Milan derby: Return of Roberto Mancini sets the stage for classic Serie A rivalry

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After two games of Serie A occurred on Saturday, seeing Juventus blank Lazio 3-0 and AS Roma beat Atalanta 2-1, fans of Italian football will ready themselves for the classic derby della Madonnina, or the Milan derby as we English-speakers call it.

On Sunday, AC Milan will welcome Inter to the San Siro, and both sides are similarly positioned in the Serie A table.

The Devils are at seventh place, while the Black and Blues stand at ninth place, with only one point separated between the two squads. The most notable aspect of these two teams revolves around the fact that neither have great defending capacity, so it wouldn’t be surprising to have a fair amount of goals scored in this contest.

But in the end, one can argue that this rivalry has lost its flair, considering the teams’ rank in Serie A. They haven’t finished a season as the top two teams in the league since 2010-2011, as they’ve often been noticed falling behind the Antonio Conte-led Juventus.

However, recently-appointed manager Roberto Mancini, who is known for his sound tactics, makes a surprise return to Inter following the recent dismissal of Walter Mazzarri. If there’s a man capable of turning Inter’s fortunes around for the best, some won’t look further then the ex-Manchester City boss.

Certainly welcomed with open arms, Mancini is glad to be back at the club where he spent four years manning the sideline, and he views this derby as a prominent meeting between two hungry teams.

“I have the same good feelings I usually have going into a derby. It won’t be easy. Milan are a great team,” he said during a news conference. “I’ve inherited a team in good shape and we’ve been able to work well. Obviously both teams hope to win it but anything can happen in a derby. We mustn’t look at the league table at the moment. We just need to get points on the board.”

It wouldn’t be shocking to see Mancini employ a 4-3-1-2 formation, with Rodrigo Palacio and Mauro Icardi up front intending to attack his opposition’s back line.