? Reviewed by Jovan on 5:30 AM Rating: 5
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