Inter-Milan Preview: Missing Persons Campaign

Milan continue their search for their identity as they head into the Derby della Madonnina. Earning the very unfortunate distinction of having conceded the most goals of any team in the top five European leagues thus far in 2023, Pioli is also reported to be in search of a new tactical system. As usual, Milan are missing at least five players, pretty much all starters. So although it is a Derby, and I hate Inter so much more than a person should, this match will be more of a missing persons campaign than just another football match.

A true Derby at the San Siro will have all of the fire and none of the pyrotechnics

The Other Inzaghi's™ men will be coming into this one very confident, having destroyed Milan 3-0 at the heart of our own self-destruction in Riyadh for the Supercoppa. Full of themselves and perhaps drinking their own lemonade (yes that was intentional,) they were brought back down to earth in their very next match by losing 1-0 to midtable Empoli after Skriniar was sent off. Yes, you read that correctly. For the first time in Serie A since May of 2021, Inter were shown a red card20 months without a red card. That's not suspicious at all. And amazing how they actually lost when the reffing was fair, too. Huh.

Since then, they squeezed past winless Cremonese 2-1 in the league, coming from behind. Then they managed to get one lucky goal vs. Atalanta on Tuesday to progress to the Coppa Italia semifinals. For their match on Tuesday, The Other Inzaghi™ lined up: Onana; Darmian, de Vrij, Acerbi; Dumfries, Barella, the never-Scudetto Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Gosens; Lukaku, and Lautaro Martinez. Both Brozović and Handanović were back in training this week, meaning The Other Inzaghi™ has a complete squad to choose from. Of course he does.

The Never-Scudetto talks a big talk, but still hasn't won the league

Obviously, much like the 20-21 season, when Inter were awarded the Scudetto despite not having been able to pay their players during the season, their club is in serious financial difficulties once again. Their kit sponsor has reportedly not been paying them at all, and they were already struggling enough that owner Stephen Zhang was looking into bringing in additional investors or possibly even selling the club. Their debts have been downgraded to junk bonds, and now it has gotten even more serious. Zhang has failed to repay €300 million in debts and is being sued for them, facing the possibility of incarceration if he cannot pay them. 

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like clubs should be at the very least economically solvent to be allowed to compete, let alone win, in Serie A or European competitions. Not to mention meeting UEFA's financial sustainability regulations. How do they get to keep playing with players they clearly cannot afford? Isn't that the very reason Juventus are having points deducted now? Because their financial and transfer improprieties gave them a sporting advantage? Whatever. It would not be the first time Inter are whining, cheating, crying losers. It's just that I certainly do not need any more reasons to hate Inter

The Curva Sud nailed it when they called Inter crybabies

If anyone should be crying, it should be Pioli. He should be weeping for his missing players and their lack of playing time due to injuries once again this campaign. Also, the loss of his own sanity while trying to compensate for so many missing players. Lazetić officially went on loan this week to Austrian side SCR Altach for the rest of the season. So we are officially down to 30 players, despite the fact that Bakayoko and his morally bereft agent will not leave.

The good news is, while Ibrahimović will still be missing for a few more matches, he did return to partially training with the team on Friday after eight months out following his surgery. Pioli will also still be missing Maignan and Florenzi, although both are rumored to be coming back within the next few weeks as well. Which is good, because although Tatarusanu was a Derby hero last year when he deputized for Maignan, he has lost a lot of confidence lately. Most recently, muscle injuries to Bennacer and Tomori have seen them sidelined, and they will miss the Derby as well. So only five players out, as of this writing. But there is still plenty of time before kickoff.

Our captain celebrated 200 appearances last week, let's give him something to actually celebrate this time

Milan may have won the Derby in September, but so much has gone missing since then. Not just the actual players missing to injury, but their entire mentality as well. Now that they are struggling, people also seem to be missing basic facts and common decency. No, they have not reached Inter levels of a lack of all morals whatsoever. But it is troubling. This Derby is not likely to go well, based on the past six matches without a win. Despite showing signs of life against Sassuolo last week, the scoreline was brutal. However, I am hopeful that we at least see more signs of improvement. Or that perhaps I will take up drinking and just lose my mind altogether. Or maybe both. More than anything, with players and mentality both out right now, this Derby has the potential to be a missing persons campaign.

This post inspired by the music of Missing Persons' "Words"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 21
il Derby della Madonnina
Inter vs. Milan
Sunday, February 5, 2023 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.
Inter-Milan Preview: Missing Persons Campaign Inter-Milan Preview: Missing Persons Campaign Reviewed by Elaine on 5:31 AM Rating: 5
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