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Nic Ladds 23rd Jan 2010 - 19:49

Mourinho v Beckham in Milan match-up

The city of Milan will be rocking come Sunday evening with the monumentus occasion of Inter Milan v AC Milan. The 152nd Derby della Madonnina looks fascinating as after a slow start, AC Milan are right back in the title hunt and will look towards this game to claw back some of the six point deficit.

Inter Milan have won the league four consecutive times and a win over their closest rivals will surely mean a fifth. You can watch all the action unfold live on William Hill TV.

Inter Milan (6/4) will fancy themselves as Jose Mourinho has a fantastic home record, unbeaten in eight seasons across three different clubs. However don't forget the San Siro is also AC Milan's (7/4) home so the advantage is not as prominent as usual.

Inter Milan have not been great recently with a threadbare squad and AC Milan are looking the form team so maybe the tide in Milan is turning and it is time for the Rossoneri to rule. Looking at Inter's prospects, I always find it hard to rule them out of any contest but with their squad so thin at the moment, this looks the first time in a while they are the underdogs.

Team news doesn't look good for Mourinho with Thiago Motta, Dejan Stankovic and Sulley Muntari doubts in midfield, Eto'o is still at the Africa Cup of Nations and Cristian Chivu remains sidelined with a fractured skull. Up front they will most likely field league top scorer Diego Milito (11/2 first goal) and the influential Goran Pandev (13/2) who has had a good start since signing on a free transfer.

AC Milan have injury problems of their own but Head Coach Leonardo will hope some of his players with knocks will come through for him. Among the doubtful are Alessandro Nesta, Alexandre Pato, Clarence Seedorf, Mathieu Flamini and Gianluca Zambrotta.

David Beckham is expected to start on the right of a three-pronged attack and the set-piece specialist offers 11/4 to score anytime. Ronaldinho bagged a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over Siena in their last match and is 40/1 to repeat it but the 13/2 on him to get the first goal looks more likely.

One statistic that stands out is the rarity of a draw in this tie, without one in the last ten league ties, with Inter winning six and Milan winning four. Therefore if you aren't put off by short prices then the 2/7 on covering either team to win in the double chance seems a dead cert.

If you are looking for a bit more value then the double results are a good place to start. I expect a tight first half then AC Milan to push on the second half therefore Draw/AC Milan at 11/2 is where the money should go.

In this season's reverse fixture on matchday two, Inter thrashed Milan 4-0 and although unlikely is priced at 50/1 to repeat itself. The high scoring nature of that match could repeat itself though with over 3.5 goals at 11/4. If you agree both teams have a good chance here, then both teams to get a goal at 8/11 looks a cracking bet.

Inter will go in to the match as favourites but with the last few performances being far from inspiring and AC Milan finally getting in to some form I will expect a tight encounter with AC just edging it. Both squads are depleted but both still have enough quality to put on a good show for us all, live on William Hill TV.

The quotes from both managers highlight my point of AC fancying their chances with Leonardo saying "This derby arrives at the right time for us. We are getting closer to Inter and it will be an extraordinary game" where as Mourinho is a little more candid saying, albeit sarcastically - "I have Samuel Eto'o involved in the African Nations Cup and four midfield players out injured. I'd like not to play Sunday's derby".



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