MILAN - AC Milan lock horns with Inter
Milan on Sunday aiming to prove they are ready to end
their rivals' five-year stranglehold on the Serie A title.
The departure of coach Jose Mourinho after last term's
treble triumph and their lack of purchases in the transfer
window led to pundits predicting that Inter's dominance in Italy
could end this season.
The view that a changing of the guard may be imminent in
Serie A has been reinforced by Inter's shaky start to the
campaign under Rafael Benitez as well as a plethora of injuries
and illnesses which have assaulted his squad.
Milan went top after Wednesday's 3-1 win over Palermo while
Inter are fourth after being held 1-1 at Lecce.
"If we are lacking intensity it's the fault of everyone,
those who go on the pitch and those who work off it," Benitez
told Sky TV. "Let's not make comparisons with last season, every
campaign is different."
In any of the past five seasons, Milan would not have been
deemed credible title contenders even with their current squad.
They are relying too heavily on former Inter striker Zlatan
Ibrahimovic and their other new signing Robinho has failed to
make much of a positive impact.
Massimilano Allegri's side are also struggling to kill off
games when in the lead but Inter's current woes mean Milan still
standout as their biggest rivals this term, especially having
knocked surprise packages Lazio off top spot.
"We are not title favourites but we are a side worthy of the
scudetto," Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani said.
Inter playmaker Wesley Sneijder is set to return for one of
world soccer's most watched derbies after missing the Lecce game
having fainted with anaemia at halftime of last weekend's 1-1
draw with Brescia.
But Inter's treatment room remains packed unlike Milan's.
Midfield enforcer Gennaro Gattuso, having his best season in
years, is also available again for Milan after suspension and
will relish the screaming 80,000 capacity crowd at the San Siro.
Juventus, as injury-riddled as Inter, lie fifth and look
very outside shots for a title charge this term as Italy's most
successful domestic side still recover from their 2006
AS Roma head to Turin on Saturday in good form while
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