It’s derby season in Milan once again as AC Milan and Inter Milan get ready to square off for a two leg UCL semi final. A trip to the Champions League final on the line is big, but who’s king of The San Siro may be bigger. The city of Milan is on fire with anticipation.
BurrOaks' UCL Picks: AC Milan vs Inter Milan - 5/10
Inter Milan vs AC Milan (Wednesday 3pm EST)
Inter Milan has been in outstanding form lately. They have won their last four Serie A games and they have done it in convincing fashion. A 3-0 win over Empoli, a 3-1 win over Lazio, a 6-0 win over Verona, and most recently, a 2-0 win on the road at Roma. Add in the fact Inter knocked out Juve from the Copa Italia, and you can see why this is a formidable side getting hot at the right time. In five matches since their last UCL game Inter are 5-0-0 with a goal differential of 15:1. We have seen the outstanding defense all season, but now the offense has the teeth to match.
AC Milan has struggled more since their last UCL match. AC is 2-2-0 and hasn’t lost a game, but they also left some valuable points on the table. A draw with relegation side Cremonese being the most concerning result. AC has been running a rotated squad in Serie A to try and rest some of their players. Unfortunately, Leao picked up an early groin strain in AC’s last match vs Lazio. Leao had to be subbed off in the 17th minute, but it seemed precautionary. We will have to wait for the final injury report, but my feeling is that Leao will do whatever it takes to be on the pitch.
Despite Inter’s recent offensive explosion, I still see this being a cagy and low scoring match. Both Italian clubs have made it this far on their defensive prowess and I don’t expect them to change tactics now. Inter has won both of the head to head matches in Italy. Inter defeated AC 3-0 on 1/18/23 and 1-0 on 2/5/23. I will mention that it is incredibly difficult to beat a team 3 times in a season and these guys will play 4 times. I would be shocked if AC doesn't win one of these two matches. My only question is “will they win by enough goals to advance?”.
In my opinion, AC Milan’s offensive abilities center around Leao. Leao has notched 12 goals and seven assists in Serie A and has added a goal and four assists in UCL. Leao has the best pace on the pitch. He has great vision and passing abilities. He is clinical in the box. Meaning that when he is shooting, he is scoring at a high percentage. Leao is a guy who I like to take for goals over shots on target because of his clinical decision making. I think his best value comes from his assist and ability to set up his teammates. Olivier Giroud is AC’s big game player. Giroud is getting up there in age, but is still performing at a high level. He recently signed a contract extension for AC, and Giroud has contributed five UCL goals and two assists. Add that to his eight goals and five assists in league play, and you can see why AC wants to hold onto the French international. I have said all season that Fikayo Tomori is the defensive anchor on this AC Milan back line. As long as he is fit and healthy, AC has a chance to win this series. Tomori is a vocal leader shouting out instructions on the pitch. He is vital on set piece defense. He has ‘get back’ pace and can make clean tackles in dangerous areas of the pitch. AC will need Tomori playing his best football.
Inter has found a spark of life recently from Lukaku. The Belgian international has recently found form and fitness. Lukaku has been dealing with several knocks since the World Cup break and his playing time has been limited. He has started and come off the bench in recent matches, and I am unsure what role he will play for Inter in the first leg. Either way, Lukaku has contributed three goals and three assists in his last four games and has provided Inter with a much needed spark. It’s no secret that Inter’s best offensive player is Lautaro Martinez. Martinez has 19 goals and five assists in Serie A but only two goals and three assists in UCL. Inter is going to need his offensive contributions to win this match. I love the price on his goal. I can’t write about Inter without mentioning my favorite role player Denzel Dumfries. Dumfries plays wing back and pushes the pace on breaks from the midfield. He gets back quickly and defends the counter. Dumfries needs to do a lot for Inter, and when he is having a good game, Inter typically have success. Dumfries likes to shoot in UCL. His shot and SOT prices are something I always look at in big games. Dumfries is also a capable distributor. His prices always quietly have a lot of value from a betting perspective.
- Martinez Anytime Goal (+210) @ PointsBet
- Leao assist (+600) @ PointsBet
- Dumfries SOT (+225) @ PointsBet
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